Louis CK is a comedian and a damn funny one at that. I still think his SNL Lincoln skit was one of the most genius things seen on television. He is also an outspoken parent who hates the testing system and Common Core. In that respect, he's a lot like me.

I don't mind him being outspoken. I'm bothered that he's uninformed.  He is a brilliant man, but his opinion on the Common Core is ill-informed. He is not an expert on policy or pedagogy. Here's what I mean:
  • Policy: He lumps factory schools, Common Core and homework together into the same system. The truth is that they are related, but not the same standardized system. The factory schools he rips were around for years and the testing culture began before Common Cure (and during No Child Left Behind).  The reality is that the homework his kids were doing wasn't CCSS-aligned and he would know that if he had studied the standards.  
  • Pedagogy:  They aren't awful standards. Some aren't developmentally appropriate (which is a valid complaint). However, they often push kids to think deeply in ways that they aren't used to. Sometimes that's a good thing. Things that parents mock are often things that they don't understand. Instead of mockery, maybe it's time they try and make sense out of them. 
Louis CK is an expert on his own children and his probably right about the frustration that they feel. He went to Twitter to vent and I'm cool with that. However, his thoughts were ill-informed. I don't really respect his opinion on education. Really, I don't. I think people sometimes confuse "respect an opinion" versus "respect the right to an opinion." The truth is that some opinions are ill-informed, based on bad evidence and the result of overly simplistic faulty logic.

I am bothered by the response of the education community. Like Matt Damon on the left or Andre Agassi on the right, both sides seem enamored by the cult of celebrity. I get it, Louis CK is a very angry parent venting on Twitter, but what makes him any different from every other angry parent? Were his thoughts more profound? Were they more informed? Not really. In fact, they weren't all that funny -- which is precisely what they should have been, given the fact that he's a comedian.

Just as I don't want to hear Jenny McCarthy's thoughts on Autism and vaccinations, I don't really care what a celebrity has to say about public education. He's not an expert. He doesn't even claim to be.

I am critical of the Common Core. I just don't think the solution is to promote celebrity tweets who we agree with while teachers with knowledge of the inner workings of policy and pedagogy continue to be marginalized. We're not famous. 

photo credit: Dan Nguyen @ New York City via photopin cc


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