Target: Louis C.K., comedian
Goal: Applaud his outspoken criticism of flawed and highly controversial education polices via social media
Public education in America faces challenges far beyond the endless rounds of funding cuts hitting schools across the nation. Policies focused more on increased testing than on proven methods are a real threat to the quality of children’s learning–policies like the nationally implemented Common Core standards. Comedian Louis C.K. has criticized Common Core via his popular Twitter feed. In the process he helped dramatically shift the debate.
Louis C.K. spoke out to his 3.3 million Twitter followers about his daughters’ struggles in New York’s public schools where Common Core standards are the norm. In late April he said, “My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!” In May he Tweeted that “Teachers are underpaid. They teach for the love of it. Let them find the good in cc without the testing guns to their and our kids heads.” He was referring to the way Common Core benefits software developers like Bill Gates, who has spent a small fortune helping shape the standards, and publishers like Pearson which receive millions in tax dollars for administering the tests. Yet Common Core does not reflect experts’ understanding of the ways children learn best.
Advocates of the national standards have attempted to paint all who criticize them as conspiracy theorists and extremists. Help raise awareness about the failure of Common Core and applaud Louis C.K. for using his celebrity status to shift the debate about education policies in the United States.
Dear Louis C.K.,
To hear advocates like Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spin it, Common Core standards are the magic bullet that will save our struggling public schools. When you turned to your Twitter feed to vent frustrations over the flawed policies you helped counter their carefully crafted message. As a parent of children in public school you have personal experience with Common Core, and as a celebrity with 3.3 million Twitter followers you have captive audience. You used this platform to raise awareness about the reality of Common Core.
The standards were implemented hastily and they contradict decades of research about how children actually learn. Teachers are forbidden from discussing the tests’ contents, or even from talking with students about the questions they get wrong. Journalist Diane Ravitch has made note of advocates’ “orchestrated campaign to ignore, ridicule, and demean any critics” of Common Core standards. You received a great deal of criticism yourself after speaking out on your Twitter feed.
But you did speak out, bravely and unapologetically. You helped raise awareness and shift the national debate about education policy. This is desperately needed if we are to improve the quality of public education in America. On behalf of students, teachers, parents and their supporters everywhere, thank you.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Spc. Elayseah Woodard-Hinton via U.S. Army