Who is the real public enemy, Ray Rice or David Coleman?

Early morning hours. They got drunk and had a fight. She spit on him and hit him. He hit her back. She was unconscious on the floor. A punch or a slap? Too drunk to stand up? Initially, the event was treated as a trivial physical altercation. A month  later they got married. Next, Rice was indicted on a third-degree assault charge and accepted into a first offender’s program. Now the wife was saying, please leave us alone and stop talking about what happened. Meanwhile, some people wanted to take away his career and livelihood. That’s a big fine. (Timeline.)

If a stockbroker gets in a fight with his wife and knocks her down, do you think the whole country is going to be more critical of stockbrokers or Wall Street because of this one man’s action? We are seeing something unsavory here. It’s called rolling the public. Our pious media won’t investigate well-known claims about Obama‘s life but can report for weeks on this one event in an elevator. Gee, you’d almost think they want to encourage riots, like they did in Ferguson. That and hurt the NFL. Oh yeah, and persecute Commissioner Goodell until he dances on cue.

Here is the main thing I know about Ray Rice. He hurt his wife and himself. He has suffered hugely in terms of shame and public embarrassment. The rest of the country pretty well goes on as it did before. There are already plenty of laws on the books dealing with assault and battery. I don’t know what the appropriate punishment is. Do you want to take away his livelihood and his career forever, which will definitely hurt his wife and children? And for what? One drunken mistake. Let the people who never made a drunken mistake cast the first stone.

Now let’s talk about David Coleman, that guy that got to rework the whole public school experience. The guy’s not that old. He had no special accomplishments. Why does he get to make education decisions for millions of parents? The whole business is bizarre. Each little thing he changes can mean that millions of kids suffer every day. I suspect David Coleman is much more of a threat to the country than Ray Rice. But I don’t see people complaining about him, although one savvy website did declare that Coleman is among the “top ten scariest people in education.”

And his pal Jason Zimba rewrote the math standards. So he gets credit for the atrocious Common Core homework that is making parents crazy (video right) making kids suffer, and causing friction in every family’s life. Truthfully, I would vote to send Jason Zimba to jail before I would vote to send Ray Rice to jail.

You have probably heard that David Coleman wants to keep literature, poetry, short stories and all that good stuff to a minimum. In other words, he wants to squeeze out culture and civilization. He wants kids to read air conditioner manuals and IRS directives. Talk about suffering.

And they have to read these boring informational text over and over. This is called “close reading.” I call it close to crazy.

There are two reasons why a human being reads: entertainment or information. Nobody wants information about IRS regulations unless they’re doing their taxes. Kids don’t pay taxes. It’s far better to give children something fun that will encourage them to read more, not less. Reading is like riding a bicycle or a horse. You have to get comfortable in the saddle, so you can go for hours. Entertaining text is a lot better, motivationally speaking, than informational texts.

Again, why would Bill Gates take two nonentities from Chicago (the City of Gangsterly Love) and say, okay, I’m going to bribe the country into letting you two guys change everything that goes on in our schools. What, are they BFF of Arne Duncan and Obama? (Never forget that Common Core could as well be called ObamaEd.) Anyway, everything these two tyros are doing is arguably making schools worse.

Here’s what you do if you seriously want to improve schools. You have a team of the most successful educators draw up a plan, and then test it for several years.  Bill Gates forgot the part about the most successful educators. And everybody forgot the part about testing. The Common Core blitz forced people at the state level to approve this pedagogical overkill before it was even drawn up. What do we call that? Amateur hour? Or hucksters in a hurry?

 Now David Coleman, such a big success, has switched over to Scholastic Achievement Tests. Age still about 45. Official title, Chairman and CEO of the College Board. Apparently the job there is to make sure the SAT scores don’t drop too much.  Everybody expects that kids will know less, so there could be a PR nightmare. The trick is to make sure the tests measure whatever it is that the kids do know, however little. That’s called alignment. That’s called authentic assessment. “Spell your name….Congratulations! You get 800!”

Well, Ray Rice may be a horrible man but I don’t think he’s going to hurt anything but himself and his wife. I worry that David Coleman hurts the country every time he makes a decision about education. Apparently he thinks it’s a wonderful improvement if every teacher is speaking the same words in every classroom across the country. (Just imagine the glorious opportunities for imposing the Obama view on every topic every day. Goodbye, America.) Coleman constantly uses the word “standards” as if it’s synonymous with “results.” (You can raise “standards” to the moon and still have children who can’t read or count. Just watch.) But for some weird reason Bill Gates is eager to spend a billion to let David Coleman be the King of K-12. What was Bill Gates thinking? Whatever it was, he should do the gentlemanly thing and apologize now.

 There was no proof of concept in Common Core, no proof of anything. Apparently the country’s movers and shakers were all having a nap. The media came to life only to support the wrong choices. Every foundation apparently got a grant from Bill Gates. So what we have now is a big bundle of problems trying to elbow their way into the school system forever.

Lots of people keep saying, this is just what the US needs: more federal power, more central planning, so we can be just like the USSR. You don’t know how lucky you are!

I’m thinking: what has happened to this country? Is common sense dead? Education is not even mentioned in the Constitution, never mind letting a plague of busybody federal bureaucrats descend upon the nation’s children. 

Worst of all, Common Core perpetuates and locks in place most of the bad ideas from the last 75 years: Whole Language to teach reading, Reform Math to teach arithmetic, and Constructivism to teach everything. Unfortunately, many people at the top level of society seem to prefer that average kids stay that way. Finally, Common Core seems less about intellectual improvement than about enforcing top-down labor policy (VIDEO DOCUMENTARY).

Education has always been handled locally. Schools and teachers could experiment and try new ideas. Creativity was possible. We don’t want to lose all that for some cockamamie totalitarian concoction from Chicago.

Here’s my modest proposal. Every politician has to declare for or against Common Core. People in favor are retired from politics.

Bruce PriceBruce Deitrick Price explains educational theories and methods on his site Improve-Education.org.