Viewpoint: Common Core doesn’t go far enough

By Lucas Carpenter The ongoing controversy surrounding the Common Core standards covers a wide spectrum, ranging from objections to mass testing to concerns about the difficulty of the standards, not to mention the Tea Party conviction that the Common Core is a socialist edict from a satanic federal government, even though the federal government had nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of the standards or their implementation. Most disturbing, however, are the objections directed at the critical thinking component of the proposed standards. What distinguishes the Common Core from other efforts at curricular reform is its emphasis on critical thinking and analysis rather than on rote memorization of formulas and facts. But the term “critical thinking” has evoked the ire of arch-conservatives, perhaps best exemplified by the Texas GOP’s condemnation of it in their party platform because it might challenge a student’s religious beliefs. The real problem, however, is that the Common Core doesn’t go far enough in its emphasis on critical thinking and thus misses a valuable opportunity to clearly define the relationship between organized religion and public education. The Common Core focus on critical thinking centers on the use of reason, appropriate evidence, and the scientific method. Since all religion by its very nature derives from the supernatural, religious beliefs can never serve as the basis of a well-reasoned argument or of the scientific method. In short, “the Bible says” can never be regarded as valid evidence in the judicious application of reason. For example, if we consider murder to be wrong, it is not because the Bible says so or that life is “sacred,” it is because society functions better if murder is not permitted, a fact amply supported both by common sense and by evidence from the social sciences. Read the entire article here:

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