Q. Can you direct me to a fact-based, not opinion-oriented, article about the Common Core?
A. I have not found an article that is only fact-based or neutral on the subject of the Common Core (CC). Just as education is NOT neutral, neither is the CC a neutral program.
Every article I’ve read comes from the position of the writer and needs to be closely evaluated by the reader.
According to a recent Los Angeles Times article, the Common Core is “a national effort to align public school curriculum goals across state lines and provide better tools for measuring what students are learning.” It sounds so nice; who could question doing that?
The CC is being debated because it will bring a major change in education—including changes that will impact homeschoolers. What are some of the important questions all parents should be asking?
1) Who will control education? The CC takes educational control away from local communities, and therefore, away from local school boards and parents. The federal government will determine the content of language arts and mathematics courses. Is the content good or bad? Are the standards higher or lower than the standards we now have? Will a one-size-fits-all curriculum work for all students?
2) What is being aligned with the CC? Tests are now being conformed to the CC course content; therefore, teachers will be required to teach CC material. The tests will drive the curriculum. Other tests, including some versions of standardized achievement tests, as well as the GED, ACT, and SAT tests are being aligned with the CC.
3) What information is being collected? State databases that link to a national database are being developed to track students from early childhood to their entrance into the workforce. A parent’s permission is NOT NEEDED for others to use this information. Not only will identifying information be collected (name, address, birth date, social security numbers), but also personal information such as disciplinary issues, grades, attitudes, disabilities, family income, religious beliefs, medical information, etc. Will this intrude on the privacy of students? Who will have access to this private information?
4) Who funds CC? Federal money (tax dollars) is provided to the states that implement the Common Core, along with money for database development. States like Virginia, that believe their standards are higher than federal standards, will not receive the same level of funding.
5) How will this impact homeschoolers? Privacy issues are a major concern for homeschoolers. At the present time, homeschoolers are not required to provide this information to local school districts. HEAV is vigilantly monitoring legislation for any changes in data collection laws. The Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Stanford 10—often used by homeschoolers—are now in the process of being aligned with the CC. Some private homeschool curriculum publishers are also working toward including CC standards in order to remain competitive in the market place. And the CC will impact homeschoolers who take college entrance exams like the ACT and SAT tests.
A Web search will offer lots of articles—none are neutral. Be aware that CC proponents are promoting this to the American public with lots of positive, sound- bites. I recommend reading the Freedom Watch articles in the last two issues of HEAV’s magazine, The Virginia Home Educator (also found in our on-line version of the magazine at www.heav.org), or read it in its entirety here: http://heav.org/va-law/common-core/.
Search for “Common Core” on the following websites: Home School Legal Defense, Truth in American Education, and The Education Reporter.
I commend you for your interest in this topic, and I encourage all parents to search for answers to these important questions.