Ali Baba Babble and Common Core
by Denis Ian
“Open sesame” is that mystical phrase from “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” It unlocks the cave sanctuary where all of the treasure is secured. But, in light of Common Core, “open sesame” has unleashed a deluge of questionable educationalists who see this moment as an opportunity to pile up their extremist treasures under the guise of Common Core — and they seem to have been largely successful. Common Core, at the moment, is bad stuff. But it has the potential to become extremely bad stuff. For months, in post after post and article after article, the great debate has been about various lessons and approaches that have emerged. Are they or are they not Common Core sanctioned? I used to think that was a valid question. Not anymore.
The very sponsors of Common Core hardly seem to mind these curriculum excursions into their absurdity, such as rewriting American history to coalesce with the current “PC” mindset. They seem barely ruffled by eye-popping, stomach-churning developments in sex education — for the littlest of students — who are now exposed to startling information and vividly detailed sexual escapades, all under the guise of “healthy living.”
The Common Core oligarchs seem somewhat soothed by the politically charged alterations to historical documents and events, provided they tumble to the left of center. In short, Common Core’s whoop seems to be “open sesame” — everything and anything is up for “reform.”
Anyone and everyone seems welcomed in the Common Core tent of the macabre. If you’re up for skewering America and its history, hop on board. If you’re inclined toward seedy sexual stuff, welcome home! If you’re in favor of disrupting and disturbing a particular activity like coal or petroleum production or sanctifying every tree and bog and swamp, then there’s a slot for you in the Common Core mayhem. Itching for a fight about who should control nutrition for kids? You’re welcome aboard. Cranky about tenure or teacher sovereignty in the classroom? All aboard. It seems anyone with a beef gets a plate at the Common Core buffet of all-you-can-eat nonsense.
Got beefs? Maybe against the military or the Tea Party? Scribble out a unit or a lesson package. You’re in. Got a hang-up about climate change or homosexual marriages? Fire away. Got a bug up your nose about Christianity or religion in general? Just punch out a screed about fanatics and zealots and it’ll find it’s way into Common Core.
The point? Common Core has given educational cover for a slender minority to pollute the actual education environment with any issue whatsoever, and it seems to give those issues — no matter how hare-brained or offensive — a certain legitimacy. Common Core has become the new “open sesame” because, by its very nature, it suggests that what is, is not acceptable. America must be altered, changed, renovated, rejuvenated, redirected, and most especially, cured. But only if those cures pass a certain muster.
Esteemed historical figures are pilloried at the politically correct whipping post. Historical documents — which were foundational to this nation for centuries — are now seen as attic junk to be recycled according to the “New Nonsense” of the day.
This is no time to hail this nation. Nope. It needs to be shamed. Made to appear as sinful as any other on the planet. It’s time to excoriate those blasphemers who think this is an exceptional nation based on a unique set of principles because, well, it makes us stand out a bit too much from the rest of the miserable world. And we can’t have that. No, siree. We’re even cajoled to empathize with the new medievalists, currently on a head-collecting mission in the sands of the Middle East, who will one day rocket us into a modern armageddon of real life-or-death preservation. It now seems wiser to “understand” our enemies than to even question them — to search for the vomit-inducing “root cause” of their bloody neo-medievalism.
Ever think we might be playing with a modern Ali Baba who isn’t so randy and dandy as the fictional one of yesteryear? I think not.
In schools today, Christianity is viewed as a dangerous cult, personal responsibility has been replaced by an all-knowing, all-soothing government, and espousing contrarian points of view will get you tattooed as a racist, a xenophobe, a homophobe, a sexist, a capitalist-pig, a Neanderthal — or a dastardly conservative.
Common Core has opened the flood-gates for every miscreant with a special beef to step forward and set the record unstraight, because that is part and parcel of the New Nonsense. Ali Baba had his forty thieves, but Common Core has its horde of intellectuals who are determined to retool this nation into a supplicating, values-free, nonjudgmental mess. A nation like all of the others who feed off miserableness and are hellbent on cultivating it.
It’s time we slammed the door on Common Core. For good.
Denis Ian is a retired secondary teacher from New York. He taught social studies for nearly 34 years in a well-respected public school district and was involved in numerous reforms and educational innovations during his career. He’s now devoted to the anti-Common Core movement and contributes to many blogs across the nation.