If you are the parent of a school-aged child, by now you have heard of Common Core State Standards. (CCSS) If you are familiar with Common Core, you might also know that in recent months there has been much controversy surrounding this new curriculum.
What is Common Core?
Common Core is an initiative funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to standardize education benchmarks across the country. Common Core is not a boxed curriculum, it does not provide, nor outline, every lesson or create lessons plans for teachers. Schools and teachers still need to come up with their own lessons to teach the specific skills that the Common Core standards have laid out for each grade level. The standards clearly communicate what is expected of students in each grade. To date, 45 states have adopted the standards.
Why the need for Common Core?
The CCSS initiative is an attempt to deal with inconsistent academic expectations from state-to-state and an increasing number of inadequately prepared high school graduates by setting consistent standards for grades K-12 in English, language arts and math.
Common Core controversy
Common Core State Standards divides both major political parties, as well as faith communities, parents, homeschool families and educators.
Advocates of Common Core look to the curriculum as a turn in the right direction for the future of education across America. Supporters argue that American schools aren’t rigorous enough and the new national standards will help every student prepare for college or a career. Some business groups support Common Core and believe it to be necessary in order to raise educational performance.
Many opposed to Common Core do support standards in education, but do not support top-down government-driven standards. Children are unique and those opposed to CCSS believe that a cookie-cutter approach to education will not work for all children. Some have gone as far as calling Common Core socialist. There is a common belief amongst those opposed to CCSS, that we will create great test takers, not inquisitive students with entrepreneurial minds.
Some conservative parents dislike the reading lists in an appendix that debuted with Common Core. They are wholeheartedly against the increased emphasis on informational texts that could take the place of classic literature, as well as disturbing fiction books that have been considered pornographic. However, there are no requirements that those fictional readings be assigned. Each local school board will choose their own specific reading list.
Another complaint about Common Core is that it will discourage bright students who will have to follow the learning path and level of the rest of their class; these bright children will not receive the well-rounded education that they deserve.
Parents have gone to great lengths to prevent their children from being taught Common Core standards, including pulling their children out of public school in objection to CCSS.
Many homeschool communities have also opposed CCSS.
“As a homeschooling mom, Common Core disturbs me for several reasons. For one thing, I worry it will limit homeschoolers’ freedom of choice. Educational freedom is a touchstone for every homeschooling parent, so that’s a huge concern. Additionally, I’m dismayed for all children — my kids’ peers in any school. Each child is a uniquely designed individual and no one should be put on an educational assembly line where all must master the same things, in the same way, at the same time, at the same pace. But that’s the de facto result of Common Core and it’s patently inhumane.” said Tina Hollenbeck, owner of Homeschool Road Map and a leader in the fight against Common Core.
How do you feel about the new Common Core standards. Do you think a one-size-fits-all education will work?