The Homeschool Community - Divided by Common Core State Standards
Well not fully yet, but I see it coming. Why? Because there is mass confusion in regards to the Common Core State Standards, why homeschoolers should care about them and most importantly why a large group of homeschoolers are actively seeking out the stances on CCSS from homeschool publishers.
Terri, from homeschool publisher Knowledge Quest, wrote a blog post earlier this week, On Curriculum and Common Core . . ., in which she shared how she felt about being approached for her stance on the issue.
Frankly, I feel that her response was uncalled for. I it she suggest that The Educational Freedom Coalition was "forcefull." * In a series of tweets between Terri and myself, she said that it was the fact that she received multiple emails that bothered her, yet in her post, she places the blame onto the head of the coalition.
Furthermore, the post makes it seem as though there are a group of home educators who are out to take down any publisher that chooses to align with CCSS and that we shouldn't be concerned with the standards because there have been so many standards in the past.
I wholeheartedly feel that if Terri truly felt as though anyone was being forceful with her, a private discussion amongst the parties should have ensued. Instead she chose to take it to a public platform, without providing a clear picture of the whole situation. Through it all, she has edited her post and deleted comments, yet she has left comments from those taking her side that are rude and nasty towards those in the EFC.
I have sat rather quiet watching the continuing discussions, arguments and passionate pleas.. Now though, I want to address a few points that I’ve seen come up that explain why so many of are want to know which publishers are aligning and why we are so passionate about this.
1. “The Common Core standards seem to be sound and in line with how homeschoolers teach.”
Well, they may be from your perspective, but for me, standing up against common core has less to do with the content of the standards and more to do with how they were enacted and where they will lead us.
They are not constitutional. Sneaky, those filling their pockets were! The states were threatened with losing needed federal grants for their education programs, if they did not adopt the new standards. The federal government forced their hand, to hand over control of education. Yes, I said hand over control. Once adopted, states may not choose to adapt, modify etc..the standards over time to suit the needs of their students. They must continue on, following the new national expectations.
But here is the sneaky part, the federal government cannot make these changes either, it is the creators of the CCSS, the publishing companies and other business that will have a massive positive economic impact from the implementation. So, now we realize that the states have given up their government control of education over to PRIVATE businesses.
So now not only does the Fed (not really a government entity) control your finances, but now a private company has gained control over education and family privacy.
2. “The Common Core standards are intended for public schools, why are we as homeschoolers even worried about it and questioning publishers? Why bother?”
Well, first of all, see the answer to number one. Secondly, the standards are far more than just “standards.” I for one, am not against standards on their own, when they leave room for some interpretation. I believe even homeschoolers can benefit from them as a rough guideline to make sure their children are mastering needed skills. However, like I said these standards are more, they come with strings attached.
Adoption of the standards includes agreeing to allow data tracking students, from PreK through college. The data, a mere 400 points of information. It is a full invasion of family privacy.
Because the aim is to have all 50 states adopt the standards, thus creating a national standard, it is no surprise that new, national standardized test are in the works. For those homeschoolers residing in states where their students must be tested, soon they will be subject to the test that are based on the CCSS.
The cost to update schools IT to allow for the new test and to supply CCSS aligned curriculum is extensive. The grants provided by the government to entice the states into adopting the standards is feeble in comparison to the taxpayers in each state stake. Who’s taxes do you think are going to go up, regardless of how they educate their children, to cover these cost? Yours!
Even more frightening than knowing that families are losing their rights to privacy, is knowing that at any point, states could choose to amend their home education laws and require homeschoolers to follow CCSS standards. CCSS should have never made it as far as it has, so yes, now is the time to bother, before it gains any further ground.
3. “Why do you want to know which homeschool publishers are aligning their curriculum to CCSS? If you like the curriculum does it matter?”
Yes, yes it does. I fully expect some publishers that also cater to public and private schools to align, but that does not mean that I will support them. In my eyes any company that intentionally changes their curriculum to meet the standards or proudly states that they are aligned, have pronounced that they are okay with everything CCSS brings with it, and that is not okay with me.
Overall the standards were created as nothing more than a new way for these companies to heavily line their pockets and gain power that was never meant to be theirs.
One final note, I want to encourage those that are new to homeschooling world to research your choices and then research some more. Believe in your gut, stand up for what you believe in and make the choices that are best for your family and your children. Take every piece of information your read, even my own with a grain of salt.
I say this, because over the last two years I have a seen many veterans of the homeschool community bully those who haven’t been around as long into falling in line with their own line of thinking. Even if you have only been at this for a month, your convictions should not be swept to the side just because you have not made into the clique yet or rallied at your state capitol.
And remember, even a community that is dominated by Christian women can have some bad eggs. As in all places, there are cliques of those that think they are superior, busy bodies gossip queens and just outright pot stirrers. But if you keep your eyes wide open you can find a group of women online that share your values and convictions and you will stand strong as homeschoolers that truly support one another.
I will NOT link to the CCSS, if you would like to see them for yourself, please Google it. If you are interested in the negative aspects, I would suggest visiting http://stopcommoncore.com/ and viewing the videos. If you want to know which publishing companies have or will be aligning, you may ask to the join The Educational Freedom Coalition and check out the “stupid list created by a group of nasty Pitt Bulls. (as stated by a commenter on the post mentioned earlier.” Ha, really, we are all nice people who are looking out for our best interest. Besides, my pitt is a sweet cuddly baby!
*You can read the form letter sent from the EFC to all publishers here.
This post was updated on March 22, 2013.