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Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education (The Control Series) Paperback – May 6, 2014
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"CONFORM is an indispensable resource for every family fighting against progressive meddlers in education. With iron-clad facts and unbending reason, Glenn Beck debunks the most oft-repeated smears and lies propagated by the 'controllists.' CONFORM takes on the big money and big government special interests who have profited from the Common Core racket, attacked home-schoolers, and exploited public school classrooms."
- MICHELLE MALKIN, homeschooling mom, daughter of a public school teacher, author, and #stopcommoncore blogger
About the Author
Glenn Beck, the nationally syndicated radio host and founder of TheBlaze television network, is a thirteen-time #1 bestselling author and is one of the few authors in history to have had #1 national bestsellers in the fiction, nonfiction, self-help, and children’s picture book genres. His recent fiction works include the thrillers Agenda 21, The Overton Window, and its sequel, The Eye of Moloch; his many nonfiction titles include Conform, Miracles and Massacres, Control, and Being George Washington. For more information about Glenn Beck, his books, and TheBlaze TV network, visit GlennBeck.com and TheBlaze.com.
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The first third of the book talks about the ills of the teacher union, tenure, and the other horrible things that teachers do that are wrong. Beck must not have had a discussion with a teacher that really cared about children and was very effective at what she did. As a teacher, I was not able to be effective because of the administration above me. The vice principals, principals, area superintendents, superintendents, and other central office administrators who made the decisions on what I could and could not do. Sadly in the 16 years that I taught the principal who was a teacher the longest was only in the classroom for 8 years. Most were only in the classroom for 4-6 years. I had two superintendents with no education experience who took orders from the city's mayor and several principals and superintendents who were gym teachers by trade and never taught a child how to read and would not have a clue how to approach it they were forced to have to complete such an exercise.
By page 50, he's gushing over Teach for America teachers. A program that I know well, because of having the opportunity to work with teachers in the program and knowing several first hand. Teach for America teachers have a 2 year commitment. They have a few week training in the summer before they are sent to their assignment. Often what they are teaching is not close to what they majored in. For example, I know first hand of a drama major who taught middle school science. I wonder if Beck would want such a teacher for his children, The Marxist factories (colleges) that Beck refers to influence TFA teachers just as much as a teacher who goes through traditional certification, but I guess he wasn't able to put those dots together. Maybe Beck needed to do more research for his book as Stanford and Pearson have a new way to certification edTPA. This will have the same exact results as the medical licensing he discusses-it will drive up costs. Or that Bill Gates financially supports TFA.
The part of the book that is actually about Common Core is mediocre at best. 'He glosses over important players in the Common Core game not giving their full background. A clear picture of how we got to Common Core will not be gotten from Conform and neither will a clear picture of what Common Core is.
His ideas for reform are similar to Bill Gates. Charters, Choice, TFA teachers, and merit pay. All laughable, as they only offer more issues in education. Real education of children will only happen with local schools being controled with local dollars and local elections, and little if any state and no federal funds involved.
If you are wanting to understand education reform and common core go and buy a different book. Conform simply does not the cut the mustard for improving education or making education better. It doesn't even connect the dots the way this former Beck fan is used to him doing.
The common core stuff gets going at about the half way point and I found this the most interesting. I have a 6 year old and the math homework she gets is insane. 2+2=4. Who cares about "Johnnys Balloons" or "Saras Apples". Anyway, it was interesting to learn how common core got started, how they put it into play without any of us knowing, and how little research or accountability went into it.
The problem (if you could call it that) I had with the book was that it did change some of my view on common core as a whole. The math is a joke. That's a given. But at one point in the book Beck and Olson go into the English curriculum and they talk about how with common core it's more important for a kid to learn how to do a PowerPoint slide than it is to read literature. I actually agree with that. In this day and age, reading Huck Finn doesn't do anyone any good. Graduating with proficiency in presenting ideas and arguments does a lot of good. I may be reading into that a little much but if that's what they are planning on teacher my child in school I'm all for it.
The book is an easy read and I think it's a must read for all parents and teachers. Private schools aren't immune from Common Core so if your kids are not in the public school system you still need to know what Common Core is all about.