Review of Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core and Public Education

Authors: Glenn Beck and Kyle Olson

Publisher: Mercury Radio Arts, 2014

Let me start by saying that I felt my money was wasted on Common Sense. I am not an uncritical supporter of right-wing politics, and recognize the difficulty in separating rhetoric from reality in many of the right-wing works of this age.

With that said, I suggest that works like this should be celebrated for exposing the hypocrisy of the educational system as currently constructed. I have been tutoring kids in Los Angeles for the last several years and have found the system so corrupt and so ineffective that it has made me vote with my feet–I am leaving for Arizona. I have seen math teachers who do not know math, English teachers who have no clue how to write, and history teachers who know no history. And rarely have I seen teachers who DO know how to teach, especially in the subjects for which they are employed. I was disgusted with the sales and income tax increases that poured money into the state’s education system–at the time I said they would make things vastly worse, and it turns out that was prophetic.

The book is GREAT for statistics and quotations. I believe that, coming from an outsider, it lacks the ‘I personally saw this man say these things’ that makes the strongest factual base for a book. But there are so many of us who HAVE seen the system in operation that the issue is of minimal importance. The stats and quotations tell the tale.

I will suggest that if you like this book you look carefully at other education books, especially those depicting how education has developed through the 20th Century. Veblen’s The Higher Learning in America, Hutchins’ book by the same name, Buckley’s God and Man at Yale, Caroline Bird’s The Case Against College, Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education, and my own book, The Bubble Boys, would be a start. One of my goals is to teach these books to interested parents, so that they themselves know the circumstances and can form their own opinions of their kids’ educations. Depending on the interest level, I’ll do it.

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