Three Random Thoughts

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By Mike Cronin

I have been holding my criticism of Common Core until I could see for myself how it is being applied to my own children’s education.  It isn’t all that special.  My son is learning multiplication.  He recently asked for my help.  The problem he was working on required him to describe various tools he could use to solve it, such as grids, counters, and number lines.  One tool conspicuously missing from the “kit:” multiplication tables!  How “common” can Common Core be if it eschews the near-universal “tools” taught to previous generations?

The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of gay marriage, essentially granting the right to homosexuals nationwide to wed and enjoy the same legal advantages as heterosexuals, such as designating the spouse as beneficiary for insurance.  In my opinion, homosexuals were seeking the wrong remedy to the wrong injury.  The injury is that for far too long, government has held sway over who could be married to whom, in direct contravention of the concepts of free association and individual rights. It would have been much more proper to argue that the remedy would be for government, at any level, to exercise no purview over the relationships of competent, consenting adults, except in terms of contract enforcement. The quest for nationally-legalized gay marriage was successful…at reinforcing the assumption of a power by the government it was not endowed to by the Constitution.

I recently heard an atheist offer a quip to the effect that if  Creationism (AKA Intelligent Design, or I.D.) becomes a required “theory” to be taught in public school, Evolution should then be a required subject to be preached in church.  I thought that was a neat bit of rhetorical art.  However, as with gay marriage, it would be the wrong remedy for the wrong injury.  The problem isn’t that Creationism/I.D. are religious beliefs disguised as scientific theory, and would therefor constitute a violation of the separation of church and state.  The problem is that we have massive federal interference and oversight (disguised as “support”) for public schools, which ought to be solely the domain of the states. (This may come as a surprise, but there is no power enumerated in the Constitution that gives the federal government any purview over education. The word “education” does not even appear in the Constitution proper.)  Remission of federal control over education would not eliminate the argument over separation of church and state, or of Evolution vs. Creationism/I.D. But it would localize the problem. The states, counties, and school districts would be freer to experiment with curriculum design, and if a family objected to the local curriculum, whether it included Creationism/I.D. or not, they would have more power to influence change or a greater likelihood of finding a curriculum to their liking in a different school system.  And they might have a little more money in their pockets.

Disagree with my reasoning?  Let’s hear it!

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