New Criticisms of Common Core Standards: They Cause Brain Damage and May Lead to a National Mob

This is pretty silly.

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Joan Landes is a “clinical mental health therapist” from Utah. She has a master’s degree in counseling, and as far as I can determine, no particular training in neuroscience.

In this video, you will learn that common core causes kids to use emotional words that will harm their brains, that the Columbine and Sandy Hook shootings were related to modern changes in children’s literature, that reading information is not necessary because children can use Google and get facts when they are teens, that Common Core emphasis on emotional words could create an “Arab Spring” (“just takes one trigger and you have a national mob”), and that Common Core will create a generation which is easily manipulated by those in power.

Landes correctly describes Piaget’s stages at one point but does not explain how a child who reasons concretely will be harmed by the Common Core language curriculum. She tries to describe the Asch conformity experiments but gets the results wrong. She then claims Common Core is trashing established psychological research but doesn’t say how. Some of what she laments about schools were true before Common Core came along (e.g., teachers have a great influence over children).

At one point, perhaps realizing how outrageous the claims were getting, the video host suggests that perhaps all of the ills outlined by Landes are not found in the language arts curriculum. Then another woman says that is perhaps true but since the Dept of Education secretary Duncan talks about social justice, the concerns are still warranted.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like a lot of the emphasis on teaching to the test one often sees in schools. However, as I understand Common Core standards, teachers have some flexibility in how they are implemented (I know that is true in my own child’s school). I also think there are some legitimate criticisms of Common Core standards but this video really misuses psychological language and research to generate fear and outrage.

I am not surprised that Landes is appearing with David Barton at anti-Common Core rally in Alabama in January.

 

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