Who’s the SMILE behind the Progressive Teaching Strategies of Common Core?

In traveling across the state speaking on the dangers of the philosophy of education found in Common Core I have been intrigued by the passion behind those in Education who are pushing for CSCOPE in Texas and Common Core in other states. I believe that comes from a dynamic speaker and the voice behind Common Core.

0126-Lecture_INSIDEHer name is Sarah Brown Wessling. 

Here is a little background on Wessling…….

Sarah Brown Wessling is a high school English teacher in Johnston, Iowa. She is the 2010 National Teacher of the Year and is the Teacher Laureate for Teaching Channel. She also hosts “Teaching Channel Presents” on public television stations around the country. 

Ms. Wessling is a wonderful speaker and makes ideas and common core come alive. She makes you feel so good about 21st Century Learning. And she is a danger to your child’s education and well being. Wessling states… 

“We need 21st-century teachers, not just adults teaching in the 21st Century.”  

“When we embrace this open model of learning the consumers of our curriculum will become the designers of their own learning experiences.” 

Please take note of what she says in the video below at the time stamp 4:28 about what you would see when you come into her classroom. 

Now let’s break down what she is actually saying. 

Texas Mom and classical educator Cathy Wells said it best recently in a post she made on Facebook. Cathy takes a look at the Constructionist theory in education. 

“I wanted to elucidate once again for those who have missed it or are new, what the real problem with Common Core/CSCOPE is. This happens to also explain why, once CSCOPE lessons are gone, that we have to remain vigilant against programs such as icloud or anything else that is non-traditional or based on social constructivism. 

Here is a link to a good explanation of social/educational constructivism:

Essentially, social constructivism posits that the best way to learn something is to invent it or “discover” it yourself. I concede that this is certainly a very thorough way to learn something. I’ve had to do it myself in ranching many times. However, in terms of academics, it’s a really bad idea. You’re basically suggesting that kids spend their entire school day “discovering” information. The volume of information that you can cover in a day is sharply reduced. Which, according to Common Core standards is not only acceptable but the desired result. The idea is that this “deep” learning of concepts/principles will somehow transfer itself to other learning areas. 

The primary problem with this theory is that it’s just bunk. It doesn’t work. Veteran teachers know this. It seems to me that the new teachers are the ones having the wool pulled over their eyes. Try factoring out an algebra problem without knowing your times tables by the dread ROTE that Common Core proponents despise. What typically frustrates advanced math teachers is the lack of fact memorization. 

Classically and traditionally, younger years were spent in rote memorization because that is the concrete learning phase of childhood in which young children excel at just tucking away bits of information in their heads. The alphabet song, tunes on the radio, languages, etc. are most easily picked up during this stage. When the child reached the middle years, they began putting those facts to greater use, applying logic and making synergistic connections. The high school years would be spent in mastery of subjects and learning to argue a point using all the facts and logic applied theretofore.

It appears that what modern education would like to do is completely skip the young “grammar” stage of learning, skip the memorization of any facts, and head straight to the logical thought period. If we lived in the Matrix and could have programs instantly loaded into our brains, that might work great (given our brains were born at the abstract level of maturity, which they are not). Since we live in the real worldsadly, this is not an effective methodology. 

Many modern educrats like to say that we traditionalists are against “thinking skills” or “critical thinking.” Absolutely false. We are for the proper ordering of such skills in the progression of educational life. We know that it actually CONFUSES children to flip-flop things around and DAMAGES their ability to have critical thinking. After all, what will they be thinking ABOUT if their heads are not full of facts but merely their own opinions and constructions?” 

Knowledge is power ~ In order to protect your children, you must understand what they are being fed in the classroom. It is your responsibility to decide if you want your child to be a victim of the 21st Century Learning experiment or if you believe in the Classical Traditional philosophy of education. Then it is your responsibility to take action to protect your child. 

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