There has been a lot of talk in the past few months about Common Core Standards (CCS). I know that I have personally dismissed much of it as something that wouldn’t pertain to me – a homeschooling mom. After all, CCS was being touted as the next best thing for the public school system. Then I began to educate myself. And what I found out was not only disheartening but also somewhat scary.
Common Core has set out to create national education standards. That sounds like a good thing right? For example, if you lived on the east coast, but due to a job transfer had to move to the west coast, your child wouldn’t miss a beat in school. What her third grade class was studying over in the east, they would be studying over on the west. Same scope and sequence. Same time frame. Really who wouldn’t want something like that?
All teachers will be given a checklist of skills and information that must be taught each year to every student. It will not take in to account the student’s ability. All students will learn at the same pace. Does it still sound like a good idea?
The issue comes down to a few key things, however.
1. There are three laws currently in effect that prohibit the formation of national standards. They are the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act – as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001. In fact, the Department of Education – at the national level – that we all assume has been there for quite some time, was only formed in 1980.
2. The CCS were presented to the states with conditions attached. Certain education grants would only be given if the states accepted the CCS. The Department of Education also waived many of the more burdensome parts of the No Child Left Behind Act in return for the states accepting CCS. Not only that, but millions of dollars were given out not only to create the assessments tied in to CCS but to also implement the standards in the states.
3. The CCS was also crafted so that all students will be college and career ready. I remember when I was in high school that one had to chose which path you would take in your classes. You would be either ready for college or ready for a career upon graduation. Now, the standards are set up so that everyone will be ready for both.
4. The standards are very poorly written. Of the five member Common Core Validation Committee, three refused to validate the standards because they were so badly done.
So why will this affect homeschooling?
Currently national assessment tests such as the SAT and ACT are being rewritten to meet Common Core Standards. Overall this part doesn’t have me all that worried since historically home educated children have done well on all types of assessment tests.
My concern comes with the potential for colleges and even employers to refuse to accept home educated adults due to their lack of a “common core diploma.”
Lastly, data is already being collected on all public school students. If your child switches school districts, the information follows them. At the moment, home educated and private schools students do not participate. This will change. The state is going to start collecting this data and it is going to be hard to refuse them that information based on the CCS.
Thankfully, parents and states are speaking out against CCS. Out of the 50 states, four did not adopt the CCS, three states have withdrawn from the standards, and one state has adopted only the Language Arts portion. You can see an interactive map HERE that shares more information.
There is more to this issue. Far more than I can share in a short article. Please research this for yourself. There is a plethora of information on the internet about it. I would like to leave you with three videos.
The first video is an interview with the US Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan.
The second video is a bit longer, but well worth watching. It’s an interview with Charlotte Iserbyt, a former Department of Education employee.
Lastly, if you have 40 minutes, I highly recommend watching Building the Machine a documentary put together by Home School Legal Defense about Common Core.