Frank Bruni on the Common Core, Arne Duncan, White Suburban Mothers, and Coddling Children!

Dear Commons Community,

There has been much debate over the past several months about the new Common Core curriculum that is being implemented in over forty states.  New York Times columnist Frank Bruni while trying to be balanced came down strongly in favor of the Common Core mainly because he feels that as a country we are “coddling children” too much and that they need to work harder:

“…there’s the outcry, equally reflective of the times, from adults who assert that kids aren’t enjoying school as much; feel a level of stress that they shouldn’t have to; are being judged too narrowly; and doubt their own mettle.

Aren’t aspects of school supposed to be relatively mirthless? Isn’t stress an acceptable byproduct of reaching higher and digging deeper? Aren’t certain fixed judgments inevitable? And isn’t mettle established through hard work?”

What Bruni says is partially true but the “outcry” is not simply against the Common Core itself but against the rushed disastrous implementation.  While not as horrendous as the Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, the implementation of the Common Core in many states and especially here in New York came pretty close.  Curriculum materials were not prepared and teachers were not trained to teach the Common Core yet all the testing for it was in place and conducted and essentially set children up for failure.   Without a doubt, this has left children, parents and teachers frustrated and angry.  The responsibility for this falls squarely on Arne Duncan – the U.S. Department of Education and to a degree on John King – the New York State Department of Education.  And then Arne Duncan throws oil on the fire by commenting that the Common Core’s most impassioned opponents are  “white suburban moms” who were suddenly learning that “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good.”

Without a doubt, education policy in this country has and continues to need reform, however, the performance of Duncan and King leave a lot to be desired.  Parents are right  to be angry.


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