Tag Archives: history

How well do you understand the Constitution?

As I began investigating issues associated with high-stakes testing and Common Core back in 2012/2013, I realized that I was woefully uninformed about many aspects of the history and governance of the United States of America.  I learned some stuff back in high school but had forgotten most of it.  I believe that many of the educational problems we face today are firmly intertwined with governmental policies and social/political agendas so it is vitally important that those who are concerned about the education of our children be informed and involved in what is going on in government and politics.

Understanding the Constitution of the United States, the document on which the governance of our great nation is based, is vitally important.

I love what this young man Matthew Schrunk has to say and his passion for both the Constitution and the United States of America.

Dr. Carson,

After reading the first chapter of your new book, A More Perfect Union, I came to the conclusion that We The People need to better educate ourselves and others about the constitution for 4 reasons:

  1. It was specifically written for us, the citizens of the United States of America.
  2. Ignorance is not bliss. When we are uninformed about our constitution, how can it benefit us?
  3. Constitutional “scholars/experts” are distorting the constitution’s words and purpose.
  4. Freedom is not free. If we want our children’s children to be free, we must learn how to make it happen. The constitution was written for our freedom; it may not be a bad place to start.

I love how Matthew is so excited by what he has read that he wants to share it with others.  In my opinion he is the kind of student who is ‘college-and-career ready’, ready to face life after school, be a productive citizen and participate in the governance of America.

If Common Core is producing graduates like Matthew Schrunk, then it is working.  If not, it is failing.


A New Paradigm For Accountability

Those who are proponents of Common Core often argue that we can not get rid of it because “what would we do instead?”

I have heard a number of good suggestions and this one particularly caught my imagination today so I would like to share Diane Ravitch’s suggestion with you.

She begins with a quick explanation of what utter failures No Child Left Behind and Race To The Top have been (click here if you wish to read about the failures) but then moves to imagining how things could be with this new accountability system.

I have an idea for a new accountability system that relies on different metrics. We begin by dropping standardized test scores as measures of quality or effectiveness. We stop labeling, ranking, and rating children, teachers, snd schools. We use tests only when needed for diagnostic purposes, not for comparing children to their peers, not to find winners and losers. We rely on teachers to test their students, not corporations.

The new accountability system would be called No Child Left Out. The measures would be these:

How many children had the opportunity to learn to play a musical instrument?

How many children had the chance to play in the school band or orchestra?

How many children participated in singing, either individually or in the chorus or a glee club or other group?

How many public performances did the school offer?

How many children participated in dramatics?

How many children produced documentaries or videos?

How many children engaged in science experiments? How many started a project in science and completed it?

How many children learned robotics?

How many children wrote stories of more than five pages, whether fiction or nonfiction?

How often did children have the chance to draw, paint, make videos, or sculpt?

How many children wrote poetry? Short stories? Novels? History research papers?

How many children performed service in their community to help others?

How many children were encouraged to design an invention or to redesign a common item?

How many students wrote research papers on historical topics?

Can you imagine an accountability system whose purpose is to encourage and recognize creativity, imagination, originality, and innovation? Isn’t this what we need more of?

Well, you can make up your own metrics, but you get the idea. Setting expectations in the arts, in literature, in science, in history, and in civics can change the nature of schooling. It would require far more work and self-discipline than test prep for a test that is soon forgotten.

My paradigm would dramatically change schools from Gradgrind academies to halls of joy and inspiration, where creativity, self-discipline, and inspiration are nurtured, honored, and valued.

– from “My New Paradigm For Accountability”, Diane Ravitch’s blog, November 12, 2014

The thought of this new system makes me want to dance – I can just imagine the joy and excitement that would fill the school halls!  What do you think?  Would your student be excited to attend a school using this accountability system?

Education transform