Do You Know What Our Kids Are (not) Learning?

Nov 15, 2013

Poplar Bluff Schools moved to “Common Core” at the beginning of this year, some larger schools have been incorporating it since 2010 and it is mandated by Governor Nixon and the Dept of Education that all schools start Common Core by next school year. There are so many reasons why I oppose Common Core. For many it sounds like “Common Core” is just the next new schooling buzzword (ie, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, etc.), but its so much more than that.

Let me sum it up like this: Common Core allowed the business and political but non-academic world to create standards of what students should learn at each age. Then President Obama used multi-million dollar educational money-bribes with 45 governors to bypass their own state legislature to implement the new system. But Common Core is not just student standards, it also includes teacher evaluations based solely on test scores of their students; at this point, Common Core trumps tenure.

Because of my math background, my heart sank to know that Common Core scrapped the work of over 400 Missouri mathematics professionals from primary and secondary education and from our major state colleges and universities. They had developed the Missouri math standards which were about to be put into place across our state when Gov. Nixon took the Common Core bribe. Most every mathematician on record agrees that Common Core does not prepare our students for college entrance. Check out for more info about the scrapped math standard.

Common core also includes English standards. Do we really want Washington think tanks deciding what our area children are to be reading? I don’t really know how to approach this next subject because it’s always easy to grab the low hanging fruit and chuck it at your opponent, but at the same time, sometimes…it’s necessary. Case in point is “The Bluest Eye”. For 40 years it has been argued about whether this book should be on library shelves because of its content. Common Core ends that debate by putting it on the Exemplar Reading list for 11th graders. So what is the book “The Bluest Eye” about? I’ve not read it, but Wikipedia says “It is told from the perspective of Claudia MacTeer as a child and an adult, as well as from a third-person, omniscient viewpoint. Because of the controversial nature of the book, which deals with racism, incest, and child molestation…” The author says she didn’t want to taint the reader’s perspective so she didn’t include any morality while discussing the issues. In other words she writes as though there is nothing wrong with rape, incest and child molestation. Some people won’t want to read the quotes from the book posted below, but it’s now on our 11th grade reading list. This is graphic but we are using this verbal pornography to teach our children (yes, 11th graders are still children!):

Pages 84-85: “He must enter her surreptitiously, lifting the hem of her nightgown only to her navel. He must rest his weight on his elbows when they make love, to avoid hurting her breasts…When she senses some spasm about to grip him, she will make rapid movements with her hips, press her fingernails into his back, suck in her breath, and pretend she is having an orgasm. She might wonder again, for the six hundredth time, what it would be like to have that feeling while her husband’s penis is inside her.”

Pages 130-131: “Then he will lean his head down and bite my t** . . . I want him to put his hand between my legs, I want him to open them for me. . . I stretch my legs open, and he is on top of me…He would die rather than take his thing out of me. Of me. I take my fingers out of his and put my hands on his behind…”

Page 174: “He further limited his interests to little girls. They were usually manageable . . . His sexuality was anything but lewd; his patronage of little girls smacked of innocence and was associated in his mind with cleanliness.” And later, this same pedophile notes, “I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people.”

Taken from

Where From Here?

One of the problems a parent faces is that “Common Core” is a huge topic. Similar to understanding Obamacare, it takes hours of reading and watching videos and pushing past the hype on both sides to understand it. Toni and I have gone to a full-day seminar in St Louis, a 2 hour conference in Greenville and in Poplar BLuff and spent over 50 hours online trying to learn about it. So trying to motivate parents to get involved and kick Common Core out of our schools will be difficult. The question of getting involved comes down to how important is the education of our children to you?

Go to any search engine, or onto, and “anti common core” and you will have plenty of material to get yourself started. For more info about the growing voice within Missouri of parents, educators and legislators who are against Common Core, check out Missouri Coalition Against Common Core. And if you are on facebook, consider liking: Missouri Moms Against Common Core (ya, even if you’re a dude).

I end with this: two videos.

Two videos have stuck out over the past six weeks as I’ve tried to learn more about Common Core. First is a child psychologist who gives her opinion at a national conference whether Common Core standards are age-appropriate; and the second is from last week when a senior, I believe his name is Ethan Young, stood up and spoke to his school board against Common Core. He has a great quote:

If everything I learn is a measurable objective, I have not learned anything. Creativity, appreciation and inquisitiveness: these are impossible to scale.

  1. Albert Coram

    I have a grand daughter who graduated PBHS in 2011. Guess what. She doesn’t know how to read an analog clock or watch, cannot count or spell…and others I know who graduated there can’t do the same thing. What can you possibly be teaching that they graduated NOT knowing how to do these simple things??

  2. out-of-towner

    After teaching in the public school system for 44 years, I have seen change after change after change–none of them for the betterment of the student! I read John Gatto’s book years ago when it was first published.. If I’d had kids in public school, I would have withdrawn them years ago and home schooled them or sent them to Catholic school. Yes, they would have still been indoctrinated there, but at least it would have been faith-based. The problem with American education is that we try to teach everyone, whereas, in most European and Oriental schools only those suited for higher education will progress above the 6th grade or year. Those deemed intellectually unfit for higher education are channeled into jobs for which they are most suited: chef, hairdresser, fashion designer, construction, bricklayer, in other words–the trades. There is absolutely nothing wrong with working as a trades-person. .And that is not belittling their intellect; it just means that the person is wasting his or her time and money by trying to attend a university when that is not what he or she is interested in. And therein lies one of the major problems with the Core Curriculum; it is supposedly designed so that EVERYONE will go to college.


    How can you be disgruntled by the education provided the government institution if that’s where you send your child? There are reasons for the way things are done in public schools. The book “Dumbing Us Down”, by John Gatto, will explain the history and intent of compulsory schooling. It’s much easier to homeschool a child and teach them what you want rather than fighting the system for 12 years. Fighting anything is counterproductive.

  4. out-of-towner

    I am totally against banning books, but a school librarian/media specialist and all English teachers must use discretion as to what books are included on a suggested reading list. Several years ago our middle school media specialist put the book MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL in our school library (our middle school includes grades 5 – 8.. The librarian’s reasoning–“well, it’s on the New York Times best seller list.” I caught one of my 7th graders with it and told her that I needed to talk with her mother before she could have the book back. Obviously, her mother said no way was her child reading that book at her age. It was not until I took my copy of the book to our principal–with certain very descriptive passages marked–that he would pull the book. He read about three lines, turned bright red and marched into the library and pulled the book. What if a 5th grader had checked that book out? A good media specialist should be familiar with the books in his/her library or rely on recommendations from school-oriented library organizations. It would be impossible for librarians to read every book in the library, but they–and English teachers– must use good judgment–in recommending books to students.–and that means high school students. Even when I taught high school English, there were certain books I would ask for parental permission for the “child” to read. And yes, 11th and 12thgraders are still children, and we as the local school have the job of being “in loco parentis” (sp?) or “the child’s parent while he/she is under our jurisdiction.” there is a difference in banning a book and using good judgment.

  5. Lynn

    The Bluest Eye is a great book. Don’t use the Common Core to start book banning. That’s not what this discussion should include at all. Expansion of knowledge is what this discussion should include! Don’t put limitations on students’ education potential and don’t tie their learning to teacher’s salaries. Common Core is a corporate take-over of American public schools,

    1. Brian Becker

      Lynn, you misread my words. I’m not banning books. I’m saying the book should not be a suggested read for high school students. I didn’t say that high school students can’t read it, but I don’t want my school promoting it either. You might think that “50 Shades of Grey” is a great book…but I would fight you tooth-and-nail if you tried to put it on the 11th grade reading list.

      Also, I used the book’s inclusion as an example of why local school’s should not be held hostage to national decisions. If you presented that book to our school board and said, “Should this be on our reading list?” The vote would probably be a unanimous “No.” But if you accept common core into your school, you are not allowed to remove that book from your reading list.

  6. out-of-towner

    As a newly retired teacher, I saw the writing on the wall and I didn’t like it. Common Core is one of the main reasons I retired. After 44 years in junior high and high school classrooms, I have seen too many changes–none of them good. Common Core’s main objective is to prepare everyone to go to college–how unrealistic! Who will operate or forklifts, who will pick up our trash, who will drive our transport trucks, etc. Does one need a college degree to flip a burger in McDonald’s? Or are we dumbing down society so that the sheeple will be more easily led to slaughter by our government?