[Added 11/15/13 - Above is a link to a follow-up post.]
Patrick Richards is a 16 year-old young man who displays a wisdom, tenacity, and fearlessness that we should all envy.
While far too many of us sit back and tell ourselves that there is nothing that we can do (or that we are too busy "putting food on the table"), Patrick not only recognized that the Common Core is is real problem, but he also went to work to do something about it.
"Patrick Richards is a sixteen year old student from Arkansas. His presentation on Common Core is well researched and devastating.
The first part of his presentation covers the copyright issue related to Common Core. Unlike past standards, Common Core is held under a public license rather than an open license. After taking on the license issue, Richards then moves the presentation to the question and answer session by Sandra Stotsky of Jason Zimba, the primary author of the Math Standards...........
In that session, Zimba admits that the term “college ready” really means ready for a trade school or junior college, not a four-year institution. Zimba even admits that the University he teaches at would not accept a student who had completed only the Common Core math sequence.
A unique feature of Richard’s presentation is the perspective from which it is given. He shows how his freedom to choose his path in life is eroded by Common Core. He shows how the structure of the industry has become concentrated and how government and big business are working together to form a structure of tyranny. It is refreshing to see a young man on top of the game in this way. Perhaps there is hope for the next generation after all."
[Note that the charges against the father who was arrested (above) were later dropped.]
".....To save space, I will refrain from going into detail on the Common Core. Credible information on the program is readily accessible via Internet searches. In short, the Common Core is the principle means by which the youth of the United States will be both subjected to a lower grade of education than American students of the past two decades (unbelievable but true), and fully brainwashed to hold to an anti-Western/US and pro-Left/Islam mindset. It is rife with highly sexualized content, including sexual assaults sickeningly being portrayed as something other than violent crimes. Its history material has content that paints the US - from its inception, as being just plain wrong from the beginning. Islam is pushed as a force of peace, tolerance, and enlightenment.
The average American parent is unfortunately weak in spirit and will acquiesce to these without a fight. What they will object to, however, is the horrific lowering of standards for literacy*(at bottom), science, and mathematics central to the Common Core. One requirement of Common Core is that even older students use informational pamphlets, such as those made by government agencies, in class for reading material. These are written in an - at best, fifth grade reading level. Mr. Small nailed it when he shouted that this program is setting up the student for a a ticket to a Community College. Under this program, any youth that does not get tracked for Honors-level classes from the beginning of primary school will have learned an immeasurable amount less than a student in any other reasonably developed nation. In the case of US and World History, what he will have learned is so twisted as to have the effect of outright lies. In American schools, the US involvement in the Philippine Insurrection is already being described as an act of genocide even though US actions did not meet any of the criteria specified by the UN's definition of that crime.
This movement has been going on for a long time. The Common Core is only codifying this trend and guaranteeing that the quality of education will go even lower and remain there. High School Spanish students (I am fortunate that we were able to put my youngest through Catholic high school) are already often taught next to zero about that language. When my son was talking about this with his cousin who attends the high school in our municipality, I was shocked to overhear how little he knows. In a move that effectively told the students that they would learn nothing in his class, his teacher even made a comment at the start of the year to the effect that the only way to learn a language is to live in the nation in which that language is spoken. I provided examples from my Sophomore year (such as verb conjugations in the imperfect and preterite) to him in an effort see if he is learning what I learned in Spanish II. The poor child just shook his head and replied that the teacher had not even mentioned a word about these. He then added that they watch Spanish videos while the teacher sits at his computer. What this teacher does is have the students regurgitate a few words and short phrases of Spanish and leaves it at that.
What we are witnessing is the full blooming of the intentions of John Dewey, an early American Progressive who was as enamored with the educational system of the USSR as he was with the thought of the subjugation of the People to Socialism. While the writer in the link*, Bruce Price, gives Dewey far more credit than I would (Price seems to hold that Dewey may have been merely mistaken), he nonetheless provides the best through yet short summary of the work of the Father of the Decline of American Education. Any parent, would-be parent, or American concerned about his nation should read about Dewey and the "educators" who followed in his footsteps.
Have your children had to memorize "sight words'? If so, then you can thank others associated with John Dewey:
"....In 1911, G. Stanley Hall, one of John Dewey's mentors, went so far as to extol illiteracy: "It is possible, despite the stigma our bepedagogued age puts upon this disability, for those who are under it not only to lead a useful, happy, virtuous life, but to be really well-educated in many other ways....."
- and the story one one who fought back the best he could:
(*This refers to the attacks in academia on the utilization of phonics to teach reading and writing)
Firstly, to treat the whole subject fairly, a short-as-possible history:
It is universally recognized that writing was a massive leap forward in the beginnings of civilizations. The rate and by which notes, events, observations, conclusions, etc, could be recorded, learned, passed on, and used along with other recorded documents to improve upon earlier knowledge was without a doubt multiplied immeasurably. The history of writing is inextricably tied in with the history of civilization and is itself the only true foundation of any real historical works. Verbally recorded traditions, while still valuable, cannot compete with the probable accuracy and lack of revisions of the written word. Even when, for example, Herodotus writes of gold-digging ants in faraway nations, he himself was most likely relying on verbal accounts that had been run through the rumor mill several times over. The vast majority of his notes, though, have proven to be extremely valuable for their accuracy and substantial effort put into his research.
We of course are aware of pictorial-based systems of writing such as Hieroglyphics. There is a reason that the very name for this system means “priestly writing”. They are, while accurate and valuable, so heavily-reliant on thousands of characters to represent words, ideas, etc. as to be the exclusive domain of the upper classes. Systems like those of ancient Egypt, the Mayan, Indus valley, early pre-cuneiform Sumerian, (All extinct) and even Chinese are extraordinarily difficult to teach to people in a reasonable period of time. For the vast majority of history, these systems of writing were relegated solely to the educated classes. Many hold that the Egyptian script goes back five thousand years.
By the time the second millennium BC rolled around, the Sumerians had long been using a vastly improved version of writing called cuneiform. This utilized impression impressed into clay tablets with a stylus. The number of characters was reduced to around a thousand and later by the Hittites of Anatolia to around 400. This was clearly an improvement but we had still not yet reached a point where the lower-class individual could be taught how to read and write with the amount of free time available to him.
Syllabaries or Open Syllabaries were another improvement in writing. These had come into place by the beginning of the sixteenth century and shortly after had been adopted by the Hittites, Minoans, and on Cyprus. The Achaean Greeks utilized an open syllabary (Linear B) adopted from the Minoan writing (Linear A). Syllabaries were a major step towards an effective system of writing that could be taught to those for whom the classroom (or desk) was a part of one’s life, not the whole thing. These could reduce the number or characters to around 80; Modern Korean is in fact a Syllabary. It utilizes signs for syllables such as the “ing’, “er”, “en” “tion” etc. in English (I know that I restricted it to suffixes, but you get the point). It is very effective and can put a young student on an equal footing with his older peers and, most importantly, provide him with the tools to decipher more complicated words as he grows older..................
The next big leap, and the one that most directly affects us, is the consonantal alphabet. It was the work of the Syro-Phoenecians and of course was utilized by their close relatives, the Hebrews. This alphabet, which as implied by its name does not have vowels, utilizes a single symbol for each individual sound. Depending on the amount of sounds in a language, we can now reduce the amount of symbols to, say, 25-40.
This is a major event. The student can be taught the sounds associated with each symbol, be given simple, one-syllable words to start, followed by two-syllable words and so on until he can “sound out” any word no matter how long it is or how many syllables it contains. It is difficult for us to appreciate how big a moment this was.
There is, though, a factor in these Semitic languages that could cause problems when applied to other languages. Semitic and Hamitic languages have vowel-type sounds that, in the words of Colin McEvedy, “occur in regular relation to the consonants”. In other words, in their languages vowel sounds follow certain consonants and those do not change. Vowel symbols are therefore not needed. Where in English, utilizing a consonantal alphabet would cause a problem with “hs” and we could not be sure if it meant “his”, "house", “has”, "hose", etc., this problem would not occur in the former languages.
The problem was resolved, of course, by the Greeks*, who removed from the consonantal alphabet a few symbols they would not need for their consonantal sounds and applied those to their vowel sounds. Voila!, we now have an alphabet, one that can be taught in a very brief period of time, allows one to read and write in an effective, clear manner very quickly, be utilized even to write most foreign words, and again provides the student with the ability to be able to read things like …”
Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. Sorry, I couldn’t resist – but I did cheat and cut-and pasted that one.
Those who were taught the use the “Phonics” method probably have good memories of learning how to read. The first book that I read on my own was “We Feed the Deer. Learning to “sound out” words enabled me to tackle words with greater complexity. In time, I of course learned to pick up common words in a flash-recognition manner, thereby enabling me to, like most of us, read at a very rapid pace. I still, though, regularly apply the sounding-out phonics method when encountering words with which I am not familiar or foreign words written in our alphabet. While flash-recognition of words of course lets me rip through common, familiar words, no amount of flash-reading will enable me to actually be able to read.
Now we can slowly begin to approach the actual topic:
Modern English, contrary what many will say, is not a Germanic language. Old English was in fact a Germanic language, being very close to Friesian and also close to Dutch. These are two examples of Low German. Old English was the spoken language of England/Britain during the time of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom(s). This language, along with pickups from the old Welsh/Briton (Brythonic Celtic), Scandinavian from the Danish and Norwegian Norsemen, (Vikings), some Latin, and some other bits and pieces continued in use among most people even after the Norman Conquest – the upper classes speaking Medieval French.
This situation – Germanic being spoken by some and a Romance (Latin-derived) by others, was not going to last forever. Slowly the languages began to mix. By the time period depicted in Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe, one of the characters is described as speaking “The mixed language” This refers the Middle English. We remember it from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.“Whan that Aprille with his shourers soote The droghte of Marche hath perced to the roote”.
The language had reached a form mostly recognizable to us by the time of the Elizabethan era. Modern English actually has more words of Medieval French origin than of Old English (Germanic) origin. I believe the percentage here is around 27% French, 24% Old English. The rest is mage up by Welsh/Briton, Scandinavian, Greek, Latin (Direct absorption of Latin - not indirectly through French), and words/phrases incorporated from languages such as French in the modern era, like Lassez-fair.
The hybridization of the languages, along with a general failure to address the need to revise/overhaul the spelling of words, left us with a hodgepodge of different spellings
This fact is the primary cause of the difficulty that can be encountered in pronouncing certain words like cough, plough, etc. This in turn became the primary ammunition of the revisionists.
I will freely admit that, later in the US, Noah Webster may have dropped the ball when he completed the American dictionary in which he successfully standardized much of our English spellings. (Note that English was far from standardized at the time of the foundation of the American Republic). “While he was there”, it would have been helpful had he overhauled the spellings of the rest of our words. Maybe he felt that he had pushed the enveloped far enough already.
Spanish, for example has an alphabet+ (I don’t know when it was revised nor does it matter for the purposes of this subject) that enables one to read every Spanish word with little likelihood of mispronouncing it.
+ [I don't like my choice of words in that case. I should have written "spelling" or "writing system"]
Since that event never occurred in English, Academia, predictably, came up with a false conclusion – since phonics-type reading does not work with every English word, then it must not work any English word. From there the regression into abandoning the teaching of reading to children was rapid. Teaching “reading” came to be viewed by many to be the act of repeatedly showing children flash cards in an effort to get them to recognize words by rote memorization as opposed to actually reading the words.
Fortunately for my eldest, this system had not been adopted the elementary schools [In our area] by the mid-90s and she was taught how to read and write. My youngest, though, was met with this like a freight train and the results were comparable with a train wreck. My youngest was a hard-working student, a pretty bright kid, and had no disabilities such as dyslexia+, but having him memorize pictures and calling that "reading" was clearly not working. When I saw what was going on, I approached the teacher, who clearly had been taken in by the smoke and mirrors of this system and was a strong advocate of effectively skipping steps one and two (Learning symbols for sounds (1) and having students apply that knowledge to letters placed together and have them learn to “sound them out”(2) ). She was, sadly, a very nice and clearly bright individual. In fact, I was more disappointed that this person, who was clearly no dolt, could not have seen that this flash-recognition system not only has no place in the teaching of reading to our youth but that it essentially and utterly ignores the very system that we have and utilize for reading and writing in the first place! Her response was that, with this system, “He will learn how to read like that “(Snaps her fingers) Well, my kid is in first grade and I don’t want him reading in a snap; I want him to learn how to read.
I performed the necessary repairs by teaching him phonics and encouraging the extensive writing of notes to me from him that forced him to imagine how the word should be spelled with the knowledge that he had at the moment. It was as observed from the old “Our Gang/Little Rascals Series” and had been encouraged by my eldest’s teacher in her first grade class.
Another parent in town who faced a similar situation related to me the teacher’s reaction to the mentioning by the parents that they were planning to purchase reading tutorials/workbooks for their child who was not progressing (shocking) at the expected pace. The teacher, without a pause, stated. “OK, but make sure you stay away from anything that uses phonics”. That was how far the assault had gone – not only was she not planning to teach phonics, but she had been so brainwashed that she could not bring herself to think, even for a second , that it may be possible that her handlers in academia got it wrongly.
When the word “went” is shown on a flash card, it is no different than showing a child a Chinese character and asking him to remember it, along with “what” and “where” and every other word that occurs in any language. The teacher, again a nice woman, was the product of a society that unfortunately does not teach or encourage one to actually think. Had she been so, there would at least have been the chance that she would have applied critical thinking to this system and consequently saw it for what it is – a mixture of false logic to solve a very minor problem of exceptions to the rules like silent “H’s”, “gh’s sounding like ‘F’s’, long and short vowels,”etc. and an outright effort to detach our children from one of the foundations of our Western culture.
While I admit that some advocates of this system who work at the college level may have truly had good intentions in creating flash-card reading, they too were born of a culture of studies that removed critical thinking from the equation. Ignored so completely was the history of Western culture, and by extension the very reasons for the development of alphabets in the first place, that they could not see the inherent weaknesses of what was being advanced as a “new and better way” to teach children to read and write.
I tend to lean towards a more cynical take on the situation. As a student progresses through more years of school, he begins to notice that certain things start to come together. He learns about the old forms of writing, how the alphabets came to be, and beings to realize that what he is doing at that very moment is exactly what some Phoenician kid in Sidon or an Athenian student was doing at a similar age in their times He notices and feels a connection with the past.
The Left has no intention of allowing this to continue, so as they do with parental authority, admiration for his parents and his nation’s and culture’s founders, and all other people, things, and events worthy of emulation and respect, they remove it entirely. In this case this is accomplished by teaching American kids to recognize words Chinese-style under the pretext of being unable to teach them any other way. Of course they conveniently ignore the fact that phonics-type systems worked flawlessly for years.
The second subject mentioned early in this post, namely the abandonment of teaching students to avoid leaving a preposition at the end of a sentence, is admittedly not nearly as much of a problem but is still another means of removing parts of our culture/language from our collective memory.
Since English is, again a mixed Medieval French/Old English language, our English came to have the French (From Latin) grammatical rules applied to it. That is why “To whom”, “of which”, “about which”, etc, are the most proper means to express oneself while generally avoiding leaving the preposition at the end of the sentence. To be fair, it is clearly less awkward to occasionally apply common usage with certain phrases such as “What are you talking about?” This was famously treated; possibly somewhat tongue in cheek, by Winston Churchill when he wrote that “This is something up with which I will not put.”
Again, Academia has collectively dismissed this part of our grammar, with grammar handbooks such as Harbrace, without mentioning anything about the general and time-honored ways of utilizing prepositions as derived from French grammar, stating simply that they “can be used at the end of a sentence”. That’s it – no mention of the purpose or the most proper means of employing those words or any explanation that many modern phrases are easier to communicate when leaving the preposition at the end of the sentence. All the new reader sees is that they can be used at the end of a sentence. When explanations like that are encountered, I find that they tend to communicate a desire to completely ignore the question.
The grossest example in treating this subject, and one devoid of any common sense whatsoever, was an instance where the answer was provided in a Q&A format. The answer was extremely brief, again with no explanation of the actual question. It started with “English isn't Latin” in bold print followed by a line that sought to, again dismiss the entire question outright.
"English Isn't Latin" is just another mindless example of how we are taught to ignore much of makes us what we are. No one ever said that English was Latin; the facts are that French is in fact directly derived/adapted from Latin, that Modern English is the product of mixing two languages, and that the French rules are applied in this case. No, the re-educator simply decides that noting that English Isn’t Latin is supposed to put the whole issue to rest.
The Western world is literally being torn at from all angles. I hold that it is the obligation of the individual to ensure that our children learn to read in a proper manner and one consistent with our actual method of writing sounds. One must also stand his ground when grammatical rules, which were adopted purposefully and provide some character to our language, are ignored by the very people who write the handbooks that are designed to teach English grammar. Note that George Orwell’s 1984 featured "Newspeak," which was designed to remove any real thinking, feelings, or abstract thought from communication........"