Pay attention, class...Common Core is here

Are these things related or mere coinkydinkies?


The Obama Administration wants to establish a continuum of preschool services for children from birth through age five. As part of President Barack Obama’s drive for a “cradle-to-career” government-controlled education system, in February the Administration proposed significantly increasing government spending on early childhood education and care. The President’s proposal includes (1) new federal spending to establish a “cost-sharing” model with states to expand public preschool programs; (2) significant new spending on Early Head Start to serve infants, toddlers, and three-year-old children; (3) an effort to “grow” the federal Head Start program; and (4) an expansion of home-visitation programs. The White House deems this its Preschool for All initiative[1]

Read the whole thing.

 2) Common Core has been adopted by the vast majority of states. It's due to be fully implemented in NYS by 2014-2015 — see the list of readings for grades 9-12's instructive.  But don't worry: "As always, curriculum decisions are made at the local level."  Here's a sample:

Grade 9

Module 1

Module 2

Module 3

Module 4

Mitchell, Black Swan Green

Russell, “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves”

McCarthy, Memoirs of a Catholic Girlhood

Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet, Letters 1, 4, 7-8

Li Po, “A Poem of Changgan”

Pound, “The River-Merchant’s Wife: A Letter”

Alexie, “Every Little Hurricane”

McCollough, Mornings on Horseback

Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet


Poe, “Tell-Tale Heart”

Hammett, The Maltese Falcon

Mosley, Devil in a Blue Dress

Doyle, “A Scandal in Bohemia”

King, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice

Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night

Sacks, “The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat”

Levitt, “What Do Sumo Wrestlers and Schoolteachers Have In Common?”

Harr, The Lost Painting

Auden, "Musee des Beaux Arts"

Bishop, "One Art," " In the Waiting Room

Matthews, “A Poetry Reading At West Point”

Wayman, “Did I Miss Anything”

Chopin, The Awakening

Camus, The Stranger

Isben, A Doll’s House

Lessing, “To Room 19”

Cullen, “The Depressive and the Psychopath”

Kincaid, “Girl”

Grandin, Animals in Translation

White, “Death of a Pig”

Lawrence, “Snake” 

Bishop, “The Fish”

OrwelI, 1984

Frost, "The Wood Pile"


Sophocles, Oedipus the King

Plutarch, “Consolation to his Wife”

Marquez, Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Kafka, Metamorphosis

Hemingway, “The Short Happy Life of Francis Macomber”

1 Samuel 17

Emerson, “Self Reliance”

Great Conversation Documents: FDR

Neruda, “You’re the Result of Yourself”

Johnson, “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Hurston. Their Eyes Were Watching God                                                                                                                                    

Are many of the selections unfamiliar to you?  No worries—pick a few and try Googling them. You'll understand why this caveat appears before these reading lists:

These modules include authentic reading materials. Authentic reading materials include published works that are typically encountered by students in daily life, such as in magazines, books or newspapers. The use of authentic reading material may mean that some material is emotionally charged or may use language outside of a student's particular cultural experience.


Have we piqued your interest about the nationalized content and standards "initiative" known as Common Core that your tax dollars are paying for and that your school-age children are being subjected to?  You can continue your education here.  If you want to see what NYS has up its sleeve in the various subject areas and at various grade levels, see the E ngage NY website and start clicking.

3) If you looked at which states have not accepted the bribe and adopted Common Core, you'll see that Texas is one of them.  No surprise there, says you—but you're wrong. Texas has its own version. Here's a quiz following a video about 9-11...see # 3.  A mom, Kara Sands, was outraged:

...Unsurprisingly, the stunningly controversial lesson plan is part of the CSCOPE curriculum system that has come under fire recently. The same system includes lessons asking students to design a flag for a “new socialist nation” and dubs the Boston Tea Party as an “act of terrorism”...


...Another worksheet on the Bill of Rights apparently names food and medicine as “rights,” not a personal responsibility, according to Sands. She said her son’s answer was falsely marked wrong because he labeled food and medicine as the latter...

Read the whole thing. The Texas State Education Department says this has nothing to do with CSCOPE, so this story is still developing.

4) Teachers are on board with all this, right?  Well...

The most disturbing thing is how few parents have any idea that this is going on.

5) The parent of an Ithaca High School ninth grader was shocked to see this social studies handout which his student recently brought home for him to look at (click on the image to read the whole doc):

The parent wrote: "I can't help but believe that this text presents Communism as the cure to the Capitalist "disease", especially to young impressionable minds with little to no experience of Communist oppressions. On Page 4: "Communism...appeals to the more saintly side of man...", whereas Capitalism "...promotes class distinction where the gap between the rich and poor is highly emphasized", and "Capitalism appeals to the more selfish side of man".  So to sum it up, Communism is saintly and Capitalism is selfish!  What happened to an impartial presentation of ALL aspects?  There is no discussion of the benefits of Capitalism, like how it empowers the individual and preserves individual liberties; nor is there any discussion of how Communist regimes need to strip individual rights and liberties (protected by our Constitution) to preserve the system, or build walls to keep citizens from escaping!"

So are all these things connected or are we just letting our vivid imagination run away with us?

Common Core is Marxism for children.

Michelle Malkin, who doesn't generally strike us as prone to hysteria, has authored a series of must-read columns about Common Core which every parent and every taxpayer should familiarize themselves with:

"Creepy" doesn't begin to describe it. 

During 1950s and 60s Cold War days, it was not unusal for American parents to fear that Soviets would take their children away, to be raised in government institutions away from any possibility of influence from their parents and families.  

Wish I could be a fly on the wall to see the spin put on 1984 for the benefit of NYS ninth-graders.

Don't fear the Soviets. Orwell was only about thirty years off. 


Mad Max(ine)

Maxine Waters (M-oonbat, CA) on the effect sequestration would have. Hilarity ensues:

Even if you only heard the audio of this on the radio (as I had at first), it was apparent fairly early on that the congresswoman had no idea what she was talking about.

Jay Leno picked up on this, too:

After the opening theme and credits, Leno walked out onto the stage and said, “Welcome sequestration survivors. Yes!”
“As you know, Congress did not reach an agreement,” he continued, “and Congresswoman Maxine Waters said today that 170 million jobs could be lost because of it.”
“Now, there are only 155 million workers in America,” Leno explained, “yet, she says we'll lose 170 million jobs."
"Beginning to understand why we're in this situation in the first place now?" he asked. "Is it starting to become clear why everything isn't quite well?”
Hmmm...what exactly did he mean by that? 
a) Many members of the political class are stupid.
b) Many members of the political class are deceitful.
c) The media does not report the idiocy or mendacity of the political class unless they have "R" after their names.
d) The majority of the American electorate is not paying attention.
e) The majority of the American electorate is functionally innumerate (illiterate, too, but that's a whole 'nother issue).
f) all of the above
Just to get some idea of how things have changed and perhaps gain some insight into Leno's question about  how we've gotten to this point...from a little book called Four Centuries of American Education:
Consider...the basic math content of previous generations. Ray’s Arithmetic was one of the most popular elementary math texts in early American schools; notice some of its questions:


 I insured 2/3 of a shop worth $3600, and 4/5 of a house worth $6000, paying $126: what was the rate of insurance?

 How much money must be given with nine $100 shares at 15% discount, in exchange for eight $100 bonds at 2% discount?

 These were elementary math problems during the 1860s!

Consider also the math problems from an 1877 mental math text (that is, a text in which students solved the problems mentally – no pencil or paper allowed):

 A boat worth $864 – of which 1/8 belonged to A, 1/4 to B, and the rest to C – was lost; what loss did each sustain, it having been insured for $500?

 On a farm, there are 60 animals – horses, cows, and sheep; for each horse there are 3 cows, and for each cow there are 2 sheep: how many animals of each kind?

 If 7 men can do a piece of work in 4 days, in what time can it be done if 3 of the men leave when the work is half completed?

These were mental math problems for elementary students in 1877!

I wonder how Congresswoman Waters—or for that matter any of our elected officials today—would do with these questions.
Noel Sheppard at Newsbusters is not particularly sanguine about our chances:
It therefore seems impossible at this stage of our nation’s history to imagine a well-informed electorate being governed by honest leaders that have their best interests in mind.
h/t Tom

Santayana's revenge

Those who misquote Jorge Augustin Nicolas de Santayana y Borras are condemned to paraphrase him.

What George Santayana actually wrote was, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

No doubt in view of the fact that the Obama administration has been buying and storing vast amounts of ammunition in recent months, once again the story about how the young Bill Ayers & Company in the Weather Underground had no problem with the idea of murdering millions of recalcitrant Americans in order to birth their brave new world is being reiterated:

Mark Levin has his own ideas about all that ammo-buying by the government, but as far as Ayers is concerned, I think he long ago figured out that he didn't need to murder millions of Americans nor did he have to lock up the survivors in re-education camps...all he had to do is help ensure that public education in the US was entirely—lock, stock, and barrel—in the hands of his fellow Marxists. The public schools would be his "re-education camps."

Think about much American history—never mind world history—do you or your family members actually know?  Now be honest. Would you recognize that history is being repeated if you saw it happening in front of your eyes?

Take a look at this collection of political cartoons from the Great Depression era (and the collection is from 2009, so it's been around awhile itself).  Here's a sample:

That one's from 1931.  There's nothing new under the sun, is there?

Check out the rest of the cartoons here and here.

Since a picture really is worth a thousand words, I'd suggest passing these along to the low-information voters you know.  Just be aware that 1) they will likely be suspicious of the messenger and so not especially receptive to the message, and 2) they will be reluctant to admit that they've been hoodwinked by the left and so will be unwilling to change course.

But we must persist.

At the very least, educate yourself and if you have school-age children at home, homeschool—while you still can.

OWS for 8-year-olds...and a Friday night palate cleanser

Lord knows you'll need one.

I learned in parochial school that seven is the age of reason, but I have a hard time imagining that most 8-year-olds are quite this "reasonable."  At Hot Air:

Give enough monkeys enough typewriters, and you will eventually end up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Give enough 8-year-olds enough “inspiration,” and you will apparently end up with an ode to the Occupy movement.

That’s the argument being advanced by the Albemarle County (Virginia) School Board in defense of lyrics purportedly written by third-grade students at Woodbrook Elementary School. The title of the song is “Part of the 99.” Here are the lyrics:

Some people have it all
But they still don’t think they have enough
They want more money
A faster ride
They’re not content
Never satisfied
Yes—they’re the 1 percent

I used to be one of the 1 percent
I worked all the time
Never saw my family
Couldn’t make life rhyme
Then the bubble burst
It really, really hurt
I lost my money
Lost my pride
Lost my home
Now I’m part of the 99

There are even more of these heartfelt lyrics penned by 8-year-olds but you get the idea.

The effort was guided by professionals at Kid Pan Alley, an organization that helps children write and perform their own songs. The organization’s motto is “Inspiring kids to be creators, not consumers”...

...So, putting aside the question of whether 8-year-olds working independently would dream up a battle hymn to class warfare, we are to believe that an organization dedicated to “including everyone’s diverse ideas” would not have at least nudged the tykes toward the 99 percent theme?...

A Tompkins County resident wrote the school board in Albemarle Co. to object to the obvious indoctrination of third-graders and received this response:

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Kid Pan Alley has been in our schools for many years.  It is an excellent program which gives students the opportunity to do authentic writing and performing.  Local musicians work in the classrooms to facilitate students writing their own songs.  The students vote to decide the topic of their song.  The words are those of the students and not scripted by the musicians.  Other classes have written songs about friendship, family, pets, Thanksgiving, and a wide range of other topics.  We are teaching our students how to write, not what to write.
Steve Koleszar
Albemarle School Board Chair

Write...I mean right.

Now for the palate cleanser.  Break out the lederhosen...and beer...and Tyrolean hats...and beer...and tubas...did I mention beer?

Just fun smiley

SHOCKER: Republican States Have The Best Public Schools In The Country, By A Long Shot

Ace writes:

"What are blue states getting in exchange for bankrupting themselves, exactly?"

We here at Redneck Mansion wonder the same thing.

He's referring to a Newsweek survey (and an earlier Washington Post survey) that Bard College professor Walter Russell Mead wrote about a few days ago on his blog Via Meadia (poor Prof. Mead is probably the Bill Jacobson of Bard, a conservative voice crying in the wilderness of NYS colleges).  In it, Mead writes:

...Defenders of the high tax, high regulation, highly unionized model of state governance that characterizes the blue states like to point to their higher quality of government services as justification for the taxes they pay and the regulations they accept.

Let those crackers and hillbillies in the red states wallow in their filth and their ignorance, say proud upholders of the blue state model.  We blue staters believe in things like quality education — and that costs money.

In theory, perhaps, but in practice the extraordinary achievement of so many red state schools strongly supports the idea that blue state governance is no friend to excellence in education...

Granted, these kinds of surveys are self-selecting—for instance, my alma mater (I'll let you guess which one wink) appears in the top 35 of the Newsweek survey , but not at all in the Washington Post survey, presumably because the school chose to participate in one but not the other. Similarly, Ithaca High School doesn't appear in the Newsweek survey, but does appear in the 800s on the Washington Post survey (along with Tburg)—of course, the Newsweek survey only lists their top 500 public high schools in the country, so maybe our Tompkins County schools just didn't make the cut.

You can read about the survey methodology at the Post and at Newseek at those links...and Mead makes valid points.  Read the whole thing.

Moral relativism run amok

Manhattan College used to be a Catholic men's college—well, it's still nominally Catholic, but co-ed—and my alma mater, a Catholic women's college—well, it's still nominally Catholic, but co-ed—was Manhattan's "sister school."  There was a cooperative program, which meant that students on both campuses could take courses on either campus. It was all very nice.  That was then, this is now (via Weasel Zippers):

Manhattan College Holocaust Center Hires Muslim Woman Who Compared Nazi-Era Jews to Post-9/11 Muslims to Promote “Interfaith Outreach”

Assemblyman Dov Hikind (D-Brooklyn), a child of Holocaust survivors and the Assembly representative of the largest contingent of Holocaust survivors, is leading the charge to have the word Holocaust removed from the name of the Holocaust Resource Center of Manhattan College.

Located in Riverdale [in the northwest Bronx--tvm], the stated mission of Manhattan College’s Holocaust Resource Center is “to educate people about the Holocaust and its significance for the present.”

Yet, in a recent announcement, Manhattan College indicated that it is “broadening its focus and will actively seek to foster understanding among Christians, Jews and Muslims through interfaith dialogue related to its educational mission.”...

[...] “The Holocaust is a uniquely Jewish event,” Hikind wrote in a letter to Manhattan College President Dr. Brennan O’Donnell....

[...] In the letter, Hikind also referenced an offensive and erroneous comment made by Dr. Afridi. In published remarks in an August 11, 2008 Khaleej Times article, Dr. Afridi states that, “Jews can help Muslims navigate in a post-9/11 world by sharing with them the difficulties that they too faced in Europe and the United States...”

“It is inconceivable to me how Dr. Afridi can even begin to equate what the Jews of Europe suffered under Nazi rule with what she perceives Muslims in present-day America are enduring,” Hikind said in response to Afridi’s remark.

“To my knowledge, I am not aware of any Muslims being rounded up and sent to gas chambers. Dr. Afridi is the wrong individual to head this or any Holocaust resource center.”

What a disgrace.  All I can say is that I pray Manhattan College donors find some other more deserving outlet for their charitable giving.

The value of an education, continued


In a college-riddled area like this, it's hard not to notice higher-education-related stories.  Kathy Shaidle at Five Feet of Fury has a series of posts she calls "College is a waste of time and money. Drop out." I'd like to think I'm a little smoother than that but when I see something like this, I understand why she approaches the topic the way she does.  I would embed the video but it's probably NSFW.  Even Van at Moonbattery says:

Moonbat college students proclaim that they have sex; therefore your money should be diverted by the government to the highly profitable abortion mill Planned Parenthood. As always with liberal productions, the language isn't pretty.

So I'll leave it at this—at Sister Toldjah:

A message from students at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. They write:

In order to “balance the budget” the House of Representatives recently announced the intention to strip all federal funding to Planned Parenthood. This is unacceptable. It’s time to face reality: many young people have sex, and need to know how to stay safe and healthy. Even those who have chosen to wait still need to know how to be safe and healthy when begin their sexual activity. This extreme ideological measure threatens our youth’s ability to choose their own future.

In many parts of America, Planned Parenthood is the only place young people can go to learn about safe sex, access contraceptives, or have a simple question about “down there” answered.

With all the rhetoric centering on “government waste,” Congress’s refusal to close multi-billion dollar corporate tax loopholes and instead eliminate essential, multi-million dollar sexual health programs is beyond hypocritical.

We are starting a student movement to make sure elected leaders know: Americans have sex, and we stand with Planned Parenthood.

John Wesley must be spinning.

The value of a college education

From the HuffPo (bet you never thought you'd see that cited here):

Cornell students may soon have a very large reason to rejoice -- and relax.

The Ivy League university, notorious for its intense culture, may put a ban on "surprise" homework assignments over school breaks....


Somehow that must be related to this (at Moonbattery):

Undergraduate tuition at Northwestern University is a pricey $13,280/quarter. For that kind of money, students are not only kept out of their parents' hair, they are also offered cutting edge entertainment:

On Feb. 21, Prof. John Michael Bailey, a psychology professor known for pushing the envelope, invited students from his human sexuality class to observe a non-student naked woman being stimulated with a motorized sex toy on stage, NBC station WMAQ reported....

And the following prescient article, addressed to parents, was written before either of the above transpired:


When you toured the campus and saw the surrounding bars and clubs, when you saw the campus shopping mall that was designed to look like Rodeo Drive, and when you toured the athletic facility that rivals an upscale sports club, did you pause to think that those were not assets to the pursuit of the life of the mind? Of course not! You were impressed. Did you forget that the monks preserved the learning of Western civilization?


You would have been better off giving him the cash to invest and sending him to the Caribbean or Vegas for several weeks every year where he could have indulged his sexual appetites and legally smoked ganja. Financially you would have both been ahead. So too would we.

Now, we have an overly credentialed population carrying an enormous debt.

Just sayin.'

Report: Barbara Lifton town hall in Newfield, Part 4

Fourth in a series

Part 1 on taxes is here

Part 2 on the economy and economic policy is here.

Part 3 on the NYS budget is here.

Governor Cuomo said, “You can never solve a problem if you refuse to acknowledge it.”  After listening to Assemblywoman Lifton, at her town meeting, she obviously is not heeding his words.


Before the current recession, there was great concern about the "Brain Drain"; college graduates were leaving NY for states where there were jobs.  The "Brain Drainapparently continues as Governor Cuomo has said, “New York has no future as the tax capital of the nation.  Our young people will not stay.”  Ms. Lifton’s economic strategy is to produce more, higher-level, college-degreed graduates. (Apparently, NY taxpayers need to fill a shortage in other states where jobs are growing.)

She also asserted that NYS employers were dying for college graduates as well as holders of advanced degrees.  (Other than a few specific areas, where does she get this idea?) 

Ms. Lifton lists energy costs and health care as the things driving up school budgets, but fails to mention teacher salaries and pension benefits as a primary cause (or that they are any cause at all). But every article on school budget increases mentions pension costs as a primary cause of school budget increases.  This definitely qualifies as not acknowledging a problem.

She says that private colleges get Bundy Aid to help aid the poor.  However, Bundy Aid is a flat payment to private colleges, per graduate.    Colleges also get Bundy Aid for out-of-state residents who graduate.  During the recent campaign debates, she said that it was important that NY taxpayers also subsidize foreign students in our colleges.  (There seems to be no end to the wonderful things she can do with other people’s money!) 

The elephant in the living room

DRYDEN -- The school board recommended to Dryden Central School District administrators that a 6 percent tax levy increase for the 2011-2012 budget is possible.


The proposed levy increase would do little to soften the impact of large state aid cuts to the district's budget, but would reduce the number of teachers and staff who would be laid off.


"This is unsustainable," said board member Lawrence Lyon. "Education in this district is starting to look really shabby, looking at these cuts year after year. It's not education anymore, after a certain point. We need a paradigm shift."

He's absolutely right. It's not education anymore and we do need a paradigm shift, just not the kind he's talking about.

Read “Nobody Gets Married Any More, Mister: Welcome to our urban high schools, where kids have kids and learning dies," by Connecticut teacher Gerry Garibaldi (via Pundit & Pundette).  If it doesn't break your heart, you don't have one.

But, you say, that article is about urban schools, not our Tompkins County schools. True enough. But while the scale may be smaller, the issues aren't that different: many kids are being fed at least breakfast and lunch at school, as well as being sent home from school with food for evenings and weekends (one specific example is per Paula Hurley, superintendent of Trumansburg Central School, in an interview on WHCU), having nits picked out of their hair by school staff (as reported by a Newfield school staff member at Barbara Lifton's town meeting), and yes, in some cases, being taken care of during their pregnancies. Why are these things happening in schools on a daily basis? Poverty? Always and only because of poverty? 

Garibaldi says in his article, "Personal moral accountability is the electrified rail that no politician wants to touch."  Maybe we need to start talking about that elephant.


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