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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Alien Educational Practices: A View From Far, Far Away

Editor's Note: This is a translation of a report submitted by Alkar, Educational Anthropologist, for review by the Planet-Wide Council of Educators on Rakosa V after his return from Sol III (locally known as Earth). His mission: "Analysis of the Process of Educational Reform as Exemplified by What is Named 'Common Core.'"

An Illogical People

The Earthlings of the region called the United States of America are truly fascinating. As you well know, I have never thoroughly enjoyed spending time with humans. I find their illogic a constant irritant. They educate their young by changing whatever they've been doing, replacing it with something new every few years, without ever fully researching and analyzing whether what they've been doing or whatever the new thing is has merit. They just replace it.

They appear to always replace it with something that their executive leaders get very excited about, some new approach. And the people who use this, called teachers, disagree and shake their heads in disbelief, but most eventually just do it, because that's what they’ve learned to do. They also appear to be very good at adaptation, but not very good at effective questioning or resistance.

What's most interesting is how the local leaders eventually get excited about the new innovation, too, without ever knowing whether what they're getting excited about has more merit than what they have done previously.

It is also clear that those people they call "policy makers" appear to do much better at providing answers than at defining problems. I would call their approach "solutions in search of problems."

Bishnork (The Guinea Pig Phenomenon)

It is curious too that the new and exciting thing has never been fully tested to see if it is an improvement over the prior reforms that have also never been fully tested. Evidently, those who it is supposed to help, called students, are bishnork, or what humans call "guinea pigs" or "lab rats," in what is essentially an experiment. But it's an experiment for which everyone seems to be singing what we call "Hoseichia" and they call "Hallelujah," though they sing this praise without any clearly logical reason.

It is also strange and illogical to me that, although these people appear to believe in what they call democracy, with all members of the society having a voice in everything, these changes aren't determined that way. Certainly anything coming from the brains of the students are not included, but then neither are the brain emissions of those who gave birth to them, nor of the teachers. It isn't clear whether those who lead the teachers, called administrators, really like the new reform, or whether they just adapt to it, as they always have, and eventually sing its praises, because that's what they're paid to do. It's enough to make my heads throb!

Common Core, Their Latest "Great Innovation"

And now they have a new reform called "Common Core." It is sweeping the whole United States of America. There are dissenters, but their voices are barely audible in the midst of the mass implementation of this so-called "great innovation."

I am unable to determine whether this Common Core has merit. It may. But what strikes me as most interesting is the way in which it is being implemented everywhere without anyone having any reliable evidence that it does have merit. What is curious to me is the way in which it's been designed and implemented and how much the participants have apparently accepted it in a way that we would find truly mindless.

Most of these Earthlings are people we would consider well meaning. They appear to truly want to help their young. Many appear to be intelligent, by their standards. I am particularly impressed by the way most of the teachers work hard and care about their students.

No Reason to Return

So it saddens me to see how far they have to go in developing some intelligent way of improving what they are doing. They always seem to work hard to obtain something that they then decide they do not want. Illogical. They haven't yet developed good habits of thought when it comes to educating their young. I do wish we could intervene in some way, although it is not clear to me that their "policy makers" would listen to us.

I believe that it would be gorocknik, or what humans call "useless," to revisit this planet in the future for the purpose of observing the newest reforms. I have seen enough.

Respectfully submitted by Alkar

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