In response to the overwhelming demand for “tools” that “unpack” the Common Core State Standards, two enterprising educators have announced the soon-to-open Common Core Hardware Store in Brooklyn. The store will celebrate its grand opening on Monday, August 19, just in time for teachers, administrators, parents, and students to purchase the tools they desperately need for raising test scores over the coming year. Additional branches will follow.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time,” said Marcy Plinth, one of the two founders. “One day, at sunrise, I was hammering a nail into a wall. I began thinking, ‘What if I were reading an informational text about how to hammer a nail into a wall? Wouldn’t that take a lot longer than just nailing the thing?’ Then kerbling—the idea for a tool came to me. I called my buddy Joe Rosette right away. He said, ‘Why stop with a tool? Why not have a store?’ So we went for it. Don’t let anyone else tell you that they’ve got tools, because ours are the only ones you can actually feel and hold.”
These tools resemble regular hardware tools, with a few key differences.
The CC Hammer weighs twice as much as a regular hammer. Its purpose is to make a loud and sudden sound in the event of non-alignment. A principal or coach should carry one into every classroom. “Initially you can expect a lot of banging in a school,” said Plinth, “but that should die down, once the classrooms get aligned with you-know-what.”
The CC Wrench looks like a regular stainless steel wrench but is actually a teacher evaluation tool. “This is for obstructionists—you know, status quo types—who are trying to throw a wrench in the system,” said Rosette. “We say, ‘go ahead, have a wrench, give it a throw.’ Then it automatically rates them ineffective and tweets the info to all the major news outlets.”
The CC Power Drill is designed to drill students in critical thinking. When you turn it on, it initially makes a whirring noise, but as it warms up, it starts to emit phrases: for instance, “I am justifying my point with the following textual evidence,” “Although you make a valid claim, you have not addressed my second counterclaim,” and so on. Dentists, cabinet-makers, sergeants, and low-inferencers are all encouraged to use this drill, so that the entire American public can align with its mental processes.
The CC Plumb Bob measures the depth and complexity of a text to the nearest one-thousandth of a fathom. “You won’t get anything more accurate than that,” said an advertiser who requested anonymity. “We’ve got The Tempest at 5.143 fathoms, Antigone at 2.112, and A Guide to Indoor Plumbing at 8.003. Why, I just sold the plumbing book to three districts after they tried this tool.”
What about math? The CC Bucket helps you draw circles—not any old circles, but circles in service of the Common Core Standards. “We’ve got different ones, actually, for different standards,” explained Plinth. “This one over here is for HSG-GPE.A.1: ‘Derive the equation of a circle of given center and radius using the Pythagorean Theorem; complete the square to find the center and radius of a circle given by an equation.’”
Why use a bucket for that? “Well, it says ‘a circle of given center and radius,’ and we’ve given you the center and radius,” she explained, pointing to a dot and line on the bucket’s base.
As for tools that “unpack” the standards, Plinth and Rosette have commissioned Jack the Unpacker: A CC Robot. “You give Jack the standards in the form of a suitcase with a latch,” said Herb Blink, one of the lead engineers, “and he unpacks them before your eyes. Before long, you’ve learned how to do it yourself.” (A matching Unpac-Man game is supposedly in the works.)
While pre-orders for the individual tools have been trickling in, no item has attracted as much attention as the CC Toolbox. “With the CC Toolbox, you’ve got everything right there,” gushed an excited pre-customer, who plans to spend the night outside the store before the grand opening. “I mean, I’ve got to have a toolbox to carry around. It makes me feel successful.” Child-size and Barbie-size toolboxes will soon become available, according to industry rumors.
The first 100 customers to arrive at Common Core Hardware will receive a free CC Magnifying Glass, an indispensable tool for anything that requires close reading or exaggeration.