Proponents of the Common Core State Standards often claim opponents are misinformed. More often than not, I see indication that many opponents are more informed than most proponents. Opponents have often done their homework and provide references to support their position while proponents repeat boilerplate CCSS promotional talking points as if saying it and printing it enough times will make it true.
Christel Swasey has written a great op-ed piece appropriately titled We’re Not Misinformed; We Know What Common Core Is, And We Reject It. Christel is an informed parent and teacher in Utah. She posts information at http://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com, She has given permission for her op-ed to be published here. With her blessing a few changes have been made so this op-ed applies to Washington—so basically where it said Utah it has been changed to say Washington. Some document links were changed to direct you to Washington specific documents rather than Utah documents.
We’re Not Misinformed; We Know What Common Core Is, And We Reject It.
It’s not “state-led.” The authors of the copyrighted Common Core are private entities, not subject to open meetings, accountability to voters or other proof being state-led. Conditions of the federal ESEA waiver and Race to the Top application show how federally-pushed the Common Core agenda was. Now Obama has announced a tax to pay for Common Core technology in a ConnectEd Initiative, and has announced that he will redesign U.S. high schools.
How state-led does that sound?
It’s not academically legitimate. There’s no evidence to back up claims that the standards increase college readiness as they are experimental. The standards were written by D.C. groups who opined that classic literature should be curtailed to favor information texts. These groups felt that basic algorithms should be taught at delayed times. The unvetted ideas, unsupported by academic research, formed Common Core.
It’s not minimalistic. Proponents call it a set of minimum standards. But a 15% cap was placed over the copyrighted standards by the federal government, limiting Washington from adding much. Worse, the Common Core tests, with teacher evaluations geared to them, act as the ultimate enforcement mechanism.
It’s not amendable. The D.C.-based system defines and narrows learning yet has no amendment process.
It’s not protective of privacy. Along with asking us to adopt Common Core, the federal government pushed the State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS) which now exist in each state. These give aggregate information to an Edfacts Data Exchange. Although private information gathered by schools, found in an SLDS, is not required to be given to D.C., it is requested. Federal entities request that states share identifiable student information: see the Common Education Data Standards, the Data QualityCampaign, and the National Data Collection Model.
To make matters worse, the Department of Education altered federal regulations in the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) reducing parental consent requirements and redefining “authorized representative,” “directory information” and “education agency” to obliterate privacy.
These pieces form a yet-unfinished puzzle that will destroy student privacy, but we are told the puzzle will not be put together. Then why did Washington build an SLDS to federal specifications?
Washington parents should opt their children out of the SLDS tracking and the Common Core tests, and should find answers to important questions, such as:
- Where is the legal authority for entities outside Washington to set school standards and to monitor tests?
- Where is a line-item, Washington-specific discussion of the cost of Common Core technologies, teacher trainings, and textbooks?
- Why didn’t Washington follow the U.S. leader in education, Massachusetts, rather than adopting the mediocre Core?
- How is Common Core state-led when boards who are not accountable to the public bypassed parents and 99% of all teachers and legislators, operating behind closed doors to develop and copyright the experiment?
- Where is evidence that the standards are legitimate and that they do not harm?