Look, I like the intent. But, this is a fail from the start. It’s short-sighted and frankly, it’s stupid.
A Tennessee lawmaker is pushing a controversial new bill that would tie welfare benefits to students’ performance in school.
Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield last week introduced the legislation, which calls for the state to cut welfare benefits to parents whose kids don’t do well in class.
Currently, parents of children who receive welfare benefits through the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program can see their benefits cut by 20 percent if their child doesn’t show up for school. Campfield’s proposal goes a step further and requires students make “satisfactory academic progress.”
“Satisfactory academic progress” would be measured based on whether a student is advancing through grade levels and how they do on standardized testing.
But state Senate Democratic Leader Jim Kyle told the Knoxville News Sentinel that the bill would “stack the deck against at-risk children.”
Yes, the benefits of a child progressing through school isn’t controversial. And, there is a cycle of stupid which has been clearly identified in generational welfare recipients. I would say, this is more of a lifestyle choice than anything else. And the Dem senator Kyle is wrong. It wouldn’t stack the deck against at-risk children. We never allow that to happen in the name of equal outcome.
However, this law fails to address a couple of realities. One of which very few like to discuss. And, that is that all people are born with a certain capacitance for learning. I won’t go into the nature/nurture thing, but it is what it is. Not everyone, regardless of the nurturing given will be able to understand the principles necessary for advanced mathematics, or, advanced anything. Some people simply don’t possess the ability. Sure, there are different lines of aptitude, but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’ll answer Campfield with a question. Given what I’ve just shared, what is the inevitable consequence of such a law? I’ll answer my own question. We’ll just lower the standards. Just like we’ve been doing for the past several decades. If it turned out that little Johnny welfare recipient couldn’t keep up, we’d simply lower it for everyone, and in turn adversely affect children with a higher capacitance for learning.
We are, BTW, engaged in lowering our standards, which are already woefully low. Apparently, 1/3 of our 4th graders are functionally illiterate. Michelle Malkin has recently written a couple of articles about the Obama administration instituting “Common Core” standards. Here and here. I haven’t had a chance to vet the information but, Malkin usually does a great job in such. Some excerpts…….
While Common Core promoters assert their standards are “internationally benchmarked,” independent members of the expert panel in charge of validating the standards refute the claim. Panel member Dr. Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas reported, “No material was ever provided to the Validation Committee or to the public on the specific college readiness expectations of other leading nations in mathematics” or other subjects.
In fact, Stanford University professor James Milgram, the only mathematician on the validation panel, concluded that the Common Core math scheme would place American students two years behind their peers in other high-achieving countries. In protest, Milgram refused to sign off on the standards. He’s not alone…..
Under Common Core, as the American Principles Project and Pioneer Institute point out, algebra I instruction is pushed to 9th grade, instead of 8th grade, as commonly taught. Division is postponed from 5th to 6th grade. Prime factorization, common denominators, conversions of fractions and decimals, and algebraic manipulation are de-emphasized or eschewed. Traditional Euclidean geometry is replaced with an experimental approach that had not been previously pilot-tested in the U.S.
I weep for our future.
Ze’ev Wurman, a prominent software architect, electrical engineer and longtime math advisory expert in California and Washington, D.C., points out that Common Core delays proficiency with addition and subtraction until 4th grade and proficiency with basic multiplication until 5th grade, and skimps on logarithms, mathematical induction, parametric equations and trigonometry at the high school level.
As literature professors, writers, humanities scholars, secondary educators and parents have warned over the past three years, the new achievement goals actually set American students back by de-emphasizing great literary works for “informational texts.” Challenging students to digest and dissect difficult poems and novels is becoming passe. Utilitarianism uber alles.
English professor Mary Grabar describes Common Core training exercises that tell teachers “to read Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address without emotion and without providing any historical context. Common Core reduces all ‘texts’ to one level: the Gettysburg Address to the EPA’s Recommended Levels of Insulation.”
The person who came up with that idea needs to literally be taken out and horse whipped.
Deconstructionism, of course, is the faddish leftwing school of thought popularized by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in the 1970s. Writer Robert Locke described the nihilistic movement best: “It is based on the proposition that the apparently real world is in fact a vast social construct and that the way to knowledge lies in taking apart in one’s mind this thing society has built. Taken to its logical conclusion, it supposes that there is at the end of the day no actual reality, just a series of appearances stitched together by social constructs into what we all agree to call reality.”