I noticed Mike Petrilli’s latest post on Flypaper and EdNext Blog about how Common Core will be great despite signs that it is being hijacked and misunderstood. If only we implement the standards as he understands them and “we don’t let misguided ideas stand in our way,” it will signal “a return of history, civics, literature, science, and the fine arts to the elementary school curriculum.”
I tried to think of where else I’ve heard this argument and then I realized that Mike’s piece must have been mangled when it was posted. I think I’ve been able to reconstruct what his original submission must have looked like, and here it is:
Communism’s Best Kept Secret
Shout it from the rooftops, tell all your friends: The Communist era signals a return of equality, decency, and brotherly love. That’s if we don’t let misguided ideas stand in our way.
If this is news to you, you’re not alone. But Karl Marx is doing his darndest to spread the word:
The success of Communism, adopted by more than 29 countries, is supremely important for many reasons, not least because of the recent intensification of global income inequality. But if you look at the actions of those 29+ countries, you will see that they have fallen short of Communist ideals and misunderstood the true spirit of our movement.
There’s a lot about Communism’s implementation that’s tough work and highly controversial. This is not one of them. What workers or vanguard of the proletariat don’t want to usher in the new utopia? Equality, dignity, compassion? Yes please!
Yet the revolutionary leaders might still find a way to screw this up—because they think gulags for dissenters and dachas for the elite are necessary.
So spread the word. As Marx urges in his article’s title, “Workers of the World Unite! You Have Nothing to Lose but Your Chains.”
Equality is back!
Rick hit the nail on the head Monday when he said that a lot of what’s driving people away from CC is the condescending “trust us, we’re experts” attitude. Hugh Hewett said much the same in a column this week. Of course that’s because CC itself is a “trust us, we’re experts” plan in the first place. And that’s why CC supporters won’t heed Rick’s advice. This attitude that makes them think they can simply brazen it out – change reality by declaring that it is the way we want it to be – illustrates the technocratic spirit of the enterprise as well as anything.
Solzhenitsyn’s __The Cancer Ward__ is an extended meditation on the question “when may one person ethically prescribe for another?”. Solzhenitsyn answers “when there is a bond of love between them”, and this love cannot be an abstract love of the people but must involve intimate, personal knowledge.
“What should all 14-year-olds study” makes even less sense to me than “what size and style of shoes should all 14-year-olds wear?” Brains vary more than feet.
I find the notion that remote authorities may prescribe for millions of children about whom they have no knowledge extremely offensive. Much as I admired the evident stamina that allowed Diane Ravitch to wade through volumes of educationese in writing __Left Back…__, she demonstrated the same arrogance. It was not curricular prescription by remote authorities in general that bothered her, just the particular prescriptions that those authorities imposed.
P.S. Jay, Thanks…. I was in Moscow in 1968 and they really did have a geographic map with lights that were lighted (these were very cold dark days at New Years) and the lights showed all the countries where they were installed….. your post bring tears to my eyes. Thank you for all the good work you are doing; it’s very lonely out there/here.
Jay, you are bound to be accused of McCarthyism by mentioning Communism and the Common Core in the same breath. (One wonders if the ELA standards will equip students to recognize the common Latin root.) Anyway, see here:
I’d be happy to use a different reference if CC folks can suggest another past effort that failed while its defenders insisted that it would work if only it was done properly.
“Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” – G.K. Chesterton
“When asked for examples of where Keynesian stimulus in its purest form has been a success, the all-too-common Keynesian economists’ answer is that ‘it’s never really been tried’.” – Paul Kedrosky
“It is not, perhaps, unreasonable to conclude, that a pure and perfect democracy is a thing not attainable by man, constituted as he is of contending elements of vice and virtue, and ever mainly influenced by the predominant principle of self-interest. It may, indeed, be confidently asserted, that there never was that government called a republic, which was not ultimately ruled by a single will, and, therefore, (however bold may seem the paradox,) virtually and substantially a monarchy.” – Alexander Tytler
(Tytler, BTW, is the true source of the quote often attributed to Tocqueville about democracies only surviving until the majority realize they can vote themselves largess from the public treasury.)
Rule by a self-styled cognitive elite regularly leads to some predictable crises.
And at this point we know that on the big issues McCarty was correct. That’s why it was so important to turn his name into a hiss and a byword.
I was thinking yesterday about how symptomatic it is of our plight that our educators pay so little attention to Solzhenitsyn–so I found this thread something of a delight.