This One Goes to 11

Is it possible for one disastrous gaffe to recall 1984 by George Orwell, along with Spinal Tap, that classic “mockumentary,” and Chevy Chase on Saturday Night Live? Like Nigel Tufnel’s Marshall amplifier, this one goes to 11:


Quick: what’s 3 x 4?

If you said 11 — or, hell, if you said 7, pi, or infinity squared — that’s just fine under the Common Core, the new national curriculum that the Obama administration will impose on American public school students this fall.

In a pretty amazing YouTube video, Amanda August, a curriculum coordinator in a suburb of Chicago called Grayslake, explains that getting the right answer in math just doesn’t matter as long as kids can explain the necessarily faulty reasoning they used to get to that wrong answer.

“Even if they said, ’3 x 4 was 11,’ if they were able to explain their reasoning and explain how they came up with their answer really in, umm, words and oral explanation, and they showed it in the picture but they just got the final number wrong, we’re really more focused on the how,” August says in the video.

No, really:

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In Orwell’s 1984, Winston Smith observed:

He picked up the children’s history book and looked at the portrait of Big Brother which formed its frontispiece. The hypnotic eyes gazed into his own. It was as though some huge force were pressing down upon you — something that penetrated inside your skull, battering against your brain, frightening you out of your beliefs, persuading you, almost, to deny the evidence of your senses. In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy. The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable what then?


Though of course, a repeated unfamiliarity with basic concepts of mathematics explains volumes about the current administration:

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Earlier: The Zero-Sum Game of the Education Curriculum.

And don’t miss Paul Mirengoff of Power Line: “Nothing illustrates the bankruptcy of the modern civil rights movement more starkly than its war against school disciplinary standards.” Read the whole thing.™


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