About 10 years ago (ancient times) there was a song on the radio from a sensitive hipster band. One of the song’s plaintive rhymes described “Catholic schoooool, as vicious as Roman ruuule.” The singer described a lady in black, hitting his knuckles, asserting that “fear is the heart of love.” From the first I heard it, I was perplexed. This individual couldn't be much older than I; unless parochial schools vary in a radical fashion, I couldn’t help but wonder whether the lines sprang from some retro-minded muse, rather than life.
At least a dozen states are now delaying or rethinking their implementation of the new Common Core educational standards, as opposition from parents and teachers grows. No wonder: Initially, teachers thought Common Core was just another educational fad destined to soon be replaced by the next new idea. But they've found instead that Common Core is an educational track that parallels the Obamacare: both are designed to “fundamentally transform” America, both were conjured up out of audacious incompetence, both are products of ideological thinking rather than experience and common sense, and both are guaranteed to produce disastrous consequences.
IN HIS 1951 book God and Man at Yale, the document that, to simplify only a little, launched the conservative movement, William F. Buckley, Jr. lamented what he later called “the phenomenon of the somnolent college trustee.” Looking back in 2007, Buckley concluded that little had changed in the intervening 56 years. “Mostly, the college establishment is regnant,” he wrote. “Trustees are expected to be affable creatures, preferably rich and generous. They are not expected to weigh in on college affairs, which are adequately handled by presidents, provosts, deans, and lesser administrative folk.”
Each semester, The American Spectator holds its college essay contest, an opportunity for undergraduates to show their writing skills and sound off on a pressing issue. Our most recent topic, “The pros and cons of binge drinking,” elicited this essay by an up-and-coming student from Hillsdale College.