Rock around what?

Editor of the Reformer:

The other day I was singing a song from the old sitcom "Happy Days," "rock, rock, rock around the clock." As I was singing out loud, my 7-year-old son looked at me strangely and said, "Hey, I know that song, but that’s not how it goes." So, of course, I asked him how it went and he demonstrated. My son began singing his version, which he learned at his school -- "rock, rock, rock the common core." I immediately had a pit in my stomach.

At this point, I became silent for a moment or tow, as I pondered this common core version of that song, and also my negative feelings about it. I then asked my son if he knew what the common core was, and was not at all surprised when he said no. I then asked if anyone had explained to him what the common core was, and again he replied no. But I already instinctively knew that nobody at his school had bothered to think to explain to my son what common core was, because why would anyone attempt to explain to a young child the ins and outs of the political agendas of old men?

In Webster’s Dictionary, brainwashing is defined as "A forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas."

So is compelling impressionable children to blindly rally around a political juggernaut, which they can’t possibly understand in the least, tantamount to brainwashing? I say yes.


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The sickening irony between my son’s coerced version of that song and common core agenda is obvious; they are both conduits for mindless regurgitation of information, which may or may not be of any real worth. The incredibly high price that the children pay is that, for them, mindless obedience and adherence to other ideas becomes normal.

It’s sad that the end result of conditioning children to do things absent of any real understanding is when those children grow up, they present in society as adults who function in very much the same way, as it was intended, and so it goes.

Michael R. Stanley,

Brattleboro, April 1

Save our roads
by slowing down

Editor of the Reformer:

I have a friend who thinks that irony is the most underappreciated force in the universe.

The irony here is that we’re all gasping for air about now, and those of us who live on dirt roads are not yet done with winter -- our frozen roads have to thaw. In the process, the mud makes travel hard -- and then impossible -- for all but those with clearance and all-wheel drive.

Our roads are a heavily utilized commons where individual behavior affects everyone. Here’s how it goes. Driving fast and hard damages the roads (in any season), requires attention from the road crew, and affects our property taxes. It happens every year, with very few of us taking the time (and that’s the rub, apparent, gotta hurry) to reduce our effects on the roads.

The mud is upon us, and the more carefully we drive, the longer more of us can use the commons. If we tear at it with more than 100 horsepower, we will damage the goop more than we have to. Yes, it will get worse on its own, but think about it: slowing down, avoiding the worst spots where possible, riding the ridges, and not freaking if there is some resistance to forward progress keeps things going longer. There is finesse to mud driving.

I used to have a small four-wheel-drive truck. I slowly crept through the worst spots. I didn’t have to race through and I didn’t have to gouge my way through deep holes. Often, I didn’t even engage the extra two wheels; the clearance was enough. But way too often it becomes person against nature, with the person’s machine tearing through a hole or wallow and making it that much worse. No art there; just more work for the road crew and higher taxes. Thanks.

Bob Engel,

Marlboro, April 4