Common Core Standards: suck the life out of learning


We homeschoolers may occasionally congratulate ourselves that we don't have to jump through the same hoops as our public school counterparts, but with Common Core, that independence could go away with the flick of a politician's pen. "So what?" you might think. "Common Core is just an outline of what-kids-need-to-know-when, and there's nothing new about that."

Newsflash - the Common Core is not just about general standards, but embedded pedagogy, which is fancy-schmancy talk for the fact that these standards are quite often specific to content, method, and timing.

For instance, at Diary of a Public School Teacher, the author describes a personal epiphany at a meeting about how to implement Common Core Standards-

". . .what jolted me out of my state of emotional apathy was when the presenter began showing, and reading, to us the slide on what type of writing we are expected to cover in certain grades. Our presenter said, " If you notice, it's only 20% Narrative in the 5th grade. That's because in the real world, in a college and career ready world, students write using argumentative and informational essays."

What grade level was that? Sounds like a course of study for a high school student, right?

No- this standard is for 5th grade students.

vampire clip art

This standard, among others, is 100% Guaranteed to Suck the Life Out of Learning. Also includes a warranty against the utilization of the expertise and creativity of teachers, possibly resulting in an exodus of talent from our schools, and discouraging potential teachers from following this career path.

The specificity of the above writing guideline neglects children who are better served by developing their writing skills at this stage of learning by using narrative and creative writing formats. It also completely ignores, as the blog author Lisa Mims points out, that some folks actually make a nice living in careers based on their skills in narrative writing.

And still you are wondering what this has to do with homeschooling.

I believe:

  • We are all stakeholders in public education. We pay taxes to support it, so we should take interest in what is happening.
  • The future of our country also rests on the shoulders of upcoming generations, so we have a vested interest in making sure that all children have the opportunity to receive an adequate education.
  • Laws and standards regarding education will eventually trickle down to homeschoolers. The right to homeschool without interference was hard won, but vigilance is the price of freedom.

If you want to know what to do about this, here's my suggestion:

Call, write, or email your state senators and ask them to end federal funding Common Core Standards. Tell them that the federal government should not use taxpayer dollars to bribe and extort states into adopting national standards and curriculum. Control over our education system should be returned to local schools, teachers, and parents.

Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) has written a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee for his fellow Senators to sign- encourage them to join with Senator Grassley in fighting the wholesale adoption of Common Core.

Visit this page to find the contact information for your senators.