“If it ain’t broke, fix it until it is,” seems to be the national education model du jour. The federal government (hiding behind the National Governor’s Association, the Chamber of Commerce, several professional teachers unions, school superintendent groups, and numerous business leaders) are determined to destroy education in our nation through any means necessary.
The Common Core State Standards have taken over the headlines nationally. As parents, and even some teachers, learn more about this program, they like it less. Parent-led groups in states across the nation frequent their local school board meetings, parent-teacher association meetings, and even education committee meetings in their state legislature in an effort to defeat the full implementation of the Common Core.
They have an uphill battle ahead of them.
There are billions of dollars to be had for implementing the standards. Bill and Melinda Gates have already donated several hundreds of millions toward getting the standards written and in the schools. Many school systems will also receive thousands of dollars in computers and software, if they haven’t received them already. What’s not to love about free money?
The problem is that the money is not free. It comes at the expense of educating our children! The Common Core Standards have little to do with ensuring that every student in every school system will receive an excellent education. Instead, the standards and the implementation of the teaching methods will develop a workforce of automatons capable of only doing what they are told. Students will not be taught to read phonetically (as most of their parents and all of their grandparents were). They will not be taught to calculate and understand that 2+2=4 every time. They will not be taught to express their thoughts through writing. Basically, they will not be taught to think for themselves.
As Edward R. Murrow once said, “A nation of sheep will beget a government of wolves.” We have become sheep in the last five decades and we see that our government is already composed of wolves. Yet, it will be much worse when there are no sheepdogs in place to protect the silly stupid sheep. All is not lost, at least not yet. We still have time to correct this, but we must get to work.
Take a look at Massachusetts. Sandra Stotsky, who served as senior associate commissioner in the Massachusetts Department of Education from 1999-2003, knows what good standards look like and how to implement them. She stated, “Massachusetts once had standards that looked nothing like Common Core, were judged to be among the best in the country, and have an empirical record of contributing to academic gains for all Bay State students. …
“Contrary to the implication by Petrilli and Brickman (of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute) that first-rate standards are not easy to implement, I know that it was easy to implement the Massachusetts 2001 English language arts and 2000 mathematics standards. How do I know? Because I was there. Bay State teachers did not moan and groan after these standards were officially approved by a Board of Education chaired by currently incoming Secretary of Education James Peyser. They simply implemented them without a fuss.” (see below for source)
Many states once looked to Massachusetts as a model for their own state standards. With 50 state boards of education, thousands of school systems, and hundreds of thousands of classrooms, our nation basically has numerous laboratories in which teachers, who are good at their jobs, can develop ideas based on the needs of the children in their classroom in any given year. If the teacher sees that the idea is working, then they can share it with the thousands of other teachers who may need a good plan to teach a skill in their own classroom. And when a teacher sees that an idea does not work, since he or she is not locked into teaching it that way, he or she can scrap the idea and try again (this former public school teacher was taught the phrase “monitor and adjust,” so I monitored the students in my classroom and adjusted as needed in order to teach).
This concept has worked for decades. Yet, for reasons completely incomprehensible, we want to fix something that isn’t broken. No, public schools are not perfect. Private schools, charter schools, and even homeschools, are not perfect. This is not because the methods we’ve used to teach children are bad. It is because man is not perfect. All children do not learn the same way. As a homeschooling mom, I only had two children with which to work, yet I had to buy two different sets of curriculum for them because they did not learn the same way. Multiply that to the average of 30 children in one classroom, 500-1000 per school, and hundreds of thousands per school district. Do you really think that one set of standards and methods applied to every child can possibly work?
As if this isn’t enough, we now have HB 5 being presented for a vote in Congress this week (possibly Tuesday, March 24th). If passed, among other things, this bill will give the federal government more rights over educating your child than you have.
“On page 567, Section 6564, we read that “…Other than the terms and conditions expressly approved by State law under the terms of this subpart, control over public education and parental rights to control the education of their children are vested exclusively within the autonomous zone of independent authority reserved to the states and individual Americans by the United States Constitution, other than the Federal Government’s undiminishable obligation to enforce minimum Federal standards of equal protection and due process.””(see below for source) I had to read this a couple of times before I caught this. While it says that parental rights to raise children are given to the states and parents, the Federal Government maintains the right to enforce their standards. But I don’t like their standards. Does this mean they will force me to teach my children something that I think is inappropriate or unnecessary? Yes, it does.
This legislation is even worse, though. It will also mean government control over private religious schools, provision for federal monitors in local schools, and federal takeover of private school funding. Please contact your congressman (see below for details) and ask them to vote NO on HB 5.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.” We must remain in contact with our elected leaders. We must allow our local school boards to have control over public education. We must stop taking federal dollars that come with a choke collar on our rights. We must remain vigilant. If not, our children will not learn to think for themselves and will be led to the slaughter like so many sheep.
This link will direct you to a page in which you will have to enter your zip code. Your congressman’s name will appear and you will be able to email him or her directly. Do this now. http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Photo for this article is credited to: http://www.stopcommoncoresoutheastflorida.com/