Everything that exists on this Earth is made out of the same Common Core, the same molecules, and the same atoms. 75 % of the earth is covered in water. Up to 60 % of a human body is made up of water. Pigs are animals whose anatomy so closely resembles the human that a pig heart can be transplanted into a human and provide that human with a functional heartbeat. According to the animal liberation front over 100 million pigs are slaughtered every day in the U.S. It is the brutal circle of life as we know it. In this post we will be exploring a different common core, namely the Common Core standards that has been implemented in the U.S education system and that according to many educators will change how we see and conduct education on a fundamental and ground breaking level.
Let me start by giving some background as to the reason why I, as a Swedish teacher am writing about the Common Core and what this has to do with the ‘circle of life’.
Yesterday I attended a lecture on a literacy program called Reading to learn given by the chair of a non-profit organization called Reading for life. The Reading to Learn program was started in Australia with the specific aim of assisting children from aboriginal families to improve their learning capacity through an intensified focus on reading. The organization has as its mission to work “towards the goal of democratising education so that all learners are given the best opportunities to develop cognitively, linguistically, socially and emotionally regardless of age, sex, ethnicity or social background and have available a range of options to enable them to participate fully in society.”
While the lecture was fascinating and I agreed with many of the perspectives and incentives shared with regards to a functional perspective on language development and literacy, I kept thinking about how the researchers were operating based on the assumption that education and educational strategies are separate from politics. It reminded me of two interviews that I had watched earlier in the day about the implementation of the Common Core Standards in the U.S. and how the point of introducing new didactic strategies cannot be separated from the political undercurrents that dictates the education system. I strongly recommend watching them to educate oneself on the Common Core.
It would be redundant for me to write yet another article discussing the pro’s and con’s of the Common Core. The Internet is already flooded with bloggers and educators and journalists discussing the Common Core to such an extent that it can be difficult to see the forest for the trees when it comes to determining whether the program is promoting a revolution of our education systems or in fact its demise. The cognitive disinformation surrounding around the Common Core is palpable to say the least. I will therefore in this article instead have a look at what is ’behind the curtain’ of the Common Core in context to the general purpose of education in conjunction with a previous article I wrote about John Taylor Gatto’s exposure of the education system’s main functions.
The primary purpose with the Common Core is prominently articulated in an article from the New York Times quoting Education Secretary Arne Duncan. In an email to the newspaper he said: “If we’ve encouraged anything from Washington, it’s for states to set a high bar for what students should know to be able to do to compete in today’s global economy.” (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/09/opinion/sunday/the-common-core-whos-minding-the-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)
The statement about making children equipped to compete in the global economy has become the default catch phrase of both government officials and others involved in the privatization of the education system. As I have written extensively about in other articles on this blog, it was the emergence of international testing of children’s literacy and math skills that revealed how countries such as the U.S were falling alarmingly behind and that juxtaposed with the advent of economic globalization kicked off the search for new educational strategies to boost the learning capacity of American children.
The Common Core standards are thus (supposedly) created to raise the academic achievement of American school children, to support high school students to become ‘college-ready’ and to decrease the socioeconomic achievement gap that especially affects Latin- and Afro-American children. This principal aim of the Common Core as it is presented here is indeed sympathetic and is in fact very similar to the Reading to Learn Program I briefly mentioned in the beginning of this article. The problem is that all these new educational initiatives, however sympathetic their incentive may seem to be, are based on a credulous acceptance of the current political and economic systems.
What is often not mentioned or brought up in discussions about the education system is that the starting-point of almost all current education policies across the world is the global economy and within that a distinct corporatized perspective of human beings as ‘human capital’ existing to serve the global economy through profit-optimization. This perspective is then implemented on a national level with the ‘politically correct’ aim of securing a country’s ability to compete on the global market through effectively educating their citizens. Across the board is the acceptance of the current economic system and with it, the subsequent subjugation of our education systems to function in its servitude. Common Core is a clear example of that. As ironic as it may be, some of the most profound critical perspectives on the Common Core, comes from students, such as for instance Ethan Young, a High School Senior from Tennessee who recently addressed the board of education in Know country. One of things he said was that: “Standards-based education is ruining the way we teach and learn. Why? Bureaucratic convenience. It works with nuclear reactors; it works with business models, why can’t it work with students? I mean how convenient, calculating exactly who knows what and who needs what. I mean, why don’t we just manufacture robots instead of students? They last longer and they always do what they’re told.” (Source: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2014/01/tennessee_student_ethan_young_.html)
The thing that researchers, educators and policy-makers tend to omit, whether deliberately or not, is that education cannot be separated from the political agenda in which it is embedded. When new educational and didactic strategies are presented and implemented into the education system, there tends to be a general understanding that these strategies are based on a scientific and pedagogical perspective on learning and that learning in itself is something objective and inherently separate from the political agenda. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. Education has throughout the history of human civilization and increasingly been used as a propagandizing tool to steer populations into a specific political and dogmatic framework. While this is in itself highly problematic (and also philosophically a conundrum because how do you teach without indoctrinating?) what is even more problematic is that these new educational strategies such as the Common Core and other standardized testing regimes are presented as though their chief aim has to do with learning in itself, when there is in fact a distinct political strategy behind them. Education and learning (as well as teaching to some extent) has been taken hostage and is under siege by the current economic system through the direct instructions of the political system. We are so puzzled by the fact that students seem to get worse and worse when it comes to learning basic skills such as reading, writing or math, yet we fail to see that an educational system existing in servitude to a corporate oligarchy obviously does not have learning as it prime objective. As such, the prime objective of our education systems is profit maximization for the lucky few and students are viewed as valuable only as far as they can be molded into human capital.
The point is that education cannot be separated from politics and doing so is a clever political strategy used to further placate people into believing that all is well in the world and that ‘the experts know what they are doing’. A corporatized system stands accountable only to its shareholders and what its shareholders want is to optimize profits. This is then the axis upon which the world turns. The consequences of this can be seen in every corner of the world explicitly as well as implicitly.
We cannot implement any effective educational strategies that will improve our children’s ability to read, write and do math – let alone change the current situation on earth, until we change the political and economic foundation of our societies. We will see all kinds of academically sophisticated systems being implemented into our education systems, but they will all fail as long as education is under siege by the corporate elite with our credulous and implicit endorsement. This is also one of the reasons why I in a recent article suggested that parents step up to the plate and get involved in their children’s education, not as by-standers but as the primary caretakers that they by bringing children into this world, have taken a silent oath to be. See, there’s nothing wrong with educational strategies and systems or technologies. In fact we’re in an era were more amazing tools are being developed than ever. But if these tools are only being used to sedate our children while placating us as parents, we are facing a dangerous time ahead. Read more about these points in this article.
The solution to what is happening in our education systems (or in the world for that matter) is therefore not to keep coming up with strategies to change the international test scores and make our children able to compete in the global economic system. We have to first of all realize that the principles within and through which we currently exist on this planet are directly obstructive and destructive towards our very own lives. We have to stop seeing the ‘global economy’ as an objective structure that exists autonomously and realize that it is a contrived and strategic construct created to serve a specific political agenda, a political agenda that in its very nature stand against what is best for all life, because it within its very structure has no consideration for life whatsoever.
Our Common Core is not the global economic system. A global economic system built to optimize profits for its shareholders cannot sustain this planet because its priorities have nothing to do with preserving or caring for Life. Our Common Core is quite literally this planet and the Life that we all share and this ought to be the foundation of our education systems. Education should therefore first and foremost be about life and thus, a Life that is Best for All should be the prime objective of any educational institution. This is most certainly a political and a strategic perspective on education, but it is a strategy without hidden agendas, without loopholes, without the need to propagandize and use cognitive disinformation to passive-aggressively force people to conform.
If you are ready to get involved in a political and economic change of paradigms and thereby also a change of our education systems, I invite you to investigate the Equal Life Foundation’s proposal of a Guaranteed Living Income System. This proposal suggests a groundbreaking change in political paradigms that doesn’t ‘take sides’ but instead presents a completely new approach to solving the problems we are currently facing in this world.
Re-Educate yourself here:
The Ultimate History Lesson with John Taylor Gatto:
PROPAGANDA | FULL ENGLISH VERSION (2012)
The Century of the Self
The Power Principle
Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century
The Story of Your Enslavement
Inequality for all documentary:
The Four Horsemen:
On Advertisement and the end of the world:
Third World America – Chris Hedges
More articles about parenting and education in a Guaranteed Living Income System:
Watch the hangout about Education for a New World in Order: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlj5wGCRnSU