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  • Al Gore-ithms, SpongeBob, and Global Warming

    In late July, the Department of Education held a reading event as part of it’s “Let’s read! Let’s move!” initiative. During the event, D.C. schoolchildren were given free copies of SpongeBob Goes Green, a book based on the Nickelodeon cartoon SpongeBob SquarePants. According to the publishers:

    SpongeBob decides to speed up the warm weather by pumping carbon dioxide into the environment. Little does SpongeBob know, he’s messing with Mother Nature in a big way and bringing global warming to Bikini Bottom! Soon it’s sweltering hot, and everyone has to pack up and move. Can SpongeBob reverse Global Warming and save the Bikini Bottom? Will he learn his lesson and start respecting Mother Nature?

    SpongeBob SquarePants might “live in a pineapple under the sea,” but he’s giving us an important reminder of why the federal government shouldn’t be involved in school curriculum.

    That’s not a lesson the Department of Education has picked up on, regrettably. Since spring 2009, the Obama Administration has been backing efforts by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to push states to adopt national standards and tests.

    Last week, The Heritage Foundation and the Pioneer Institute of Massachusetts hosted an event outlining the dangers of national standards and tests. Robert Scott, the Texas Commissioner of Education, stressed many of the problems with the push:

    There’s a section [of the proposed standards] called “modeling.” … The only discernable standard I could find was: “The student will be able to use graphs, for example, graphs of Co2 emissions and global temperatures over time.” The joke was “What do we call this class? Do we call it ‘Global Warming Math’?” And the one that stuck was “Al-Gore-ithms.”

    Ze’ev Wurman, an official evaluator for the proposed math standards, remarked that one of their biggest shortcomings was that they do not expect students to take algebra by eighth grade:

    The big problem with the standards—where they really fail—is that prior to them, many of our states tried to emulate what our major competitors do. And they tried to teach, more and more, algebra by grade eight. And that was a push over the last decade; a lot of states made large progress.… The Common Core standards gave up on it, silently. There was no discussion, no public debate. They just said, “We don’t care about it.”

    [The Common Core State Standards] did not build on California. They did not build on Massachusetts or Singapore or Korea or Japan. Some of it came just from these three people, sitting in a back room, and thinking, “What’s doable?”

    Sandra Stotsky of the University of Arkansas said that the standards push is founded on a “seductive argument based on slippery logic”:

    There was no reason to expect them to be much better since many of the same education experts and organizations…that helped to develop those poor to mediocre state standards in math and English language arts also helped the Council of Chief State School Officers to develop Common Core standards. It’s from the same people who had already developed state standards.

    Conversely, Stotsky notes, the two examples of rigorous state standards—California and Massachusetts—were developed by academic experts, not pedagogical experts. None of these academic experts, Stotsky notes, were asked to help craft the Common Core writing standards.

    So if the content leaves much to be desired, why did a majority of states agree to their adoption? Ted Rebarber, CEO of AccountabilityWorks, argued that the Department of Education, which has the third largest discretionary budget in the federal government, “can use that power, when states are economically weakened, to push these standards.”

    But there is still hope. Bill Evers of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University noted that it’s not too late to reverse course. Evers has crafted a manifesto, “Closing the Door on Innovation,” which includes more than 150 signatories arguing against the Common Core.

    For nearly five decades, Washington’s role in education has been growing at a tremendous pace. At the same time, educational achievement has remained flat. By pushing states to adopt national standards and tests to define and measure what every public school child in American should know, the Obama Administration is continuing this federal failure.

    The entire event: National Standards and Tests: An Unprecedented Federal Overreach, can be viewed here.

    A short video on the federal role in education is below:

    Posted in Featured, Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Al Gore-ithms, SpongeBob, and Global Warming

    1. Stirling says:

      Propaganda pushed by the government has been going on since the early 1900's. Most notably done durring wartime to focus the country on a cause (like WWI, WWII, etc). The green movement/ Elites in Education are just using what they know has worked in the past. The insideous part is that our children are now being indoctrinated by this bunk now by popular culture and media.

    2. Pingback: » Al Gore-ithms, SpongeBob, and Global Warming - Heritage.org (blog)

    3. @JimS1 says:

      What is the purpose of education? Why are the taxpayers 'willing' to provide free education to every child? Is it to maximize the child's choices to pursue happiness in a free society? Is it to provide them with the skills they need to find a job or start a business in a local or global economy? Will our graduates have to compete for jobs in a global economy? What will prospective employers use as a guide to help them choose? Have we asked them? what do they say? Are we 16th in math and science out of 30 countries? Is the measurement fair and accurate? If we intend to compete in a global economy perhaps we need some basic national or international standards. The concern you express is indoctrination/brainwashing into ideologies that you either fear or believe false. Those valid fears should not however preclude us from seeking ways to improve our kids chances at competing successfully in a global economy. I submit that with the proper objectives and guidelines to achieve them, we can have national standards. Once we have those standards, then all we need is an education system that can deliver the results we seek. Good luck with that one.

    4. Bobbie says:

      Al gore-ithms – cute title!!!! please don't implement it!!!!!

      why did it come to this? why isn't anyone asking what significance this is compared to factual education necessary??? In a country of freedom, the government isn't suppose to set standards to reflect government? It's hard to believe many American people, but especially the majority in the political arena and POLITICAL LEADERS, have brought themselves, each other and this country as a whole, to such low levels that they think any part of government think better than people, Americans, can think for themselves!! And STEAL FREEDOM!!!

      WHAT THE HECK, PEOPLE!!!!! ESPECIALLY YOU DEMOCRAT POLITICIANS and your followers!! YOU'RE POISONING AMERICA!! THE COUNTRY YOU WERE BORN IN!!!!!! NO ONE ELSE IS WORTHY OF THE AMERICA YOU HAD?????…. capitalism keeps us free. GOVERNMENT KEEPS US DEPENDENT! when's the last time you EVER heard a democrat mention FREEDOM??????? PERSONAL FREEDOM!!!!!! THE NEWS MEDIA DOESN'T EVEN INVESTIGATE WHAT THEY'RE SAYING AND REPORT WITH BIAS!!!! IT'S ALL COSTING US FREEDOM! ADULT TAX PAID FEAR MONGERS! WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR THE BENEFIT OF AMERICA???? WHAT DO THEY DO FOR THE BENEFIT OF AMERICA? They've sickened America! Destroying America's ability to stand what she stood for: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness EVERY life born, is BORN TO!
      I don't believe anyone with a degree since van jones "stole" (my word) his, is legitimate. None of them can live up to it unless it's in social engineering. ALL have identical thinking patterns! Listen to them…not long though!!!

      GET THE LOVERS OF THE EPA AND THEIR FRAUD AND CORRUPTION OUT OF LEADERSHIP!!!!!
      We have to save America!!! what the tea party is ALL ABOUT!!!!! LAND OF THE FREE!! HOME OF THE BRAVE!!!! what democrat would EVER say that and be telling the truth?

    5. TimAz1 says:

      The only way to improve education is to abolish the Department Of Education and return control of education back to its local roots. This is the only way that we can insure that the necessary skills will be taught to our youth that gives them the ability to be self sufficient, instead of allowing our Federal Govt. to create a society that is parasitic and no longer knows how to exist without the host known as government. At what point will the host parish under the increasing hunger of the parasites that it created to ensure its continued existence. In the end the parasite must become self sustaining or parish with the host. Had enough yet?

    6. Gay says:

      'ensure' and 'perish' – That is the worry – the smarter the teacher the smarter the student. Looks like everyone has dumbed down!

    7. Mike, Wichita Falls says:

      Which GOP Presidential candidate will push for the repeal or defunding of the Department of Indoctrination, I mean Education? Add this imbedded one-size-fits-all green agenda to the fact that it is unconstitutional and adding to the deficit.

    8. Gail, Beverly says:

      The only hope is to push for vouchers, charter schools, and eliminating the Dept. of Education.

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