Common Core and Homeschooling: The Perspective of a Homeschooling Father February 23 2014, 0 Comments

Common Core and Homeschooling The Perspective of a Homeschooling Father

This article is not necessarily going to be a summary or critique of common core. There are plenty of people better educated than I who have already done just that.1 My purpose is to go over some of my observations and reflections from the last two San Ramon Valley Unified School District (SRVUSD) Board of Education meetings that I attended. In the first meeting (November 12, 2013), the board held a public hearing regarding the “Common Core Implementation Plan”. Sixteen people (including one current student) spoke out against the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and urged the board not to adopt them. There were 28 questions that were raised as a result of this public hearing. Some of the more important questions, in my opinion, included the following:2

  • –  How were the Common Core Standards Developed?

  • –  Who developed the standards?

  • –  Is the District legally required to adopt Common Core?

  • –  Is the District able to delay the implementation of Common Core for one year?

  • –  Does the Common Core lessen or dumb down the standards to bring a level of equality among

    all students?

  • –  Are the New Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at a lower level than our current science

    standards?

  • –  Is the Common Core unproven and untested? Or is there evidence that it works?

  • –  Do parents, students and teachers have no control over what is being tested when local control

    is removed?

    It was at the December 10, 2013 meeting that the board was set to make a decision on whether to approve the “Common Core Implementation Plan” or not. The board's responses to the above questions were made available to the public prior to this meeting. Many of the same concerned parents and citizens came to the December meeting to voice their displeasure regarding what they felt were the board's non-answers, partial truths, and lies to the questions and concerns they had raised at the November meeting. The following is a brief summary of how I saw the interaction taking place:

    Concerned parent/citizen: These standards were developed by a private corporation, they are not transparent, and they were put together (for the most part) by those who are not experts in education [inserts reference to research showing evidence that this is the case].

    Board response: This is my personal feeling...let me tell you a story [inserts anecdote here and throws in a few buzzwords like “rigorous” and “success”]

    Concerned parent/citizen (who also happens to be an attorney): The law clearly states that the education standards adopted by the State of California are guidelines and not required to be followed [quotes applicable California law]. It seems to me this is really about the money to you...maybe you should just admit it.

Board response: We still think we have to do what the State tells us...we don't want to be the one to test it out and see what the consequence is...your issue is with the State, not with us...we might not get as much money if we don't obey (confirming the above concerned citizen's suspicion).

Concerned parent/citizen: The New Generation Science Standards received a “C” grade from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and the current standards received an “A” grade.3 How can you say that the new standards will be at a higher level?

Board response: This is my personal feeling...let me tell you a story [inserts anecdote here and throws in a few buzzwords like “rigorous” and “success”]

Concerned parent/citizen: The Common Core Standards have never been successfully implemented anywhere [cites research showing evidence of this assertion]

Board response: This is my personal feeling...let me tell you a story [inserts anecdote here and throws in a few buzzwords like “rigorous”, “success”, and don't forget “benchmarked”]

Final board response: I'm signing my two kids up for this (and 31,000 other children in the process)...I hope I'm doing the right thing. The bottom line is that these standards engage the children and engaged children learn. I'm so excited about getting this thing going!

From the final comments from all of the board members, it appeared to me as though they had already made up their minds. No amount of evidence against the effectiveness of the CCSS was going to change their minds. At the end of the day, they were just excited to go after their shiny new toy and, in the process, send 31,000 children down an unproven path.

One of the main problems with the public school system (and there are many4) is lack of control and direction parents have over the education of their children. This only gets worse with the implementation of the CCSS. It is much easier to hold local elected officials accountable than to hold state or federal elected officials accountable. This is especially true for those in the SRVUSD, which is made up of mostly conservatives in the middle of an ultra-liberal state in the most liberal area of that state. The SRVUSD Board of Education should represent the interests of the parents who elected them, not the interests of the State of California or the federal government. From the parents and concerned citizens perspective, at the core of their questions is a desire to feel that their voice is being heard, and that they have a say in the education of their children. Based on the results of the December 10 board meeting, those parents and concerned citizens now know that they have no say in the education of their children as long as they are students in the SRVUSD. The solution? Parents (specifically fathers) need to take seriously their God-given responsibility for the education of their children (see Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Psalm 78:1-7; Ephesians 6:4). They need to remove them from an educational system over which they have no control. There was something else said by a board member at the meeting: “I am concerned by the people that say there is nothing wrong with the system the way it is.” I wholeheartedly agree. It is time to save our children and empty the public schools in this district. After all, “Education is too important to be left solely to the educators” (Francis Keppel).

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    1. 1  For example, see Homeschool Legal Defense Association's analysis at https://www.hslda.org/commoncore/analysis.aspx or for a really good summary see Joy Pullman's policy brief, “The Common Core: A Poor Choice for States”, http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/05-15-13_common_core_revised_policy_brief_version.pdf

    2. 2  For a complete list of the questions and the SRVUSD official answer see page 23-31 of the December 10 Board of Education Meeting Packet: http://srvusd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1275747798440/1275747792963/5444989277824842083.pdf

     

                3  See the study done by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute at: http://www.edexcellence.net/publications/final-     evaluation-of- NGSS.html

  2. 4  Foundationally, for example, any system that is funded through theft is inherently evil (see Exodus 20:15 and Ephesians 4:28), and any education system that does not begin with the fear of the Lord is inadequate (see Proverbs 1:7 and Ephesians 6:4).

For More information come to the meeting regarding Common Core in the East Bay www.eastbayteaparty.com/events

 

Written by: Jeff