Hagerstown, MD– Historian Jack Kabalesky of Luther Martin College today argued that the Roman Empire fell primarily because it adopted an early version of the controversial Common Core educational curriculum. Previously, historians had blamed Rome’s fall on various factors: imperial overreach, political corruption, moral decay, the spread of Christianity, and barbarian invasion. But in a presentation entitled, “Rotting from the Core: Educational Reform and the Fall of Rome,” Kabalesky made the case that Emperor Majorian, a little-known Roman ruler who reigned from 457 to 461, mandated a new curriculum for the empire, including mathematics and Latin Language Arts elements, that required students to learn a core set of skills. “I found several letters to the emperor written by local governors and outraged parents,” Kabalesky explained, “protesting that the standards were dumbing down the empire’s educational system, undermining local control, and making teachers teach to the test. There were even some truly bizzare charges, such as one letter that alleged that the education program was the secret work of a cabal of radicals who wanted to undermine the moral instruction of the youth.” Another letter accused a wealthy Roman patrician named Sorus of funding the radical plan.
Kabalesky theorizes that widespread discontent over the standards loosened Rome’s control over its outlying provinces. “I also found records of standardized test scores from the last part of the fifth century that confirm that educational performance precipitously declined throughout the empire as a result of this early version of the Common Core Standards.” Kabalesky further argued that the beheading of Emperor Majorian was largely a result of public resentment of his top-down educational reform program. “His executioner reportedly yelled, ‘This is for the children!’ as he lowered the axe on Majorian’s neck.”