Stephanie Pearce: The American Dream part 1, examining Common Core
January 7, 2015
One of the things that is important to me is keeping the idea of "The American Dream" alive for my descendants. When you know someone who chose to be here, you feel firsthand the passion in which this country was built. Luckily, my children both knew a man who came to this country from Syria, and he taught them the value of this dream. He loved this country and all the opportunity that it holds. I am so afraid that less and less of the values he held dear are being taught to our children today.
The American Dream should not be average. It's not to live in cookie cutter government housing. Nor is it to make the same amount of money as everyone else. It's not to do well in school to go to the same college as everyone and get the same education no matter how well you do. It's not going as far in life as the government will let you. No. The American Dream is to go as far as you can take yourself and leave something behind for your children.
The American Dream has a lot to do with hard work. You do your very best at what you want to do, and the government has little to do with telling you what to do with your profit. My ancestors moved here to make something of themselves. They moved from Ireland where there was no hope of owning property and getting ahead. They were stuck working for others and giving most of their profits to someone else. They came here for that dream and they achieved it. They homesteaded land right here in this valley. They became ranchers and grew families and communities.
Several things make me worry that these ideals are being removed from our society. I watch as we rely more and more on government. We are slowly being taught that pride in our country is a bad thing. Our capitalistic economics are being condemned by Common Core education in our school systems.
I was researching for a lesson on capitalism to teach my daughter, and I came across lesson plans from 2005 for sixth grade Social Studies Colorado Core Writing Unit on Capitalism and Socialism that should take six lessons. The content taught is from the Core Knowledge Sequence. For the first lesson, the teacher is supposed to write on the board, "Would it be better to live in a society where everyone was given a share of profits by the owner of the company, made the same amount of money as everyone else, making all people equal or would it be better to live where you can choose what you want to do, everyone makes different amounts of money and not everyone can afford the same things as everyone else?"
I am not at all upset with the fact that these children are asked to think for themselves, but let's be honest, they don't have enough information to make an informed decision.
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This is a pattern I see continuing into voting age. In a sixth grade mind, I can almost guarantee what they would choose based on the way that was written. By sixth grade, most have taken part in activities where they received a ribbon for just participating. They have been rewarded for being average and been made to feel that winning isn't as important as the act of participating itself. They already have been taught that being average is enough. They have been taught that wanting to be better is selfish, so choosing the society where things aren't equal would be wrong.
As I read more of the lesson plan, it goes on to explain the definitions of capitalism and socialism. In my next columns, I will go into the lesson plans more and present it to you. I will talk about what is missing from these lesson plans to give the students the information to make an informed decision. I will give examples of how these systems work and don't work and give you a reason to not give up on the American dream.