Books as Christmas Gifts: The Story-Killers

 

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 8.11.47 AMYou have heard about the Common Core and no doubt know that it is controversial. If you want to know why or if you have a loved one who ought to learn why, I suggest the purchase of Terrence O. Moore’s book The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core.

Terrence is a former Marine. He did his BA at the University of Chicago and later received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh for work he did on the Scottish Enlightenment. Thereafter, he was the founding principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colorado. After that, he did a stint teaching in my department at Hillsdale College, where he became (and remains) the principal adviser to the Barney Charter School Initiative. After a few years here, he went off to Atlanta to found another charter school. He’s a real scholar and knows just about everything that there is to know about K-12 education.

Terrence is acutely sensitive to something of vital importance — that the way we understand our past has a profound impact on the way we view the present — and he is aware that the history curriculum embedded within the Common Core is aimed at making young Americans ashamed of their country and at subverting the American regime. Early in this book, he poses a question: “What will be the results of this educational regime?” Then, he gives an answer:

Two by-products of this form of schooling we already see in America today. First, young people, who are not armed with the great stories of literature and history, will have their views of goodness and happiness formed by the false stories produced by the mythmakers in Hollywood and other parts of our popular culture. Just consider the view of sex and the relations between the sexes promulgated in the movies. Second, the American people will know little about the forms of government the Founding Fathers created to secure our freedom and security and to allow us to pursue and attain happiness. Ill-versed in the ideas and habits of self-rule, we shall look increasingly to a supposedly benevolent, omni-competent, and all-providing state, run by an unknown and wholly accountable bureaucracy of “experts.”

There is more, but you get the idea. If you want to know how the liberals intend to use education to destroy American liberty, this is the book for you.

Published in Education
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 7 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    I wish I had time to read this book.

    Massachusetts decided in the late eighties and early nineties to reform our education system. The effort was led by the Pioneer Institute, a largely conservative think tank. It was a ten-year painful and expensive process. The result was far from perfect, but from the time it was passed in 1993 and signed by Bill Weld, our schools across the board, all of our schools in every nook and cranny of the state, improved tremendously. The effort evened out resources available to kids in the poorer schools–part of the effort involved a two-year exhaustive accreditation procedure that touched every school in the state and turned up all kinds of inequities like elementary schools without libraries. To make a long story short, our schools began appearing at the top of every standardized test results list for the country.

    Flipping forward to today, after eight years under Deval Patrick: Using the Common Core crazy curriculum so that we could get the federal funds, which Massachusetts does not need, by the way–the answer for us is to reject that money and run our own schools–our test results are way down now. What a loss, most especially to the children.

    • #1
  2. Bradley Ross Member
    Bradley Ross
    @BradleyRoss

    I’ve seen a lot of anti-Common Core arguments that don’t seem to have any relation to the actual standards. They are complaints about second and third order effects, such as a particular math question that was written to test one of the standards.

    Joy Pullman, in her Amazon review of the book, says, “It thoroughly discusses the standards themselves (an underexamined area of Common Core), and the curriculum that has and will result. As you might guess from the title, the result is appalling.”

    If this book actually discusses the shortcomings of the standards, I’ll be interested to read it. I’ll be disappointed if this turns out to be merely a critique of a particular curriculum that implements the standard.

    • #2
  3. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Bradley Ross: I’ve seen a lot of anti-Common Core arguments that don’t seem to have any relation to the actual standards.

    Furthermore, each state is free to develop their own standards. It is truly a state-level issue.

    • #3
  4. Bradley Ross Member
    Bradley Ross
    @BradleyRoss

    I started reading last night. I’m disappointed so far. The author is telling stories about things you wouldn’t want to see in your child’s school (all of which I agree with him about) and then blames it on Common Core–without making a logical connection. I’ll keep reading and provide a more in depth review later today.

    • #4
  5. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Bradley Ross:I started reading last night. I’m disappointed so far. The author is telling stories about things you wouldn’t want to see in your child’s school (all of which I agree with him about) and then blames it on Common Core–without making a logical connection. I’ll keep reading and provide a more in depth review later today.

    I look forward to it. :)

    • #5
  6. Bradley Ross Member
    Bradley Ross
    @BradleyRoss

    I’ve written two pages of notes about problems I have with the books arguments and I’ve only read the preface and introduction. Thus far, Dr. Moore has only called out one standard for ridicule, and I can’t figure out why he thinks it is problematic.

    RL-9-10.3. “Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.”

    To illustrate his dislike for the standard, he provides an example activity where they students are invited to imagine a “city of cats” and a “city of men” and compare and contrast them. Based on Moore’s description, this is a stupid activity, but it doesn’t seem to have any bearing on the value of the standard itself. Couldn’t you imagine a really great activity where you look at a major theme of any great piece of literature? Isn’t this what you do in an English class?

    I suspect that I’ll agree with most of the author’s critique of things being taught in many schools. I, too, would like to see a content rich curriculum with students engaged and stretched. He doesn’t see enough of this happening in schools today. I’m wondering if he’ll actually make an argument that shows that the CCSS are hindering this goal.

    • #6
  7. Bradley Ross Member
    Bradley Ross
    @BradleyRoss

    I’m not actually a fan of the CCSS. I just don’t know enough about the situation to know if they are good. This thread got me thinking about what I do like, and that is the Core Knowledge Sequence. I’d probably do better to promote that rather than in defending CCSS from illogical attacks.

    Here is a snippet from a magazine article from last year about E. D. Hirsch, the author of Cultural Literacy.

    Even the embrace of Common Core, Hirsch believes, with the weariness of an octogenarian who’s seen many education fixes come and go, might not be transformative. “I wish the designers had recommended a curriculum—mine, sure, but others too. Absent that, the [Common Core] leaves the door open for schools to do what they’ve always done.” They’ll try to teach skills like critical thinking, he says, and forget the content that students are supposed to think critically about. He pauses for a moment, considering his legacy. “I hate to be godfather of something that is not going to work.”

    • #7
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.