The state of Indiana recently passed into law the nation’s first (but probably not last) bill pushing back against the “Common Core” educational standards adopted by 46 American states. In an encouraging tale of how ordinary citizens can still bring about real, positive change in the face of overwhelming odds, this bill is largely the result of the efforts of two concerned moms who were willing to do whatever it took to fight back against destructive influences on their children’s education. Maggie Gallagher has the story on National Review Online.
As these moms learned, Common Core—far from being beneficial, despite wide bipartisan political support—actually lowers education standards at most schools. Rather than preparing students to excel, Common Core conforms students to the lowest level (which is the only way to achieve “equality” among students):
These standards are designed not to produce well-educated citizens but to prepare students to enter community colleges and lower-level jobs. All students, not just non-college-material students, are going to be taught to this lower standard.
And as with most things relating to public education, the ulterior motive has little to do with what’s best for children, and much to do with what’s best for the all-consuming State:
One major objection to the Common Core standards is that they are not evidence-based. Their effect on academic achievement is simply unknown, because they have not been field-tested anywhere in the world. But moms have a more elemental objection: The whole operation is a federal power grab over their children’s education. Once a state adopts Common Core, its curriculum goals and assessments are effectively nationalized. And the national standards are effectively privatized, because they are written, owned, and copyrighted by two private trade organizations.
Read the rest of the article here.
It’s no secret that I’m not a fan of government schooling, but as long as I’m being forced to pay for it, I’d like to see control of the schools localized, with the Board of each school system accountable to its local constituents. That’s impossible with a federally-mandated set of standards and standardized testing which forces public school teachers to dumb down their methods and teach to the test. Furthermore, I care deeply about the children in the public schools (though you’ll never see mine there) and have no desire to see them handicapped by an educational system designed to foster dependence on the State (see Luke 6:40). I pray that my state will follow in the path of the state in which I was born and raised.
P.S. — Last week I had the privilege of delivering the annual report for Highland Rim Academy, the local private school which I serve as President of the Board. During that address, I reasserted our Board’s commitment to refuse to accept vouchers, should the school voucher bill proposed by Governor Bill Haslam ever make it through our state legislature. The primary reason we are so opposed to receiving vouchers—which, on the surface, might seem a good way to bring new students into the school—is that accepting tax funding would force us to also accept state standards, which are far too low to allow us to accomplish our vision for the school. This is exactly what happened at the private school mentioned in the article posted above! Public money never comes without strings attached…