Today, I begin a series of blogs regarding the Common Core (“CC”) State Standards for education, and what that means for you and your children’s education.
In the midst of the reporting on recent scandals facing President Obama’s Administration, one development that may have the greatest impact on our nation has not received much coverage. Common Core is being used by President Obama’s Department of Education to force states and schools to adopt specified national education standards for each grade level through high school. Thus, CC would dictate what all school children learn and don’t learn.
This might seem benign at first; after all, CC supporters, education bureaucrats, and teacher unions will contend that this is for the children and their future. But now, some parents and educators, who are slowly finding out about CC, are beginning to protest vigorously the imposition of CC’s national educational standards. In a world where a recent poll found that a majority of Americans increasingly see our nation’s federal government growing out of control and less than trustworthy with our rights (e.g., the IRS scandal) we would be prudent to study CC, and the impact it will have on our children and their education.
Common Core will mean federal control of school curriculum, i.e., control by White House Administration bureaucrats from now on. It is a story about which the mainstream media has mostly neglected to report. There are many who would view this as an unconstitutional usurpation by the federal government over educational standards and policies. Why would this be so? CC means federal control over all curriculum decisions that have traditionally been established by state and local school boards, state legislatures, and parents, consistent with the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution.
How did the Obama Administration bypass local authority over education? President Obama used $4.35 billion of stimulus money to create an incentive for states to join the CC standards. All but five states (Virginia, Texas, Nebraska, Alaska, and Minnesota) rushed to grab a piece of these federal funds. Congress, state legislatures, and local school boards were never given an opportunity to weigh in on CC, despite the fact that there has been a lack of studies showing the efficacy of CC standards to student outcomes. However, the states were induced to participate with most states receiving none of the related stimulus funds. Now, to the detriment of the local taxpayers, most school districts and states are obligated to spend what some have estimated to be at least a collective $16 billion needed to implement the strictures of CC, and will need to raise the taxes necessary to fund this endeavor. This comes on the heels of decreases in many local and state government services, and teacher layoffs.
And it is not only the public schools that must obey the CC dictates, as the educational standards will shape the curricula of charter schools, private schools, religious schools, Roman Catholic schools, and even homeschooling. The CC control mechanism is through testing. School children will have to pass the CC tests in order to obtain a high school diploma, gain admission to college, or even to obtain a GED. If school children have not studied a curriculum based on CC, they are unlikely to do well.
In my upcoming blogs, I will write specifically about what students will learn under CC in literature and mathematics. In the meantime, however, a wise parent might want to begin to learn about what CC might mean for you and your children. After all, the Bible urges Christians to “watch and pray.”