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Friday, March 14, 2014

"With Data on Our Side" (A Retake on Bob Dylan's "With God on Our Side," Written for Charles Barone of DFER, with Apologies)

There was recently a U.S. News "Debate Club" on the Common Core, involving personages such as Michelle Rhee of Students First and Dennis Van Roekel of the N.E.A.  It seem Charles Barone of DFER, an advocate of the Common Core, referred to it as the "Vietnam of educational issues" in some states, due largely, in his opinion, to its botched implementation.  Although I feel the Core has the potential to ruin the education of a generation of Americans if the people do not rise up to oppose it, I thank God that we will not have to see the body bags of patriotic or law-abiding citizens coming home.  I thank God we will not have to see the images of suffering of any innocent peoples abroad.

The Core could be like Vietnam in other ways, however.  More and more parents will opt out, but their children will not run away to Canada and wait for amnesty to return.  Opponents of the Core have mobilized in growing numbers.  Protests will mount, but without flowers being placed in the barrels of guns.  As in Vietnam, it seems the poor and disadvantaged will suffer the most, but there will be no flags draped over coffins; the reformers will send their children to private schools with rich curriculums, freed from many of the dictates of RTTT, the Core and its attendant testing.  I don't know of anything on the scale of secret bombings in Cambodia, but I am sure the Core's money trails and backroom deals smell rancid.  Common Core supporters, themselves, have dubbed its very name as "toxic"; in my opinion, the CCSS tests are harmful to young minds and democracy as a whole, particularly given their methods of implementation, but thank God there is no napalm to incinerate the skin or Agent Orange to exfoliate the jungle at the cost of cancers.

I would not have done a retake on Dylan's song below if Charles Barone had not made the analogy.  Let it be know that although I despise the Core and it may rip at the heart of the nation, I , in no way, liken the crisis in scale, scope or seriousness to Vietnam.  But like Vietnam, the Core ultimately, I believe, is a war that will not be won, and any ground it gains strikes at the heart of American democracy. 
"With Data On Our Side"
Oh my name it is nothin'
My age it means less
The classroom I come from
Is called a big mess
I was taught and "teached" up there
The rules to abide
And the school that I live in
Has Data on its side.

Oh the school report cards tell it
They tell it so well
The young learners prepped
The Special Ed. fell
The young learners prepped
The Special Ed. cried
Oh the classroom was young
With Data on its side.

The English Language Learners,
they had no say
And the Poor Children too
Were soon laid away
And the names in review books
They were made to memorize
With pencils at hand
And Data on their side.

The First Common Core, boys
It came and it went
The reason for testing
I never did get
But I learned to accept it
Accept it with pride
For you don't count the failed
When Data's on your side.

When the Second Common Core
Came to an end
We forgave the Pearson's
And then we were friends
Though they failed some millions
Oh, the tests they obliged
The Pearson's now too
Have Data on their side.

I've learned to fear Bill Gates
All through my whole life
If another Core comes
It's him we must fight
To fear him and stop him
To run and to hide
And accept it all bravely
With Data on my side.

But now we got test prep
Of the computer stuff
If use them we're forced to
Then use them we must
One push of the button
'Cause a machine's never lied
And you never ask questions
When Data's on your side.

In a many dark hour
I've been thinkin' about this
That Jesus Christ
Was betrayed by a kiss
But I can't think for you
You'll have to decide
Whether Judas Iscariot
Had Data on his side.

So now as I'm leavin'
I'm weary as Hell
The confusion I'm feelin'
Ain't no tongue can tell
The words fill my head
And fall to the floor
If Data's on our side
It'll stop the next Core.

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