The culture wars and Common Core (part 2)

By Cathy Keim

Second of two parts.

Where to go? What to do?

In Part 1, I wrote about how Common Core teaches reading in such a way that content is stripped of its context. Every student can read into the passage whatever they feel, which can lead to major problems when it comes to transmitting our culture to the next generation.

Common Core is all about the redistribution of education, just like our president is all about the redistribution of wealth in the economic realm and Obamacare is the redistribution of medical care. Now all students will get a mediocre educational experience (except for our elites which will have special opportunities just as they are exempt from the laws that they impose upon us.)

I promised to give some options to fight back in Part II. First and foremost, I would strongly encourage you to get your children or grandchildren out of the public school system. Our government is so out of control that I do not support giving them any opportunity to indoctrinate any child that I am responsible for and love.

This does not mean that we can abandon the fight for our educational system. Even if we pull our children out, there are many defenseless children left in the government system that need our help.

Unfortunately, the Common Core Standards are now driving the new SAT tests for college admission. This fact has led to many private schools adopting Common Core even though they are not under government control. The private schools, including Christian schools, are so afraid that their students will not score well on the nationwide tests if they do not teach the Standards that they have given in without a fight.

This same fear of doing poorly on the College Board exams will lead many homeschoolers to adopt Common Core textbooks. The public school system is so large that all other methods of teaching tend to follow in its path.

As stated in Part I, we have lost our republic and we must now work to restore it. That means that you as parents will have to take a more active role in your child’s education. If you continue to send your child to the public schools, then you had better plan to spend time each day undoing the indoctrination and trying to repair the damage.

We need to be much more intentional in our child rearing. You cannot leave them to the schools, television, and gaming worlds and expect them to grow up with any understanding of Western Civilization. If you want them to be able to think, then you had better plan to teach them how to think yourself.

Personally, I homeschooled my five children because if I was going to have to deprogram them everyday, then I might as well teach them correctly in the first place. To homeschool your children well, you have to see it as a long-term commitment. You must plan, prepare, and learn material yourself or find friends that can trade their areas of expertise to compliment yours.

If you absolutely cannot homeschool your children, then a private school is your second best option, but you must be very careful to see what and how they are teaching. The public school system is your final and least desirable option. I know that there are many dedicated, responsible teachers in the system. I am not aiming this at them. However, their hands are tied by the restrictions placed on them by the system. Also, the lack of discipline interferes with their ability to utilize their time to teach and the testing schedules that are wildly increased under Common Core eats up more instruction time. Add to that the politically correct positions that must be taught and you have teachers that are thwarted at every turn.

One possibility is to pull your child out of school whenever they are giving the standardized tests. Use that time at home to read something of value.

Take your children to museums, exhibits, historical sites, concerts and art galleries. Let them see for themselves the beauty of Western Civilization in paintings, music, and plays. We studied art and then would go see the original piece if possible. Study a Shakespeare play and then go see a live performance. Read about energy production in science and then visit a historical coalmine. If you cannot see a live performance, then find a well-done movie or act the scenes yourself.

We have been sold the line that you must have an education degree to be able to teach. This is a lie. If you love your children, you can teach them. Isn’t that what you have done since they were born? You taught them to talk by talking to them. You can teach them to read and to do math. There are plenty of resources out there. You do not have to be a master of the subject to teach your children.

I grew up with the wonders of New Math and sight word reading, so I learned phonics when I taught my children to read. My first four children studied Spanish because I had studied Spanish. The fifth one wanted to do Latin, so we learned Latin together. I could only do that because he was the only one still at home, but it shows that you can teach a subject that you have not mastered previously if you are determined.

Go to church with your children. You need to teach them a worldview to live by and the church will help equip you and give you a community to encourage your whole family.

The pervasive moral decline can be offset by an intellectually rigorous Christian worldview. Give your children Christian principles and a strong faith to live by.

Then inspire them with great literature. Equip them to confront the culture, not to be destroyed by it. Literature provides them with examples of bold characters standing up for truth against great odds. Isn’t that what we hope our children will do? Give them encouragement by reading to them when they are younger and then guiding them to great books when they are older.

Our hearts yearn for heroes, but our culture provides us with irony and complex situations of gray. In The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien presents characters that fight on against hopeless odds because it is better to die for truth and honor than to live as slaves. Frodo and Samwise Gamgee portray friendship even to the point of death. Gandalf show great wisdom and compassion. Aragorn is the epitome of the servant king quietly protecting people for many years before returning to claim his crown. Faramir is as noble a character as you will ever find.

(I will point out that the movies that Peter Jackson made from the books, while good, do dilute the characters’ greatness. It seems that Jackson had to bring them down from the lofty heights that Tolkien placed them, to more human levels. I would contend that Tolkien knew what he was doing when he portrayed his characters in the heroic tradition. They are there to inspire us.)

On that note I will close. I hope that I have inspired you to not settle for education as the government says it must be done. Instead seek to educate your children to be able to think and reason well and to have the character to live in a heroic fashion by doing their duty to God and man.