“Building the Machine”: a documentary about Common Core

The intense 39-minute documentary “Building the Machine” was released for Web viewing yesterday. It reveals the sneaky history of how the standards came to be. It is a compelling essay against the adoption of the Common Core standards nationwide. I only wish it were longer and in greater depth (Note: a 70-minute DVD set will be on sale July 15 2014).

Some of the most compelling arguments from this video include:

  • The Common Core standards are a reckless experiment with our children on a national level.
  • The standards were created and rolled out without any kind of democratic or transparent process. No media attention shed light upon them until most states had already adopted them. While many states began to incorporate the standards under Federal financial pressure since 2011, most everyday citizens did not hear about them until last year (2013).
  • There is no evidence that the standards are research-driven.
  • There is no evidence that the standards are “internationally bench marked”.
  • The standards claim to prepare students to be both career-ready and college-ready by graduation; it is impossible to do both for all children, so the resulting expectation is the lowest-common denominator.
  • The standards are “dumbed down” by two grade levels by the time children reach 12th grade.
  • On the other hand, the standards accelerate material at the younger grades (such as kindergarten) which is age-inappropriate.
  • Compulsory schooling was built upon the Prussian education model for generating obedient, factory-ready, human resources. It was not intended to develop individuals with the ability to think critically and innovate. Each exhilarating school reform in the past 100+ years has further commoditized our children. The Common Core standards continue to homogenize our children in an environment of fear, procedure, and state control.

(Click through to view the video.)

Parental involvement is critical to our children succeeding in school. But we shouldn’t be put in the position of fighting against a system designed to strip our children of their love of learning and their architecture of their individual paths.

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