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The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core Paperback – October 30, 2013
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About the Author
Terrence O. Moore is a teacher, education reformer, and writer. A former Marine, Moore received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh, where he wrote on the history of education during the Enlightenment. He was the founding principal of Ridgeview Classical Schools in Fort Collins, Colorado, whose high school twice ranked first in the state. Since 2008 he has taught history at Hillsdale College, where he is also the principal advisor of the Barney Charter School Initiative and is helping set up dozens of classical charter schools. Dr. Moore has written on the topics of school reform, liberal education, and traditional manhood for the Claremont Review of Books, Human Events, The Family in America, and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of The Perfect Game, a novel about real boys growing up in Texas. He lives with his wife and four children in Northeast Indiana.
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This is that book.
It is also an impassioned defense of the liberal arts that would be worth reading even if there were no political urgency to its message. Dr. Moore reminds us why teaching great literature matters -- and why the therapeutic nonsense that passes for literature education today is merely shallow narcissism that fails to inspire and educate.
Heartland Institute Education Research Fellow, 2013 Novak Fellow
I am a busy, working mother of toddlers, and I could hardly put this book down until I finished reading it. As someone who spends hours each week reading and writing about Common Core, this book was a welcome entree into an aspect of it that few, if any, have discussed in such substantive detail. 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.
Dr. Moore both discuses the practical implications of Common Core (what it looks like in the classroom) and the philosophical implications (why what Common Core does in the classroom will deform children and society). But this is not a dry read. It is a shocking read. And, unlike Common Core, it is readable for and interesting to the general public--mothers, fathers, lawmakers, etc. In fact, I would say this book should be mandatory reading for anyone who makes any decisions related to Common Core, whether teachers, administrators, state board of education members, or lawmakers.
The best thing about this book is that is utterly dismantles and shows as evil phrases, approaches, and philosophies that otherwise sound attractive, or at least benign. It quite convincingly reveals that "rigorous national standards" are essentially a cover for either mentally stunted central planners or nefarious social engineers. Read it to find out how--no conspiracy theories or kooky phrases necessary. Just actual analysis and critical thinking, not the fake, dreary stuff Common Core promotes.
I have not been surprised at the conclusions Dr Moore draws from his critique of Common Core's effects: these are the same conclusions that other education critics such as Beverley Eakman and Charlotte Iserbyt have attempted to draw attention to in years past. The difference this time however is that the States have been bribed to accept this undermining of the public school system and now must be forced to give up those federal dollars they accepted for signing on to this unAmerican and child-crippling agenda. This of course they are unwilling to do.
The issue is hard to express for those unused to seeing what a good curriculum looks like-and this puts most parents at a disadvantage in complaining about the dire situation and the harm it does their children. Dr Moore eloquently explains that many of the cultural standards our children learn at home used to be reinforced in the literature they read throughout their educational years. He also points out that the enjoyment of good literature allows children to examine human nature and human interaction from an imaginary perspective which helps them to learn what is acceptable behavior and why. When they are not afforded the opportunity to learn to love reading with exposure to good literature and community standards are not reenforced by literary examples, the culture itself suffers. When 'informational texts' replace the great story, the child will possibly learn to read-but likely not fluently . . .as repetition reenforces skill and enjoyment encourages repetition. And when moral and ethical behavior is not reenforced within the reading materials they are exposed to, those moral and ethical standards are more vulnerable to being twisted into today's self-centered behavior and situational ethics. Good literature teaches and reenforces logical thinking and adult reasoning, encourages altruism and the understanding of others. Why then are we subjecting our children to a curriculum that overtly devalues these critical thinking skills in favor of disjointed and disconnected pieces of dull 'informational texts', government boilerplate and selected New-Age, touchy-feely nonsense? The only logical conclusion one may draw is that the powers-that-control-education wish to create non-thinking, disinterested little worker bees who will unquestioningly do as they are told by some authority figure.
Underlying the surface of this disjointed mess is that the only pieces that seem to fit together into a cohesive pattern is the curriculum-imposed values of a Leftist agenda: nature is more important that humanity, government is the highest form of God and that individuals are helpless to do anything for themselves without complete direction from their 'betters' . . .be they teachers or politicians or figureheads of government. The core principle being taught/indoctrinated here is that "You cant do it yourself" as in "You didnt build that business yourself". Those of us who are old enough to have learned some history when it was still taught (it isnt in any real sense any longer) can clearly see more than the beginning patterns of Hitler Youth-a cult of young, indoctrinated, non-thinking idealists who unquestioningly followed orders to their own destruction.
Read "The Story Killers"! Then, examine your own experiences with propaganda, human nature and government over-reach. You likely will come to the conclusion that Common Core is horribly damaging to your children's future, their happiness and self-confidence and our future as a thinking, self-governing nation. Common Core needs to be hung from the highest tree. And we need to get the Central Planners out of our children's education system!
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