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Rick Perrin Explores The Common Core of the Problem

Rick Perrin Explores The Common Core of the Problem

I spent twenty-four years of my life getting educated.  I mention this not to boast, but to say that I’ve sat through a lot of classes.  The best class I ever had—the one I value above all the others—was a course in seminary on Jonathan Edwards’ book, Freedom of the Will.

  By that book Edwards single-handedly held back the decay of Christian belief in New England for a hundred years.

Edwards wrote about how our wills—what one wants to do—are not free, but held captive by sin.  He proved that faith is rational, not based on feelings.  And if you have been saved through faith in Christ, it is only because God decided eons ago that he would save you and bring you to believe and trust Christ as Savior.   It is heavy stuff!

The teacher of that course was Dr. John Gerstner, who has been favorably compared to the greats in Christian theology—Augustine, Calvin, Luther.  In other words, I was taught by the very best. 

To learn at the highest levels doesn’t just happen.   It comes when the foundations are carefully laid, starting in the very earliest years of education.  Layer is built upon layer.  What a person learns is slowly constructed into a personal cathedral of knowledge and application.  It is how a first grader becomes a great theologian or a renowned scientist or a world class physicist. 

Miss a step and the student is marooned, perhaps forever, on a sandy island of ignorance.

Enter the Common Core. 

Common Core establishes universal standards in elementary and secondary education that have been adopted by forty-five of the fifty states.  It slipped in while no one was watching.  The lure is Federal dollars.  It gives the federal government control over local education.   Common Core is a system of one-size-fits-all learning.  Proponents say that it will improve test scores and fix our educational woes across the nation. 

The reality is different.  The cover article in World Magazine (October 5, 2013, 35ff) begins its examination of Common Core with a math problem posed in a third grade Catholic school in Indianapolis: “Bridge A is 407 feet long.  Bridge B is 448 feet long.  Which bridge is longer?  How do you know.”  Lucy C. answered, “Bridge B is longer.  I found this out by just looking at the number and seeing that 448 is greater than 407.”

Lucy was wrong.  Because, World reports, “According to her new textbook, enVisionMath Common Core, she was supposed to compare the hundreds column, the tens column, and the ones column individually.”  I was talking recently to a fifth grade teacher who related that her students could not do a simple multiplication/division problem correctly because they were trying to solve the problem using Common Core math techniques.  It reminds me of the “Modern Math” that educators tried to foist off on students in the 1970s.  And we had a whole generation of students grow up who were, and still are, math illiterate.

But it’s not just math.  Common Core values are openly socialist and destructive of traditional values.  The emphasis is on open-ended test questions rather than a child’s mastery of facts.  That is, it doesn’t matter what you know, it matters whether you feel the approved things.   American history and values are neglected or distorted in favor of leftist ideology.  You won’t escape it by homeschooling.

Tennessee found that the new tests actually lowered scores by one third over the previous tests.  Texas has become so concerned that the state legislature has pointedly banned Common Core from the state.  It’s happening in other places via a grass roots uprising aimed at the school board level.

Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)  But if we are creating a generation of children who do not know because truth is kept from them, then we will have a generation that will not be free.

I want my grandchildren to be able to read and understand Jonathan Edwards.  Edwards saw the truth as few men have done.  Maybe it’s time the truth about Common Core sparked a parental demand for freedom.

Dr. Rick Perrin is Chairman of the Board of World Reformed Fellowship and senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cherry Hill NJ.  He writes a weekly blog called ReTHINK which may be accessed at He may be contacted directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The Common Core of the Problemby WRF Board Chairman, Rick Perrin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Tags: Jonathan Edwards Freedom of the Will education

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