What are Common Core State Standards? If you are familiar with the term at all, you are maybe one out of 10 Americans who is.
I have made it a point in recent speaking engagements and in person-to-person conversations to see just how many folks are aware of what is happening. It’s hard to believe that Common Core is in its fourth year and so few people have a clue about it.
Common Core is a new set of national educational standards that are being implemented right now. It is being implemented without any field testing or any indication of whether it will work or not. It was created without input from parents, teachers, school districts or legislators. It is a huge nationwide experiment.
Early results are showing that the whole unproven concept will not work. Assessments (tests) in New York state, which began implementation early, are very discouraging. One district, where students had scored 90 percent proficient in National Assessment of Educational Progress testing, showed only 30 percent of students with a passing grade. For New York state as a whole, results for students from third to eighth grade showed only 26 percent passed the English assessment and 70 percent failed the math test.
Those numbers are a condemnation of both the curriculum and the assessment process.
The history of Common Core State Standards carries with it some of the aroma of the federal health care law, the Affordable Care Act in that you have to do it before you can find what it’s about.
Governors of 46 states and leaders in Washington, D.C. bought into the program in 2009 before there were any standards written at all. It was a money thing – “stimulus money” was to be had in a competition called Race to the Top. Governors bought into it. No one had any real say. It was a done deal.
Now school districts are faced with two choices: implement and do the best you can or implement and do the best you can. They have no options. They must use curriculum that is aligned to the Common Core Standards. The people who created the assessments have told us that the assessments (tests) will create the curriculum model.
Here in California, the implementation costs are something like $1.5 billion, partially subsidized by the federal government (still your money), but there are no funds available for maintaining the program. If you are a parent or grandparent who has family going into this mess, you need to learn more about it and determine what your options are.
You have an opportunity to do just that. A town hall meeting on Common Core will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Ulatis Community Center in Vacaville. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
I freely admit that I am strongly opposed to Common Core for many reasons. But the town hall panel discussion will have presentations by experts representing both views of whether Common Core is good or bad. I suggest you come and make up your own mind after you hear the facts on both sides. Glen Faison, managing editor of the Daily Republic, will serve as moderator.
I plan to be there with information fliers, some with facts about Common Core that you can take home with you. More important, I will be handing out information on how you can keep your child or grandchild out of objectionable sex education classes. There will also be information on how to prevent the school district from collecting private information about your child and your family. In addition, I will give out links to how to teach your child at home, including contacts at local homeschooling support groups.
Finally, I will provide some information on how you, your child or other family member can get a degree from a regionally accredited college home-school program.
Come to the town hall panel discussion Sept. 25 and find out what is true and what is possible. Make an evening of it. Bring your friends and neighbors. I’ll see you there.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.