Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

When Bill Nye “The Science Guy” spoke out in defense of Common Core, he succumbed to the urge to carry baggage from other disputes. He laid much of the blame for opposition to Common Core on the creation/evolution debate, basically just blurting out that people who objected were objecting to “science.”

Amusingly for someone with “science” in his moniker, Nye missed the fact that science isn’t part of Common Core. Math and English are. There are many ways to learn and teach both. I see no reason to standardize either. The “science is settled” meme doesn’t translate to English studies — “the English” is definitely not settled.

More recently, Bill Gates trumpeted that the issue seemed to him a “technocratic” one (his words, not mine; thanks, Bill), like which electrical socket standard to choose, or which gage of rails to adopt.

Now, it’s worth noting that American railways standardized the bulk of its gages ages ago, and without government help. So standardization, when it really matters, can happen without appointing a Technocrat in Chief. Or a Department of the Technocracy.

For my part, I’m glad my wife and I homeschooled our daughters. We could avoid the latest trends in the education biz.

It’s harder for schools under the federal thumb.

Common Core’s “mathematics” looks like a slightly renovated “New Math,” a goofy experiment that wreaked havoc on public schooling when I was young. Some teachers might teach such innovative and oddball methods well; some students might learn best with it. Pushing it down all gullets seems not merely bad educational policy, but bad “technocracy.”

And heck, even bad “science.”

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor


  1. Edward says:

    It’s a new math test every time I comment on this page. 🙂

  2. JFB says:

    Those who seek standards is instruction, as opposed to standards of result, have lost sight of the goal – which is knowledge and performance. They by control of the process negate the possibility of its improvement.

  3. Rick says:

    So Paul, i don’t understand why you don’t use your soap box to push vouchers.

    For anybody sick of public education and certainly anybody paying for private school and probably many who homeschool, a voucher alternative, where you can take your tax money to any school you choose would be a great alternative. Not only that it would be a great alternative for society which continuously funds and supports failing and horrible schools. Let the free market DESTROY bad schools, bad teachers and bad administrations who stand in the way of a better choice(which they would lose control of).

  4. Oh Rick, I usually agree with you but do not on vouchers. They are the equivalent of government/private partnership.
    I am all for the results you seek, and it would be a great idea if people actually were given back (or it never taken) their own tax dollars to spend. But be of good cheer. I think, most probably we are seeing the implosion of the public school system. Most likely the market will prevail very shortly.

  5. Drik says:

    Standardized education is like a standardized computer operating system. OK with Bill if it benefits Bill. I noticed that he has not ever mentioned the idea of standardized computer operating systems in the US to all be the one Apple uses (notoriously free from the viruses that plague Billy’s), or one that is open source.
    Did he mention that he gets the contract for the computerized classrooms to teach Common Core as long as he shills for it?

  6. Rick says:

    I have two exes who were public school teachers. Both excellent, caring, dedicated teachers who now hate the public school system. It exists for the administrators and people who are basically public pension mining. It does not work for students anymore.

    THere was a 60 Minutes segment on the voucher program that New Orleans did following Katrina. It disappeared but i can tell you that principles were given latitude to fire teachers and it was a huge success. Classes were set up in mobile homes initially but it didn’t matter. The kids were anxious to get to school and the good schools were overwhelmed with sign-ups to get in. The free market WOULD clean up the education system in 3 years. Anybody on the outside of public education has no idea how bad it really is these days and tend to remember fondly the public schools they went to 20-30 years ago. Those schools are gone and replaced by bureaucratic madness where great teachers are driven crazy because they can’t hand out disciplines to rowdy kids because they are not in proportion to the ethnic make up of the district. And rowdy today means a lot more than it did when you went to school, i will assure you. I could spend hours telling you how bad it really is. Go visit a public school some time, volunteer for a few days in a high school and do a little investigating. The standards are gone.

  7. Paul, I foresee a new name for your posts:

    Common Sense – NOT Common Core – with Paul Jacob

  8. Pat says:

    You said you didn’t support vouchers and then proceeded to say ‘it would be a great idea if people actually were given back (or it never taken) their own tax dollars to spend.’
    I see that as a distinction without a difference. You and Rick both appear to support the idea of taxpayer-funded school choice.

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