What Does the Common Core Mean for Homeschoolers?
As news spreads about the Common Core Standards (CCS), there is increasing concern both inside and outside the homeschool community, over what is happening to the education system of the United States. As a long-time student of education history and an advocate for broad, genuine education that leads to wisdom and virtue, I am certain that the sky isn’t falling.
It fell well over a century ago when classical education began to be displaced by “workforce training;” when the liberal arts were pushed aside in favor of the servile arts; when the quest for wisdom and virtue was replaced by a checklist of skills.
Despite the fact that the disarray in America’s institutional education system is nothing new, the Common Core Standards are concerning many parents. The CCS have been described as an effort to nationalize mediocrity and increase control over every aspect of K-12 education. Like any education topic, the CCS have many facets, so I’m linking to a variety of perspectives in the articles below.
If you find other helpful resources, please feel free to reference them in the comment section below. I may add information to the body of the post as I learn more, but I don’t plan to post endlessly on the subject–there are many watchmen on the wall who are already doing that. My focus will continue to be on casting a vision for what education is and can be. Next week’s post will discuss issues with literature and the Common Core, and after that, I’ll return to considering true education and a lifestyle of learning with the ultimate goal of developing wisdom and virtue.
To learn about the CCS, you may want to begin with the “Stop the Common Core” video series below. It will provide one answer to basic questions and help you understand some of the fundamental issues such as:
- What are the Common Core Standards?
- Who planned and financed the Common Core Standards and testing?
- Fundamental problems with national education standards
- Who is affected by the Common Core Standards?
Introduction to the Common Core Standards
Projected financial implications of the Common Core Standards
More information about the Common Core Standards
Building the Machine: A Movie About the Common Core– A documentary on CCS.
Here are many links providing useful information on the CCS. Although some of the sources have a more sensationalist tone than I am personally comfortable with, I am providing the links for informational purposes. You may decide which, if any, you care to read. Next week’s post will offer a look at writing and literature in the Common Core.
Catholic scholars blast Common Core in letter to U.S. bishops – This strongly worded letter critiques the philosophy and basic goals of the Common Core. One quote: “Common Core shortchanges the central goals of all sound education and surely those of Catholic education: to grow in the virtues necessary to know, love, and serve the Lord, to mature into a responsible, flourishing adult, and to contribute as a citizen to the process of responsible democratic self-government. Common Core adopts a bottom-line, pragmatic approach to education. The heart of its philosophy is, as far as we can see, that it is a waste of resources to ‘over-educate” people.'”
California and 47 other states are considering adopting common-core state standards for K-12 in math and English language arts. Ze’ev Wurman, who helped develop California’s standards in the 1990s, explains his opposition to Common Core in an April 2010 interview with The Educated Guess’s John Fensterwald.
How Common Core Devalues Great Literature by Anthony Esolen in Crisis Magazine — Beginning with a letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Kenneth Grahame, the author of The Wind in the Willows, the ever-eloquent Esolen delivers a thought-provoking critique of the “relentless, contemptible, soul-cramping, story-killing, pseudo-sophisticated, utilitarian focus not on the beauty and truth and goodness that good art reveals, not on the imaginative worlds that good books can open up to someone simply willing to receive them as gifts on their own terms and enter into them with gratitude, but upon scrambling up supposed skills in suspicion, superficial criticism, and dissection.”
Common Core vs. great literature: Fresh reason to fear that works of fiction, poetry and theater may get short shrift when new standards arrive — An article from New York Daily News
The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core
by Hillsdale College professor, Terrence O. Moore
New Data Show California Kids’ Math Achievement Took A Nosedive After Common Core (The Federalist, 5/16/2018)
Meet the New Math, Unlike the Old Math (Wired, 10/8/2016) About 2/3 of the way down is some very interesting thoughts on teaching science, including “storylining” and models, which are good homeschool teaching methods.
An explanation of one Common Core math problem; the comments on this post are interesting, too.
Common Core Doesn’t Add Up to STEM Success: The high-school math standards are too weak to give us more engineers or scientists. An article by Sandra Stotsky in the Wall Street Journal.
An alternate viewpoint: The Stereotypes That Distort How Americans Teach and Learn Math by Jo Boaler in The Atlantic.
Why isn’t Common Core working? A 2016 article by Dr. William Klemm from Psychology Today.
Daniel Pink on Control vs. Motivation: This 6 minute video offers a quick look at motivation–it’s something to think about in light of all the testing students are subject to. Consider also the perspective of educators who must function in this way.
The Cardinal Newman Society offers extensive, frequently updated information on the Common Core and its implications.
Cato Institute Articles: This is a page of links to articles the Cato Institute has published on the Common Core Standards.
Who’s Minding the Schools? is a Common Core critique by professors Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus in the New York Times.
Two Moms vs. the Common Core: An article from National Review
Jamie Gass and Charles Chieppo: Common Core Education Is Uncommonly Inadequate: From the Wall Street Journal
This blog post by Kevin T. Brady and Stephen M. Klugewicz at The Imaginative Conservative seeks to inject a little balance into the discussion about the Common Core. One quote: “What conservatives seem not to appreciate is that the Common Core is not likely to push education to the Left because teachers and educational bureaucracies already tend to lean Left.” Whether you identify with right, left, or neither, this article is worth reading.
Pioneer Public Policy Research Institute offers a number of thoughtful articles on the Common Core.
Bill Evers on the counter-manifesto against a ‘national curriculum‘: Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, discusses “Closing the Door on Innovation — Why One National Curriculum is Bad for America,” with TOP-Ed.org’s John Fensterwald.
An article from the Washington Post: A ridiculous Common Core test for first graders
Article: It’s Official: The Feds Control Common Core – No surprise here – “Washington will soon be directly regulating what America’s schoolchildren learn and on what they are tested.” Read more: http://americansforprosperity.org/legislativealerts/its-official-the-feds-control-common-core/#ixzz2Qq1ojhvE
Michelle Malkin‘s four-part series on the Common Core (from a politically conservative perspective), plus a post with reader feedback, including comments from many teachers. I did not read everything here; the tone is strident.
- Rotten to the Core, Part 1: Obama’s War on Academic Standards
- Rotten to the Core, Part 2: Readin’, writin’ and deconstructionism
- Rotten to the Core, Part 3: Lessons from Texas and the Growing Grassroots Revolt
- Rotten to the Core, Part 4: The Feds’ Invasive Student Tracking Database
- Rotten to the Core: Reader Feedback from the Frontlines
Keep Education Local offers a one-page summary of the issues, as well as a video and other information.
Stop Common Core: Reclaiming Local Control in Education has a well-organized collection of information.
Common Core Draws the Wrath of Local Parents This article from The Daily News in Wyoming covers specific areas of parent frustration, especially frustration over the lack of instruction in basic math concepts, teaching of literature without any knowledge context, and other issues.
State groups discussing Common Core
There are many state-specific groups discussing the Common Core Standards. I am including a list of those I’ve run across, with the caveat that I have not read everything on these sites, and thus cannot specifically endorse them. I am providing the list for information only–I hope you’ll find them helpful.
- Alabama: http://www.auee.org/
- Arizona: http://arizonansagainstcommoncore.com/
- California: http://cuacc.org/
- Florida: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Florida/516780045031362
- Georgia: https://www.facebook.com/StopCommonCoreInGeorgia
- Idaho: http://idahoansforlocaleducation.com/
- Illinois: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Illinois/388021897963618 and http://nocommoncore.blogspot.com/
- Indiana: http://hoosiersagainstcommoncore.com/
- Iowa: https://www.facebook.com/IowansforLocalControl
- Louisiana: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Louisiana/349424158491119
- Michigan: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Michigan/303312003109291
- Missouri: http://moagainstcommoncore.webs.com/
- New Hampshire: http://twitter.com/EDactivistNH
- New York: http://twitter.com/StopCommonCinNY
- Ohio: https://www.facebook.com/OhioCommonCore
- Oklahoma: http://restoreokpubliceducation.com/node/751
- Pennsylvania: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pennsylvanians-Against-Common-Core/566916409995216
- South Carolina: https://www.facebook.com/StopCommonCoreInSouthCarolina
- Tennessee: http://tnacc.weebly.com/
- Utah: http://www.utahnsagainstcommoncore.com/ and http://www.utahsrepublic.org/tag/common-core-standards/
- Wisconsin: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Stop-Common-Core-in-Wisconsin/185213384959404