Friday, October 4, 2013

A Minor Musing On Jim Bolin's Decision To Concentrate On Opposing Common Core

I'm a day late with this, but I wanted to muse a bit about Jim Bolin's decision to abandon his bid to be elected Commissioner of School and Public Lands in order to concentrate on opposing Common Core implementation.

Jim is both honest and passionate, so I take him at his word when he says he "put aside personal desires for political advancement [to] instead concentrate on matters of greater lasting impact."

As one who has concerns about the Core, I welcome Bolin's engagement on the issue. That said, this new campaign seems quixotic.

First, the bureaucrats know that that they can quiet the populace by instituting the same standards under a new name. Perhaps they will be called the "Mundane Marrow Standards" that have been designed to help students get the meat of education and more. (Apparently all standards must now be alliterative.)

Second, whatever citizens think about their local schools, they all agree that education needs to be "reformed." It matters little if the reforms being considered have been developed by testing companies and billionaires instead of education experts. People like reform even if it's merely for the sake of reform.

Third, some of the Core opponents are too fond of recycling their "The UN is coming!  The UN is coming!" chants. Jim is a conservative of the Russel Kirk tradition. Many of the anti-Core folk claim conservative credentials, but they are imprudent and demand a cloying uniformity. Further, they may possess the conservative distrust of government, but they give too free of a rein to passion.

Finally, I remain convinced that the Core will be replaced in four or five years so that textbook publishers and testing companies can sell new textbooks and tests. If the Core is stopped in 2013, it will be instituted in the new textbooks and tests in 2017.

Even with these concerns, I am reminded of a Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode "All Good Things . . ." Captain Picard was passing through various possible futures and landed on a ship captained by Beverly Crusher Picard, who in this particular timeline was Picard's ex-wife. During the episode, Crusher Picard says, ". . .he's Jean-Luc Picard, and if he wants to go on one more mission, that's what we're going to do.

Jim Bolin spent a lot of years being a great educator. If he wants to go on one last campaign to prevent educrats, bureaucrats, and billionaires from doing more harm than good, then I wish him well.


Dean Johnson said...

You hit the target when you referred to textbook publishers but you should also incude testing companies. They also make big bucks every time there is a change.

Kal Lis said...

Thanks for stopping by Dean. You're right, testing companies are equally to blame. In my defense, Pearson is both a testing company and a textbook publisher.