What a Comcast technician taught me about Common Core

Sam Smith – For four days beginning last Friday, my Internet and TV system was a mess. Furthermore, I couldn’t connect my new Tivo device to my television. I had approximately four hours of discussions with Comcast people on the phone. What struck me as time went on was that a number of these folks were dealing with me just as I suspect many subjected to the Common Core approach to education will deal with life in the future. Their comments and answers seemed robotic and often non-responsive to the specific matters I had raised. By the third day, I realized – albeit with a few pleasant exceptions – that these agents of Comcast considered me a multiple choice test to be answered. Their responses were not good and often didn’t apply but they were – as our children are being taught in Common Cored schools – what the system considered correct. And on at least four occasions, they even interrupted the discourse to try to sell me additional new service, not the best idea when a customer’s current system is broken.

Then on Monday, the technician finally showed up and my Comcast experience totally changed. Within two hours he had corrected every problem, found a couple I didn’t know about, and got my Tivo going (although he has to share credit for that with me who had figured out the problem was in the remote card). He also has me scheduled for a new wire coming into the house once spring finally arrives.

This was actually the second time this had happened to me: endless useless talk on the phone eventually resolved by a pragmatically thinking guy on the scene.

The conflict was, in part, one between deductive and inductive reasoning. Like MBAs and philosophers and Common Core taught students, the Comcast phone people applied presumed overriding principles to specific cases with little attention to the anarchy of details. The technician, on the other hand – like detectives and good reporters – accumulated evidence which created the probability of a solution.

As far back as college, my bias was with the technicians rather than the PhDs, which didn’t help me much on campus but since as been highly useful as a journalist. I look first at the facts rather than what Marx, Freud or Henry Kissinger said about them.

It even helps in getting my Tivo working.

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