MODESTO, Calif. – Social studies teachers at Modesto’s Enochs High School want students to view the nation’s Declaration of Independence as the breakup letter in a relationship gone sour.
Three of the school’s social studies educators reworked their lessons on one of the nation’s founding documents to comply with Common Core’s “critical thinking” approach to learning. In essence, the lesson, delivered to all of the high school’s 500 juniors, boils America’s story of independence down into a love-hate saga with a bitter breakup, ModBee.com reports.
From the news report:
“With the background covered, (teacher Janeen Zambo) switched gears. A letter was left in her room, she said, unfolding a paper. Students need to remember their papers, not pass notes, because she reads aloud what gets left behind, she said to stunned silence.
The letter described a failing relationship. The writer needed space. It just wasn’t going to work out. Sympathetic murmurs greeted the harshest lines. As the bell rang, Zambo admitted it was not a classmate’s life they were hearing about, but the birth of a nation.
“We’re going to study the best breakup letter in the history of the world,” Zambo said as she ended her first-period U.S. history class.
“What’s it called?” one student asked as students gathered up pens and note papers.
“I like your curiosity,” she answered cryptically, not identifying the Declaration of Independence.
So, instead of focusing on the actual wording of the Declaration of Independence, and encouraging students to delve into the concepts and reasons behind the decision to break with England, the lesson likens the country’s beginnings to a high school love affair.
And, “that’s the Common Core twist,” according to the news site.
“The difference is, we used to tell them answers. Now they’re having to struggle, come up with their own answers. That’s the critical thinking,” Principal Deb Rowe told ModBee.com.
“It’s a return to a lot of things we were doing when I started teaching 22 years ago. It’s refreshing,” Zambo told the news site. “They were indoctrinated into: There is one right answer. This is history! There are many perspectives.”
The perspectives of many parents, however, is that Common Core lessons like the one at Enochs High are oversimplified and are dumbing down important educational concepts. In numerous states, parents and education experts have testified in legislative hearings about the nationalized learning standards, which are growing increasingly unpopular with educators and the public in general.
Most recently, critics have complained that the less-than-rigorous Common Core lessons don’t adequately prepare students for college.
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Ze’ev Wurman, a former U.S. Department of Education officials under President George W. Bush, recently told Breitbart.com that Common Core architect David Coleman is now working to lower the rigor of the SAT college admissions exam to align it with the new standards.
“One of the first things David Coleman promised when he assumed the presidency of the College Board was to align the SAT with Common Core,” Wurman said. “Now he delivers on his promise and dumbs down the SAT to match the low level of Common Core expectations.”
“Mr. Coleman and Common Core proponents have a problem: Common Core claims to prepare students for college, yet at most, its content prepares them for community and four-year, non-selective colleges. Its own authors admit as much,” Wurman told Breitbart.com.
Wurman, co-author of the 2010 book “Common Core’s Standards Still Don’t Make the Grade,” believes that the primary goal of Common Core is to socially engineer more students into college, whether they’re actually prepared for higher education or not.
“This charade is bound to explode, unless a way is found to force regular state colleges to accept the low-level college-readiness offered by the Common Core,” he said. “The goal is, as the Collage Board says, to ‘bridge economic and demographic barriers’ rather than assure that college freshmen are adequately prepared.
“So, in the name of this ‘social justice,’ the SAT is now being dumbed down so it will find more students ‘ready,’ whether truly ready or not,” Wurman said.