How do we possibly figure that one educational experience, every step carefully timed and all goals carefully calibrated, can be exactly right for every single human being in the country?
On what planet does it make that every welder, doctor, musician, dancer, checkout clerk, dental assistant, accountant, truck driver, mechanic, airline pilot, senator, painter, chemist, writer, farmer, and computer programmer in the country need to learn exactly the same stuff on exactly the same schedule?
I'll grant you-- a good case can be made that there certain things that everybody needs to learn, like honesty, humility, and other foundational building blocks of good character. But as every real live human being who ever built those blocks can tell you, that construction work is very much the result of life experience, which has a funny way of unfolding on a schedule that is not responsive to human demands (which is ALSO a lesson that everyone needs to learn).
But we're not talking about that case, because CCSS is more concerned with calculus than character.
If we want to create lifelong learners, if we want to nurture real live human beings who embrace growing and changing and finding a path that best suits their calling, capabilities and character, how can we possibly give them that by making them all line up and march in lockstep.
How did we get to a place where a statement like "People are individuals with different needs and speeds in life" could be something radical.
Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such
enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps
is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music
he hears, however measured or far away. It is not important that he
mature as soon as an apple tree or an oak. Shall he turn his spring
summer? If the condition of things which we were made for is not yet,
were any reality which we can substitute? We will not be shipwrecked on
a vain reality."
There was a time when I would have hesitated to include that quote from Thoreau, because it would have seemed trite and obvious. But nowadays it seems positively revolutionary and reactionary all at the same time. Even though it's non-fiction, I imagine David Coleman would still say, "Damn, Hank, shut up. Nobody gives a shit what you think or feel." And then we would flunk him, because while his writing was passable, his math scores were terrible.