Awareness about the Common Core is up and that is good. I’ve been thrilled by the interest and activism that is taking place on a national and state level. In our zeal to stop something we see as harmful to American education it is easy to find the bogeyman, so to speak, hiding behind every bush and lurking around every corner. I admit that I have been guilty of this as well.
Because of this I want to provide a gentle reminder. Not every bad homework assignment, quiz or test can be blamed on Common Core.
Fox News fell victim to this tendency. Bret Baier yesterday wrote:
That is the question being asked about a fifth grade worksheet that has come to light.
The worksheet entitled Hold the Flag High is part of the Common Core — a national education standard backed by the Obama administration.
The controversial grammar lesson instructs the students to correct sentences about the duties of the president — quote -– “He, meaning the president, makes sure the laws of the country are fair.”
And -– quote — “The commands of government officials must be obeyed by all.”
Finally -– quote — “The wants of an individual are less important than the well-being of the nation.”
Is this bad? Certainly. It is inappropriate. Parents should be outraged. I would be if that were my child’s teacher. Is it part of the Common Core? No, even though this is a grammar worksheet which is a subject dealt with under the Common Core ELA standards doesn’t make it “part of Common Core.” Common Core are content standards. A worksheet is curriculum. Curriculum will, as I have written before, will be aligned to the Common Core standards and its assessments. That doesn’t mean, however, that everything in a worksheet or homework assignment is directly related to the Common Core.
Can we see this as a cautionary tale about how informational text can be abused? Yes. Is this an example of indoctrination in the classroom? Yes, but I would be quick to add that has been going on for YEARS. Are there examples of horrible Common Core aligned resources – certainly, but we have to be discerning.
Also it should be noted that this particular worksheet by Pearson Education was copywrited in 2007 so it predates the Common Core.
This is a reminder that we do need to pay attention to what is being taught in our child’s classroom. We also need to be careful what we label Common Core lest we discredit ourselves.