A few days ago, my six-year-old grandson, who attends first grade in a public school in New York City, called to ask a question.

He said, “Ama, I am doing a data analysis. I need to ask you a question.”

I said, “You are doing a WHAT?” He repeated, “I am doing a data analysis.”

Then he asked whether I would rather be a porcupine or a hedgehog.

I thought a minute and said I would rather be a hedgehog.

He was very surprised. I knew he was doing something related to the Common Core, but I still thought he was a little young to get my mini-lecture about Isaiah Berlin’s famous essay about War and Peace.

He asked why I wanted to be a hedgehog, and I said that the hedgehog knows one big thing.

He asked me what the big thing was that I knew.

And I said that you should not be afraid to speak up when you were outnumbered.

It turns out that he was making a bar graph, plotting the number of people who preferred to be either a porcupine or a hedgehog.

I was not sure why he was learning this in first grade.

More on this from the following exchange.

Recently, Edward Miller and Nancy Carlsson-Paige wrote a critique of the K-3 sequence in the Common Core standards, saying they were completely inappropriate for these ages.

Then E.D. Hirsch Jr. responded to them.

Now Miller and Carlsson-Paige respond to Hirsch.

Read the three pieces here.

Would you rather be a porcupine or a hedgehog?