Sound argument is rooted in fact. Persuasion is rooted in emotion. At least this seems to be the current evolution of the Common Core vernacular. What then grows in the fertile ground between the argument and persuasion, the place where facts are distorted for the sake of persuasion. We call it a persuadument, where the speaker crosses his/her fingers and hopes the numbers are convincing enough to keep us from looking behind the curtains. When we listen to a presenter, we all tend to say to ourselves, “It must be true, because no one would say 37.2 percent of children with red hair score better on standardized tests if their teachers teach while standing on their heads, if it weren’t.” Oh, mighty Oz …
We wrote about Coleman’s misrepresentation of the data regarding the use of informational texts in elementary schools. This bad exegesis calls into question every statement of statistical fact presented in the two hour speech that is the source of the quote above. We challenge you to choose a David Coleman video. Take your pick. When he “argues” a point with statistics, particularly if the statement is startling, try to track down the research behind it. We are very concerned that there is a lot more persuasion than argument behind the marketing strategy for the Common Core. Hopefully, most of the statements are true. Whether we are wrong or right, the Common Core deserves an intense vetting. Even Reader’s Digest has fact checkers.** We think even the authors would have a hard time arguing with double checking the statements surrounding the Common Core.
It’s all a little ironic, though, isn’t it … misrepresenting data to persuade people not to teach children to persuade people?
**Okay, we aren’t positive about this, but odds are in our favor. Forgive the persuadument.