Bay State’s Common Core Blues

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

A new study from the Pioneer Institute in Boston shows that in Massachusetts, Common Core, like the world, is with us late and soon. Unfortunately, it’s got all the world’s drawbacks and none of its benefits.

“The previous standard provided a coherent line-up of texts in the parenthetical phrase, four works that form a single national and historical lineage (Declaration, Preamble, Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural),” the report reads. “One can identify the curricular focus easily and fill in more material that follows from it: some of the Federalist Papers, various constitutional amendments, Frederick Douglass’s speech on the Declaration and the 4th of July, and Martin Luther King’s glosses on the Declaration, not to mention texts that influenced the Founders and Lincoln, such as Leviticus, John Locke, and Montesquieu.”

“Students would leave the unit with a solid familiarity with the civic philosophy of the United States. But the new list of examples drops the Bill of Rights and Lincoln. Instead, we have one text from Medieval England and one from Revolutionary France. These two examples break up the coherence of the old list.”

English professor Mark Bauerlein from Emory University co-authored the report, with R. James Milgram, professor emeritus of mathematics at Stanford University, and Jane Robbins, senior fellow with the American Principles Project. “These standards rely on process- and skills-based ideas, which brush aside knowledge of Western and English literary traditions,” Bauerlein says. “The result is a set of standards light on content but heavy on fuzzy subjective terms such as ‘high quality’ and ‘challenging.’”

“Great works of literary art and the history of the English language, not to mention the American patrimony, disappear.”