Louis CK and the Common Core

A mommy rant

Comedian Louis CK recently crossed over into mommy-blog territory, lambasting the Common Core State Standards. One good rant begets another as MomSpeaker Shivaun Williams uses his disdain to muse on the impact modern parenting has on education today.

As far as rants go, Louis CK's are the best.

He is a brilliant and funny guy, whose complaints ignite outrage. Because when you're famous, you can rant about anything and people will listen.

Even when people don't fully understand why they, too, should be upset about said topic, they'll not only listen but they'll join the fight.

Whatever. It. Is.

Take, for instance, Louis' recent Twitter attack on the Common Core State Standards, where he shared his frustrations as a parent over these ridiculous nationwide standards and tests. Now, I'm not going to pretend that I'm angry, too, because I'm not. Or am I?

I am a fan of Louis CK. And, as a middle-aged, minivan-driving mom, I  don't necessarily fit into his demographic. Louis, a widely acclaimed comedian and talented writer, is also a guy who tells a lot of off-color jokes (like, a lot). So to hear him pontificate about Common Core State Standards and testing is strange. Not strange because he's complaining but that he has chosen a topic usually left for the mommy-blog set.

CK, a single dad raising his two kids in the New York City Public School System, is upset with the ridiculous questions and pressure that accompany these tests, saying "math (now) makes my kids cry."

So what?

His rant, along with the bandwagon that follows, is a by-product of our overparenting society.

I remember standardized tests. I remember my 8-year-old self, in scratchy knee socks and polyester, filling in tiny circles with a Number 2 pencil; it was hard. It was so hard that after about 12 questions, my focus drifted to the amazing mosaic those circles had formed.

From my recollection, those tests never contained anything we had learned. Ever. So what has changed? Apparently, teachers' jobs now depend on the success or failure of these tests. Which, in turn, translates to pressure on students.

So what?

I'm pretty sure I can recall more than one conversation with my parents about how difficult school was or how hard the standardized tests were. It went something like this:

  • My mom, stirring dinner in a pan, still dressed in her work clothes, uninterested in my complaints.
  • My dad, arriving home just in time to eat dinner and go to bed, even less interested.

And that is the difference.

When did we (today's parents) become so involved in our kids' lives?

As a kid, I would have loved for my parents to care that something was difficult for me. But they didn't. And not because they were bad parents, but because they were busy. They had jobs and stuff. My parents and I were not equal partners in my child-rearing process.  My input was not valued. And it shouldn't have been, because, well I was a kid.

Historically, kids have always been wrong. Those other people like teachers, neighbors and priests were always right. We eventually learned not to give so much trust to those damn priests, but when, exactly, did the kids take over?

These kids, a generation of complainers, raised by parents who have their backs, is a deadly combination. Add to that a whole bunch  of kids who don't know what it's like to suffer through a day of testing and inadvertant mosaics, and there is our future.

Louis CK, in all of his ranting, isn't going to make the Common Core Standards go away. But he is definitely raising awareness. And by "awareness" I totally mean scoring the phone numbers of all the single moms at his school who are more than willing to date him, er, join his crusade.

So what?

  Shivaun Williams is a Bucks County, PA writer and mom of three. This post is adapted from her blog, Dar Liomsa (In My Opinion).  

Categories: MomSpeak