I’ve been hearing so much fearmongering about Common Core lately that I just had to go and check it out for myself. Common Core is a set of new educational standards which has been adopted by most of the country at this time, and it has already been compared to the Hitler Youth and described as Marxist indoctrination. As always, rumors of the Apocalypse are much exaggerated.
When I went to the Common Core page, I saw scary objectives for kids such as this one: “Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.” I looked in various sections, such as History and Science, to see if I could find any propaganda about climate change or sneaky suggestions to share your financial profits with the less fortunate. But I found nothing except requirements for mastering specific technical and analytical skills in each grade. For those of you who are petitioning against Common Core, if I have missed something, please let me know.
Perhaps this is the problem: “Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.” Many of the commentators who bash Common Core are not just religious, but of the fundamentalist religious bent, and I’ve found that fundamentalists dislike the idea of children being taught to dissect and challenge what they read–after all, one day they might challenge what they read in the Bible, and then what?
If people are this scared of something as simple as Common Core, I can’t imagine how they would have felt about my Dutch education, which included very open sex ed and a class on world religions, in which kids from different religious traditions were encouraged to describe their faith to their fellow students. I think I’ve turned out just fine–and I can tell the fundies that I didn’t end up sexually promiscuous or an atheist–but they probably think I’m messed up anyway, so I won’t waste my time.