VIDEO: Louis C.K. on Letterman goes off on Common Core standardized testing

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Comedian Louis C.K., star of FX television show Louie, has taken his crusade against Common Core off Twitter and on to late night television.

During an appearance on David Letterman’s “The Late Show” last Thursday, C.K. blasted Common Core, the standardized testing system adopted by the State of New York and several other states.

C.K. joked that New York now mandates that “The way I understand it, if a school’s kids don’t test well, they burn the school down. So it’s pretty high pressure.”

The comedian lamented that he is no longer prepared to help his daughters, ages 9 and 12, with homework, because he can’t answer some of “the bizarre” questions common core comes up with.

As an example of the completely ridiculous questions associated with Common Core, C.K. provided a made up example, “Bill has three goldfish. He buys two more. How many dogs live in London?”

Letterman responded by suggesting that C.K. notify the fire department.

While the exchange was light-hearted and humorous, C.K.’s frustration – mirrored by many other parents – is not.

Earlier this week, the comedian hit the Twitterverse to vent.  He posted questions from his daughter’s math homework and wrote, “My kids used to love math! Now it makes them cry.”

One of his biggest criticisms is that “no one really knows” who is writing the standardized tests. “… it’s very secretive,” wrote C.K.


He also called the standards, a “massive stressball [that] hangs over the whole school. The kids’ teachers [are] trying to adapt to these badly written notions.”

His anti-Common Core statements landed him in a Twitter-fight with Newsweek writer Alexander Nazaryan, who ultimately took to his Newsweek column to spar with C.K.

In that caustic column, Nazaryan began with a personal attack of C.K., and then goes on to note that Common Core is “loathed” by right and left alike, and especially loathed by the teachers’ union.”

Nazaryan ends by suggesting that criticism of Common Core is primarily from “upper-middle-class parents whose objections are largely ideological, not pedagogical” and that the true beneficiaries of Common Core are the poor and minorities.

He closes with, “It’s fun to get angry when you’ve got nothing to lose.”

The real question, of course, is whether Common Core is a laughing matter at all.

Are we prepared to allow our education system to be the subject of Twitter-sparring and late night television?

Shouldn’t American education be more than a national joke?

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