The Anti-Common Core Crowd Want to Take You on a Guilt Trip

Screenshot 2014-02-13 at 2.30.52 PMNo thanks, please unpack my bags and refund my ticket, I have no interest in going down that path with you.

Maybe it’s because my plaintive cries of “You are ruining my life” failed to appropriately guilt trip my parents when I was a kid and therefore I became a sociopath that stopped caring about the emotions of others.

Or maybe it’s just because blaming Common Core for a child being frustrated with a couple of math problems is so insane that it barely takes scrutiny to dismiss.

Sure, I feel terrible for the girl in the picture. I have an abundance of empathy because I was a high achieving child in my K-12 years (let’s just not discuss that college thing ‘kay?), this was long before Common Core by the way, and I remember having some very vocal and tearful breakdowns at the kitchen table over my homework, whether I was in public school, private, or home school at the time. Math was always an especially difficult subject for me (still is, I never really had a good math teacher) and I got frustrated easily. I could solve every problem but one and that one would give me a breakdown.

Crying, hyperventilating, and generally feeling like an idiot (even though I was near the top of my class) all over a couple of homework problems is not a feeling I’m unfamiliar with.

It’s not Common Core that causes that.

Of course Common Core may be part of the problem, but not in the way anti-common core proponents are saying. Common Core is putting a set of standards into schools that are, generally speaking, higher than the standards that were in previous use. This creates a certain amount of adjustment and a learning curve for students who were previously having no problem in their classes. This can be hugely stressful for students, but that doesn’t make the standards evil or bad policy…it just means there are going to be growing pains.

Based on my own experiences I can tell that bright children are often the hardest on themselves when they fail at a task. I was always a good student and picked up skills and lessons easily, which meant that on the few times when I failed to do so I felt like a complete incompetent.

“I’m good at everything else, why am I so bad at this? I must be stupid!”

It’s not rational by any stretch of the imagination, but 7 year olds generally aren’t.

But the blame being put on Common Core is not even the biggest problem I have with this. While I disagree with Tara Davis that Common Core is bad for students, she has every right to put that blame there if she chooses. I might argue the point with her, but she can say what she wants.

My main issue with this is the Guilt Trip Brigade of anti-Common Core folks who are trotting this picture out in an effort to change my mind using emotional pleading.

That’s a tactic that only does one thing to an analytically minded person like myself.

It pisses me off.

I’m sorry that you’ve yet to find a rational argument that can convince me that I’m wrong and you are right about Common Core, but trying to commit emotional blackmail with pictures of crying children is so intellectually dishonest and ethically bankrupt that I nearly threw up.

You are trotting out the face of an upset child and making her the poster child for your agenda, without any rational explanation as to why Common Core is at fault or any proof that you are right about the policy.

And if you think I’m not right about that, then all you have to do is read the twitchy article I found this picture in.

There are many reasonable and logical arguments that capture why Common Core is an intrusive disaster. Sometimes, however, those arguments aren’t needed. All it takes is one photo to sum up the heartbreaking impact of Common Core.


If you can’t convince me with your “reasonable” and “logical” arguments you are going to tug on my heartstrings until I agree with you?

How is that a good way to make or change policy? As much as I hate to bring politics into this, it’s especially annoying to have this sort of argument thrown at me from a supposedly conservative twitter aggregating site like Twitchy, because using emotional pleas and blackmail is a patented liberal tactic for getting their agenda passed without a lot of analytical thinking going on.

“You made this girl cry by supporting Common Core, you monster!” sounds pretty similar to “You are killing people who have cancer because you don’t support Obamacare, you monster!” to me.



  1. Hello, I don’t know about other aspects of the cirriculum, but yes, mathematics in Common Core absolutely sucks. Well, math has sucked hard for the last couple of decades primarily because it has become all about greater and greater ever meaningless “steps” in contrived blowhard hard formulas that nobody gives an ef about. The quickest, simplest steps are best. What is needed is rote and critical thinking inthe early years and basis balance a checkbook and economics. Rinse, lather, repeat. The more exotic stuff should be for the eggheads and shyster con men.

  2. I think if education was tailored more to the individual rather than making individuals mold to a system (which can be painful and sometimes impossible), we’d be better off. Really, learning should be a joy on a general basis, and frustrating at worst. Children shouldn’t have to go to school with a bad feeling in the pit of their stomach because they don’t understand the material.
    People learn in different ways, and to force everyone to learn the same way is asking for trouble :p

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