Recommended Modifications to 2016 AZ Draft English/Language Arts Standards: Richard W Hawkins

The following modifications were submitted by Richard W Hawkins, USAF, Lt Col (ret) to the Standards Review committee of the Arizona State Board of Education.

His recommendations included suggestions to modify:  1) Introduction of the 2016 Draft ELA Standards;  2) draft ELA Standardsand 3) Glossary of the 2016 Draft ELA Standards 

He also included the following papers/articles:  Develop the Skills for Finding Truth and Teach and Develop the Skills to use the Laws of Logic and Identify Logical Fallacies, in addition to a Religious Worldview Chart.  (Click HERE to access it.)    

(Please note that the Comment period closed on October 3, 2016.)

Governor Ducey promised during his campaign for governorship to eliminate the Common Core State Standards (not just Federal intrusion but also the lowly, politically correct servile arts philosophy behind those standards), and We the People are duty bound to assure Governor Ducey keeps his promise by our support and vigilance. 

Comments to the Introduction of the 2016 Draft ELA Standards:

1.  Since the Arizona State Board of Education (SBE) is tasked to “tweak” the Common Core State Standards, suggest you use the full title to maintain the breadth of focus:

English Language Arts & Literacy in History/Social Studies, Science, and Technical Subjects

2.  In accordance with the draft ELA Standards the standards require students to:

Draw conclusions with logical inferences
Identify central ideas
Analyze how and why individuals develop in stories
Determine points of view
Interpret words and phrases
Write arguments
Understand a subject
Assess credibility and accuracy of reference sources

These expectations require students to know and begin to understand humanity and the human society, including ethics and morality; philosophy consisting of at least the concept of reality and the various worldviews/ideologies prevalent within our society;  anthropology to understand the nature of man;  the Laws of Logic; and the rules for discerning truth from the universe of truth-claims.  Please refer to the discussion for a proper ELA program below, in addition to papers titled “Develop the Skills for Finding Truth” and “Teach and Develop the Skills to use the Laws of Logic and Identify Logical Fallacies.”  I have also provided a Religious Worldview chart.  (Click HERE to access it.)  

In addition, through a proper ELA program founded on great literature, students learn the importance of:

“…piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity, and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry and frugality, chastity, moderation and temperance, and those other virtues which are the ornament of human society, and the basis upon which the Republican Constitution is structured.

“The careful reading and study of stories enables us to know who human beings are and therefore who we are. Great literature, then, is one major branch of the formal study of humanity. The other major branch is history and the allied disciplines: politics, law, and economics. Literature is the branch of the humanities devoted to storytelling in beautiful language, the branch that draws most heavily upon the human imagination.  If literature is the study of humanity through great, imaginative stories, then what do we learn from literature? Well, essentially everything that pertains to humanity. We learn about good taste and manners. We learn all the individual virtues and vices: temperance and intemperance, courage and cowardice, justice and injustice, honesty and dishonesty, industry and sloth, humility and arrogance. We learn about the human emotions: love, hate, fear, ambition, melancholy, resentment, contentment, grief, mirth, rage, and so many more. By reading great literature we learn both to understand human beings and to sympathize with them. Through this vicarious activity, we are compelled to examine ourselves and thereby attain what used to be called self-government, the ability to discipline oneself so as to achieve the good in life…..Without these great stories, we would be poorer. We would know far less about love and hate, loyalty and treason, hope and despair, faith and faithlessness, heroism and decadence, indeed every aspect of human life, without the unforgettable stories that teach us who we are and who we ought to be.

"The study of human character through great literature, then, teaches us how to live. …. Yet to derive insights into the complex human world, one must do far more than “people-watch.” One must hit the books and see what the wisest students of human nature throughout the ages have thought and said about human.” The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core (by Terrence O. Moore.  See also the Youtube presentation Story-Killers: How the Common Core Destroys Minds and Souls by Terrence O. Moore.

Please assure these requirements for great literature and knowing and understanding humanity and human society, etc per the discussion above are built into the standards at the appropriate grade levels.

3.  Modify “Description of a Successful Arizona English Language Arts Student,” as it appears in the Draft Introduction to read:  

The description that follows offers a portrait of Arizona students who meet the standards set out in this document. As students advance through the grades and master the standards in Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language, they are able to exhibit with increasing depth and consistency these capacities of a literate individual:

  • They demonstrate academic independence and individualism;
  • They understand their own worldview and their answers to life’s ultimate questions;
  • They demonstrate wise and virtuous character and understand the complexities of human nature;
  • They build strong content knowledge and learn to understand how that knowledge is used within the larger whole;
  • They learn to recognize the ideological foundation of truth-claims;
  • They learn to discern the truth by examining the veracity of truth-claims based upon the Laws of Logic, the rules and skills for truth and reason;
  • They learn to appreciate and discern the true, the good and the beautiful of human creation;
  • They demonstrate the knowledge, wisdom and values of our Founding Fathers and the truth claims of the Founding Fathers’ worldviews that are foundational to the family, local community, commerce and types and levels of government necessary for a free society;
  • They respond to the varying demands of audience, task, purpose, and discipline; and
  • They use technology and digital media strategically and capably as one of various tools and not an end in itself. 

4.  Add at the beginning of the Introduction a very transparent and easy to understand description of the problem you are attempting to resolve as modeled below:

Problem with the current ELA Philosophy

Abraham Lincoln so clearly stated: “The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."

Over these past 100 years the education philosophy was and still is based on Progressivism which is a form of Marxism.  Generation after generation our students’ worldview has gradually been shifting from individualism to collectivism, from capitalism to socialism, from self-government and personal responsibility to Statism, from natural law to positive law, from republican constitutionalism to oligarchic technocracy, from individual freedom to regulatory enslavement, and from discerning truths to moral and cultural relativism.  This shift in the students’ worldview has thus effected the socialist transformation of this nation’s governing structure and has led to the cultural breakdowns we are now experiencing. 

The Common Core State Standards which AZ adopted in 2010 was the latest of the Federal government takeover of public education in the progression of Goals 2000, School to Work, and No Child Left Behind.  It is a narrowly focused, politically correct servile arts program often stated as “college and career ready” and fails to adequately pass on the essential knowledge, wisdom, and values prevalent during the period of this nation’s meteoric growth and successes and also fails to develop the skills for true critical thinking.  These new draft standards are designed to restore the knowledge, wisdom, and values of previous generations along with developing the skills for thinking. 

 “….it was implicitly assumed that the purpose of education was to pass on to the future generation the knowledge, wisdom, and values of the previous generation. That, of course, is no longer the case. When the progressives took over American education at the beginning of the 1900s, their goal was to use the schools as the means of changing America from a capitalist, individualistic, believing nation into a socialist, collectivist, atheist, or humanist nation.” – Crimes of the Educators:  How Utopians Are Using Government Schools to Destroy America’s Children (by Samuel Blumenfeld and Alex Newman)  

“Taken by and large, the great difference of emphasis between the two conceptions holds good: modern [Progressive] education concentrates on teaching subjects, leaving the method of thinking, arguing, and expressing one’s conclusions to be picked up by the scholar as he goes along; mediæval [classical liberal arts] education concentrated on first forging and learning to handle the tools of learning, using whatever subject came handy as a piece of material on which to doodle until the use of the tool became second nature.” – The Lost Tools of Learning (by Dorothy Sayers) 

Comments to the Glossary of the 2016 Draft ELA Standards:  

5.  Additional terms to include: 

Exegesis vs Eisegesis (applicable for all literature)
Great Literature
Truth Claim

Develop the Skills for Finding Truth*

 “As the great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn taught, any discussion about materialism and transcendence must answer the fundamental question about whether the final touchstone of truth lies in or out of the human person. This determines how we comprehend the world around us and how we act in it.”  Millennials should read Solzhenitsyn (by Rev. Johannes Jacobse)  

Truth is the ultimate goal in all of our questions and pursuit of purpose.

Truth is tested through the Correspondence theory and Coherence theory

1.  Corresponds to reality 

2.  Has coherence with the all the answers

Test truth by

1.  Logical consistency

2.  Empirical adequacy that is falsifiable

3.  Experiential relevance

Truth answers 4 ultimate questions dealt by each worldview

1.  Origin – where did I come from?

2.  Meaning—what gives life meaning?

3.  Morality – how do I distinguish between good and evil?

4.  Destiny – what happens when I die?

To get to these there are 5 disciplines that are pulled together from a worldview

1. Theology – atheism, agnosticism, theism, pantheism

2. Epistemology – how do we know?

3. Reality – metaphysics

4. Morality – ethics

5. Anthropology – who is man

6 essentials regarding truth are:

1. Truth is non-contradictory; it does not violate the laws of logic. 

2. Truth is absolute; it does not depend upon any time, place or conditions. 

3. Truth is discovered; we do not create it in our minds but rather it is something everybody can find. 

4. Truth is descriptive; it is the agreement with our minds to reality via a coherent story

5. Truth is inescapable

6. Truth is unchanging

"Until roughly the 1930s, American higher education was based on what was explicitly called “the unity of Truth”—“the conviction that all truths agreed and ultimately could be related to one another in a single system,” writes Harvard historian Julie Reuben.  Yet today even well-educated people have come to accept a contradictory, fragmented two-story view of truth. On one hand, they embrace a worldview that is radically reductionistic. On the other hand, they cannot deny the truths pressed on them by everyday experience— the truths of general revelation. So they have done what earlier generations would have found unthinkable: They have given up the ideal of the unity of truth."  Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes (p. 153)  (by former agnostic Nancy Pearcey)   

*The outline for the skills of finding truth was presented by Ravi Zacharias. Click HERE for link. 

Teach and Develop the Skills to use the Laws of Logic and Identify Logical Fallacies

Inductive arguments and Deductive arguments

Law of non-contradiction

Law of excluded middle

Law of Identity

Informal Logical Fallacies

1. Equivocation

2. Reification

3. Hasty generalization

4. Bifurcation

5. False analogy

6. Begging the question

7. No true Scotsman

8. Special pleading

9. Ad hominem

10. Appeal to fear

11. Faulty appeal to authority

12. Strawman

I have engaged in many civil discussions, mostly with college graduates, regarding truth by dissecting the truth-claims of competing worldviews.  Most opponents state that they don’t believe in absolute truth, yet they believe that absolutely (go figure!)  That belief violates the Law of non-contradiction.  This stems from teaching and practicing the consensus building Hegelian dialectic process introduced in K-12 public education as the key part of the “higher order thinking skills” education touted by the public education community. 

Along with consistent violations of the Law of non-contradiction I have also had to sort through the many logical fallacies committed by my opponents in these civil discussions.  They don’t have a clue about logical arguments which prevents them from true critical thinking and eventually reaching truth.  They have an inability to discuss truth with somebody that does hold to absolute truths and conforms to the laws of logic.  Richard W. Hawkins

See Also:

Recommended Changes to 2016 AZ Draft English/Language Arts Standards K-5: Lisa Fink

Developmentally Inappropriate Standards for K-3 Should be Removed