If not for the cloak of secrecy, by now you would have heard about the Common Core State Standards Initiative—the federal government’s drive to replace existing state education standards and to nationalize K-12 curriculum, testing and assessments across all 50 states and 55 million-plus students.
Republican and Democrat administrations are both responsible for Common Core, which grew out of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation and Barack Obama’s Race to the Top, an expansion of NCLB. To date, 45 states have accepted most or all of the content standards in exchange for increased federal education funding to their cash-strapped budgets. But as the public has become aware of this federal takeover of education and are demanding more information, states are having to answer to growing concerns:
1. The Common Core Initiative was developed by two tax-exempt private member organizations: the Council of Chief State School Offices (CCSSO) and the National Governor’s Association (NGA). While sounding official or credible, what this means is that local school districts, school teachers, parents and students are being handed a one-size-fits-all package of educational content and standards established by unknown, unelected, unaccountable private interests holding themselves up as experts.
2. Curriculum publishers have been making changes to their materials at a rapid rate to prepare for Common Core’s upcoming implementation. The major international publisher Pearson is aggressively involved in a number of aspects of Common Core, including testing and assessments, and is reportedly buying out other publishers in large numbers.
3. Student assessments are to involve the creation of data collection systems (data-mining), which will record personal information such as students’ health records, family income and other unique physical and behavioral characteristics, to be evaluated and shared with other federal and state agencies. Taxpayers will fund private organizations through grants and stimulus money to develop these database systems, such as CCSSO’s Education Data & Information Systems.
4. Some educators who have evaluated the English Language Arts and Mathematics standards have found them to be inadequate to prepare students for university-level studies. Absent trial implementation, no measurements of effectiveness are available.
5. It is expected that the imposition of Common Core standards and associated curriculum would not be limited to public education, but to private school and homeschool students too. According to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), “National standards lead to national curriculum and national tests, and subsequent pressure on homeschool students to be taught from the same curricula.” Further, if universities revised their admission criteria, basing it on one set of national education standards, versus the diverse standards of 50 states, private school and homeschool students would not be competitive applicants (if considered at all) if their high school transcripts were not aligned to Common Core State Standards.
The most troubling aspect of Common Core is its element of control. By bribing the states to accept a universal educational standard the federal government is effectively silencing the voices and eliminating the choices of local school districts, teachers, parents and even states—choices only they can make to meet the needs of their students. Fortunately, many of them are now speaking out, loudly. And it’s having an effect: states such as Texas, Utah, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Alaska and others are reevaluating their commitment to Common Core, some “pausing” implementation as they battle it out in their state legislatures, others writing opt-out legislation and some electing to withdraw.
The Libertarian Party of Ventura County calls for Choice in Education as a fundamental right.
We urge you to learn more by attending the Community Forum on Common Core in Thousand Oaks:
Monday, June 10, 2013 — 6 p.m.
Thousand Oaks High School Performing Arts Center
2323 N. Moorpark Rd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360