A clever meme for the day pointing out the corporate support for the Common Core State Standards Initiative comes by way of twitter.


alfie kohn

The BGUTI reference in the tweet is from the linked article and means ‘Better Get Used to It’.  This was written in 2005 before the advent of Common Core State Standards. You may disagree with some of Kohn’s premises but pay attention to his definition of BGUTI:

In addition to forcing educators to teach too much too early, the current Tougher Standards craze has likewise emphasized a vertical rationale – in part because of its reliance on testing.  Here, too, we find that “getting them ready” is sufficient reason for doing what would otherwise be seen as unreasonable.   Child development experts are nearly unanimous in denouncing the use of standardized testing with young children.  One Iowa principal conceded that many teachers, too, consider it “insane” to subject first graders to a 4½-hour test.  However, she adds, “they need to get used to it” – an imperative that trumps all objections.  In fact, why wait until first grade?  A principal in California uses the identical phrase to justify testing kindergarteners:  “Our philosophy is, the sooner we start giving these students tests like the Stanford 9, the sooner they’ll get used to it.”

Kohn wonders if education reform in 2005 is ‘conservatism masquerading as realism’. I wonder if it can be expanded in 2014 since this reform is supported by an administration never described as conservative. Education reform circa 2014 is about Return on Investment.  Could it now be named ‘grooming human capital for the workforce masquerading as education reform’?  Do the various education suppliers even care what is being taught?  Or are they just enjoying the fruits of the system put in place for the privatization/standardization of public education?

Does BGUTI in education reform circa 2014 encompass a non-partisan definition that is uttered at those questioning CCSSI?  Is it that whoever owns the power and control doesn’t owe you any explanation?  From EdWeek September 2005 and Getting Hit on the Head Lessons: Justifying Bad Educational Practices as Preparation for More of the Same:

Finally, there is a remarkable callousness lurking just under the surface here:  Your objections don’t count, your unhappiness doesn’t matter.  Suck it up.  The people who talk this way are usually on top, issuing directives, not on the bottom being directed.  “Learn to live with it because there’s more coming later” can be rationalized as being in the best interests of those on the receiving end, but it may just mean “Do it because I said so” and thereby cement the power of those offering this advice.

If a practice can’t be justified on its own terms, then the task for children and adults alike isn’t to get used to it, but to question, to challenge, and, if necessary, to resist.

The teachers and administrators who are supportive of the Common Core are actually on not top.  They are on the bottom being directed from NGO issued directives.  They are parroting the “do it because I say so” and are cementing the power of the NGOs for scripts and data gathering in the quest for ROI.  Is this Common Core critical thinking they are modeling for students and parents?

Common Core cannot be justified on its own terms.  Reject the BGUTI mentality governors, State Education Agencies, State Boards of Education, administrators and teachers tell you is necessary.  Refuse to be marginalized.  Your objections DO count, your unhappiness DOES matter. YOU are paying for this top down reform in which the NGOs are not held accountable.  Stop sucking it up from the organizations and people who tell you this drivel.  Challenge the Common Core State Standards Initiative and resist.  It’s time to open up a different bottle of shampoo.


published August 12, 2014




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