Now he echoes Arne Duncan’s critique of moms upset about their children’s test scores by implying that Common Core opponents care too much about children’s self-esteem.
Bush has repeatedly explained the standards, implemented and controlled by the states, are designed to make the United States more competitive with the rest of the world. He said those who oppose the standards support the “status quo,” oppose testing and are worried too much about children’s self-esteem.
“Let me tell you something. In Asia today, they don’t care about children’s self esteem. They care about math, whether they can read – in English – whether they understand why science is important, whether they have the grit and determination to be successful,” Bush said.
“You tell me which society is going to be the winner in this 21st Century: The one that worries about how they feel, or the one that worries about making sure the next generation has the capacity to eat everybody’s lunch?”
First I agree that some parents (and teachers) are overly concerned by children’s self-esteem. This has led to social promotion which hasn’t helped children in the long run. There is a difference between being overly concerned about a child’s self esteem and wanting standards that are developmentally appropriate, as well as, not teaching math in an asinine way. What Bush is criticizing is a cultural difference, not a question of standards. Dave Breitenstein when visiting Asia to study their education system found that the difference was cultural, “Five countries and nearly 25,000 miles later, one revelation became clear: A math class there is the same as a math class here, only in a different language.”
Are Asia classrooms teaching math the Common Core way? No, especially when you consider the Common Core shifts Algebra back to 9th grade when leading countries like Singapore introduce it in 8th grade. Also Bush doesn’t consider that Asian countries look to the United States in terms of innovation and creativity two traits the Common Core will not build upon.
Second Bush’s comment just further demonstrate how tone deaf he is to the concerns of moms and dads who see the Common Core as moving education back, not forward in the United States.
Third he continues with the false narrative that somehow math and literacy has somehow changed in the 21st century and then follows it up with an empty promise – that the Common Core will somehow ensure “next generation has the capacity to eat everybody’s lunch.” That doesn’t seem likely.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 3.0)