Monday, November 18, 2013

Be Not Afraid

I am a bit late to the Common Core Standards discussion. Implemented right under our noses, I was most likely more concerned with the HHS mandate, gay marriage laws being passed, or any other number of alarming events that were occurring at the time. It barely registered on my radar, because we homeschool and I had no inkling of how an ever more nationalized education system might affect even homeschoolers.

This past Friday my eyes were opened and I began to take notice of Common Core, thanks to a group of Catholic homeschool moms that met for a poetry recitation/get together. Common Core was the hot topic and after listening for a bit, I was deeply worried. My research and activism has just begun, but I do not think I am too late.

These are just few of my big concerns with Common Core:

--It doesn't matter how the bureaucrats twist their words, Common Core Standards nationalize education in a way it has not done before. This is out and out a violation of several statutes (The General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965) and the Constitution (see the 10th Amendment) and tramples all over states rights to oversee education.

--It doesn't matter how the bureaucrats twist the statistics, Common Core Standards are subpar. Several distinguished educators who were on the Common Core State Standards validation committee refused to sign off in final approval of the standards, citing that the standards as proposed would not lead to greater college readiness, but instead result in further decline in American student's math and english proficiency. Read more on the validation committee findings here.

--Right now, one of homeschoolings greatest protections is state's rights to govern education. Each state passes and enforces its own laws regarding the rights and obligations of homeschoolers. Some states are more hands off than others, but in all 50 states homeschooling is currently legal. "Race to the Top" and other federal incentives have led to 45 states enacting Common Core to some degree. Here in Utah, Common Core standards in math and english have been put into action. 900 million dollars was awarded to the state for signing on. No one can explain where that 900 million dollars went. If education is completely nationalized, homeschooling protections are definitely at risk.

--College entrance exams have or will change to reflect Common Core. Homeschoolers not using Common Core could be at a disadvantage.

I could compile a much longer list of Common Core evils--the nation database, social engineering, subversion of the parent child relationship, etc.

Why should we not be overly worried? First off, Common Core is untested and untried. It is bound to fail. Unfortunate for those students used as guinea pigs, but I am confident Common Core will be abandoned in the future. Secondly, the homeschool lobby is large and powerful and proactive. As I type, numerous advocates for homeschoolers are working hard to deter and thwart Common Core's effect on the homeschooling community. Lastly, as far as high education is concerned, I am convinced the idiom is true--"the cream will rise to the top". If homeschoolers stay the course and continue providing their children with well rounded, superior, individualized instruction, homeschoolers will continue to excel and surpass their Common Core educated peers.

I love this last paragraph from an article on Common Core in Seton Magazine:

“Be not afraid,” must be our motto. We must trust that by providing our children with high quality home school experience, they will be ready for future college study and to assume their places as citizens of faith, integrity, and moral character.

So, what can you do to stop Common Core?  Find a group locally that is educating and lobbying against Common Core.  Learn as much as you can so that you can effectively refute pro-Common Core arguments.  Write your governor, congressmen, and legislatures.  Get involved, stay on top, and keep on praying for our country and its future.
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