Reading Moore, I have the recurring perception that "real" conservatives, conservatives of the heart, simply have to leave the public schools because the gap between Pearson and a "conservative of the heart" can't be bridged. Not on the ELA side. (I say "Pearson" because the most appalling section of Moore's book is Chapter 7, a lengthy analysis of Pearson's Common Core literature textbook for high school juniors.)
My sense of "liberals of the heart," at least where Pearson is concerned, is much less clear. Any liberal who is well-educated in history or literature would be appalled by The American Experience Common Core Edition, but how many Americans are well-educated in history and literature these days? Certainly not me. If you don't know anything about the Declaration of Independence, you also don't know why it's so wrong to base an entire discussion of the Declaration of Independence on the breezy assertion that when Jefferson wrote "all men are created equal," he really meant all white men are created equal. (I didn't know.)
So I'm guessing that, for many politically liberal parents, textbooks like Pearson's will seem not-completely-horrible, superficially at least.
Then again, Moore's sobriquet for the powers behind Common Core is "the arch testers." He is no slouch in the anti-testing department, which I had heretofore assumed was the province of parents voting for Democrats. And here in New York, of course, the parents who actually are "opting out" are largely left of center (I assume), if only because the population is largely left of center. The gap between liberal and conservative parents looks pretty small to me.
But who knows? I can't get a clear read on the politics of Common Core. But, more importantly, I can't get a read on what is happening inside the institution of public education. All I can come up with is that someone, at some level of decision making, has messed up very badly. Very badly.
Which brings me to the reason I opened up my Blogger window in the first place, which was to post a quote from sociologist Diane Vaughn in the Times video on the Challenger explosion:
"We can never resolve the problem of complexity, but you have to be sensitive to your organization and how it works. While a lot of us work in complex organizations, we don't really realize the way the organizations that we inhabit completely inhabit us.""The way the organizations we inhabit completely inhabit us": Exactly!
Diane Vaunghn (The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA)
Major Malfunction: Revisiting Challenger | New York Times
She could be speaking of Hirsch's thoughtworld:
Why do educators persist in advocating the very artifact, anti-rote-learning, antiverbal practices that have led to poor results--persist in urging them, indeed, even more intensively than before?There it is. There is the explanation for why the Common Core reading standards, in spite of their references to the importance of knowledge, are turning English into social studies.
The basic answer is this: Within the educational community, there is currently no thinkable alternative. Part of essential American educational doctrine has consisted of the disparagement of so-called "traditional" education. The long dominance of antitraditional rhetoric in our teacher-training institutions has ensured that competing, nonprogressive principles are not readily available within their walls. No professor at an American education school is going to advocate pro-rote-learning, profact, or proverbal pedagogy. Since there is only one true belief, expressed in one constantly repeated catechism, the heretical suggestion that the creed itself might be faulty cannot be uttered. To question progressive doctrine would be to put in doubt the identity of the education profession itself. Its foundational premise is that progressive principles are right. Being right, they cannot possibly be the cause of educational ineffectiveness.
In sum, since progressive doctrine cannot be at fault, the only proper cure for our ailing schools is homeopathic "reform," that is, even stronger doses of progressive principles administered even more intensely. E.D. Hirsch
Review of The Challenger Launch Decision by Samudra Vijay