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reefgazer1963
05-25-2013, 06:04 AM
What are everyone's thoughts on the common core curriculum as it relates to homeschooling? on one hand, it seems not to affect us, and on the other hand, I think it will directly affect us if the SAT/PSAT/ACT becomes aligned with the common core. Not to mention the extensive data collection. I haven't seen a discussion of it on here and was wondering what everyone's thoughts are on it?

rueyn
05-25-2013, 07:36 AM
There was a long discussion when it first came out. Check out the thread here (http://www.secularhomeschool.com/secular-homeschooling/8670-can-we-talk-common-core.html). Honestly? I haven't thought much about it since the beginning. It doesn't really impact me, and I hope I can say that throughout my son's schooling :)

Crystal830
05-25-2013, 08:02 AM
Many homeschool curriculum companies seem to working towards aligning themselves with the CCS, so it effects more of us than we realize. That could either be good or bad depending on how you feel about it. Someone on one of my homeschool groups posted this link a couple weeks ago.

The Educational Freedom Coalition (http://www.theeducationalfreedomcoalition.org/)

This group has started keeping an database tracking who is making changes and who isn't.

leakyowl
05-25-2013, 09:33 AM
I read through and printed out the common core standards while I was considering how best to teach my son. I also printed out the state's curriculum standards (the TEKS in Texas). I wanted to make sure that, if this homeschooling experiment failed, my son could easily reintegrate back into the PS system. The core standards are fairly generic, which leaves lots of options of how best to align the standards. The Texas system gives a list of the people a student should learn about one year in social studies, for example. The common core's history standards (which are oddly a branch of their English Language Arts standards, along with science) is more general. Essentially, it looks a bit like the classical education model--grammar, logic, rhetoric levels--it looks more like a set of techniques to be mastered to foster critical thinking and proper information evaluation rather than a list of dates, names, and biographies to be memorized.

dutchessoftexas
06-01-2013, 08:54 AM
I keep common core on the back burner and since I live in Texas it's something that I don't really have to teach. However, I do use it as a weak guideline. I agree with leakyowl completely. If for some reason my kids had to go to PS they would be on track. Also, SAT/ACT preparation is a must and keeping common core in our sights, even a little, will definitely benefit us in the long run. We are focusing on trivium and are doing "school at home" and are very structured. So far so good.

farrarwilliams
06-01-2013, 10:12 AM
It's not just Texas. As far as I know, absolutely no homeschoolers are required to follow Common Core.

The more I read about it, the more cynical I've gotten. I started out thinking it was more of the same, but maybe a little better because there were some decent things about parts of it. Now I'm a step away from thinking it's all a giant corporate conspiracy to bilk Americans out of billions through fear tactics and poor teaching.

ETA: In saner moments, I take off my tin foil hat and don't blame Melinda Gates for the whole thing or anything crazy. ;) I think many of these people want to do right by US schools because they see them floundering. I just think when you add in Pearson and some of these other companies, it does become all about profit. And the Gates Foundation and some of these other NGO's that are driving this have a real trust of corporations as innovators and good managers so they have put trust in them here. Which is often true - companies may not be people, but they do have reasons to innovate and manage things well. Except not in this case. In this case, the more the kids are tested, the more money they make. The more they drill for the tests, the more money they make. The more worried everyone is, the more help they buy and the more money they make. The more the kids fail, the more retests, and the more money they make. And the more often they tweak things and realign them, the more the districts have to replace everything and retrain everyone and the more money they make. So all their profit comes from the failure of these tests, not their success. Which is really, really backwards.

Imagine I'm that person on your Facebook feed who can't stop wailing about Monsanto and GMO's. Except I'm wailing, "Pearson!" and "Testing!"

koalaborg
06-01-2013, 10:19 AM
I agree with you Farrar. I have no faith in Common Core - all I see is money to be made for textbook companies and testing companies, and more testing for kids in school. I am in Texas where we have CSCOPE but I don't really pay any attention to that either. I figure I am in this for the long haul, and it doesn't matter if I am on track year to year according to state standards. We will deal with PSAT/SAT/ACT when we get closer.

mpippin
06-01-2013, 10:25 AM
Common Core = The dumbing down of America. We should never let a private organization dictate what our children learn. When something like education of children in public school becomes paid for by a private organization, one has to wonder what the motives are. One size fits all is never a good solution. Since I am definitely NOT trying to reproduce a public education, I actively seek to avoid all things common core. I'm helping to mold people with unique abilities and personalies, not drones who churn out the same product.

Seems to me Common Core is helping to build the next generation of 9-5 workers, and a way to make more money on poorly-written text books.

Also, it is a cluster feck as far as implementation goes. The right hand doesn't seem to know what the left hand is doing, and everyone is left to interpret CCS their own way.

Kimberlapoderosa
06-01-2013, 10:32 AM
My ex husband is taking a math class at the art institute that is an online Pearson creation. Every time he complains about it I laugh. I agree that the while common core deal is all about money. Maybe my tin foil hat is even bigger but I see all of education bring pushed toward privatation/ for profit crap.

farrarwilliams
06-01-2013, 11:01 AM
I think it's not exactly dumbing down. Some of the standards are actually really high. It's just that they're so rigid and everything around them is so driven toward spending and not toward helping kids. And just because something is aligned to the CC doesn't mean it's any good. I mean, EVERYDAY MATH is aligned to the CC. That should say it all on some level.

ScienceGeek
06-01-2013, 12:47 PM
We homeschool thru a charter school which means the kids have to take the STAR (standardized test) every year. I hate it but learned in graduate school how to beat these kind of tests so the kids do fine and the charter leaves us alone. But they just made all the parents sit thru a a brief introduction to these standards that they will start phasing in next year and along with them comes a new test. The only good news is that they won't be tested every year and my oldest will probably miss it all together. I really don't see much difference in the standards which are all goobley gook anyway. I'v never followed them, never picked curriculum because its 'aligned' and won't now. I kept laughing in the seminar because they were stressing that we shouldn't go out and buy all new curriculum that say they align to the common core... My tolerance for the charter school is decreasing each year but its sooo nice to spend their money (well, my tax dollars) on piano classes and other expenses.

JennyD
06-01-2013, 02:13 PM
I just think when you add in Pearson and some of these other companies, it does become all about profit. And the Gates Foundation and some of these other NGO's that are driving this have a real trust of corporations as innovators and good managers so they have put trust in them here. Which is often true - companies may not be people, but they do have reasons to innovate and manage things well. Except not in this case. In this case, the more the kids are tested, the more money they make. The more they drill for the tests, the more money they make. The more worried everyone is, the more help they buy and the more money they make. The more the kids fail, the more retests, and the more money they make. And the more often they tweak things and realign them, the more the districts have to replace everything and retrain everyone and the more money they make. So all their profit comes from the failure of these tests, not their success. Which is really, really backwards.

Imagine I'm that person on your Facebook feed who can't stop wailing about Monsanto and GMO's. Except I'm wailing, "Pearson!" and "Testing!"

Move over on that tin-foiled bench, farrarwilliams. I keep reading all of this folderol about CC and thinking about just how much public money is going to be funneled into these private channels. All in the name of 'accountability,' of course.

trulycrabby
06-01-2013, 03:31 PM
I'm somewhat familiar with common core because DS9 was in public schoo last yearl and their math text was the Pearsons Common Core. It wasn't bad, actually, but some of the problems were so badly worded that my math genius husband was ?????? regarding what they were asking. I also found it light on practice problems, which my son thrives upon. I did warm up to the mental math, but I thought they made it rigid rather than helpful and intuitive. With many word problems, the text seemed to try to take the math out of math to the extent that sometimes the questions were not clear.

I considered using the Common Core text for DS9's 4th grade math, but Saxon and Singapore Math are so far superior that I purchased them instead.

dbmamaz
06-01-2013, 03:56 PM
too bad they cant spend money on teachers . . . on teacher training . . on retaining teachers who actually like teaching . . . instead they try to make teaching kinda like fast food work . . . with interchangeable workers using a proscribed, repeatable method.

kadylaha
06-04-2013, 07:38 PM
Here's the ultimate pudding-for-brains question:

What the heck is Common Core?

farrarwilliams
06-04-2013, 10:10 PM
Here's the ultimate pudding-for-brains question:

What the heck is Common Core?

It's a non-profit (but privately funded) initiative to institute a single curriculum for the entire nation. It only covers skills (literacy, writing, math, logic) not content (history, science, government, etc.). The vast majority of states are in the process of implementing it.

farrarwilliams
06-04-2013, 10:12 PM
By the way... I was reminded today how COMPLETELY whackadoodle a lot of the anti-CC stuff is when someone on my FB feed apparently commented on a link about how CC is all about indoctrinating kids into communism. Oh, good grief. Argue the case on its merits and don't make sh*t up.

RachelC
06-04-2013, 10:44 PM
By the way... I was reminded today how COMPLETELY whackadoodle a lot of the anti-CC stuff is when someone on my FB feed apparently commented on a link about how CC is all about indoctrinating kids into communism. Oh, good grief. Argue the case on its merits and don't make sh*t up.

Sigh. This is the main argument here, along with indoctrinating the kids with their LIBERAL AGENDA. Bill Gates is after their souls, and he wants to fill their heads with nonsense about equality and global ideas.


It is hard for me not the jump on the side of Common Core for those reasons alone: most of the opposition here (Utah) is sooooo ridiculous. Everyone is like, sign our petition! Go to this sit-in! It's un-American! Ugh.

dbmamaz
06-04-2013, 11:20 PM
what about the people who say common core is all about putting all data about your kids in a central database, where does that come from?

totally TOTALLy off topic, but when you were explaining it covers skills not content, it reminded me that today we were reading Phantom Tollbooth and we got to Digitopolis, and Raven complained that there isnt a city about science. Bitterly complained.

kristens6102
06-04-2013, 11:26 PM
Our PS district is struggling mightily with implementing the Common Core standards and what is falling by the wayside is actual education. All of the things that help the kids learn (field trips, arts, science) is being cut because these things don't mesh with the CC. The administration is entrenched in this way of thinking, and keeps fighting with parents, teachers etc to try to get us all to jump on board. We're homeschooling soon because I keep seeing this vision of an old Simpsons episode where the schools are taken over by a private company and the kids spend all day playing video games, eating candy and being exploited by for profit "educational consulting firms"...hmmm... my daughter is counting the days and so am I!

JenRay
06-05-2013, 12:03 AM
By the way... I was reminded today how COMPLETELY whackadoodle a lot of the anti-CC stuff is when someone on my FB feed apparently commented on a link about how CC is all about indoctrinating kids into communism. Oh, good grief. Argue the case on its merits and don't make sh*t up.


Sigh. This is the main argument here, along with indoctrinating the kids with their LIBERAL AGENDA. Bill Gates is after their souls, and he wants to fill their heads with nonsense about equality and global ideas.

Really? Well this explains a lot. My (too conservative) in-laws were visiting a couple weeks ago. First my MIL said something like, "I'm of mixed mind about how long you should homeschool, but I am so tickled you are doing this when they are so young." Maybe you have to know my MIL to know how back-handed this was. I mean I am glad she supports us (that was a nice surprise actually!) But I could.NOT.care.less how long she thinks I should do it. But then she starts asking me about CC, and if I am teaching it and so on. Seemed weird that she would bring it up, but I just answered with a sort of meh. As a homeschooler I don't really have to worry about it, if we had immediate plans to put them in PS, I might have to look into it more and make curriculum changes, but we don't. Might be good in some case, but it is too one-size-fits-all to actually fit all, textbook publishers and test publishers will be the big winners, etc. etc. And she had some whackadoodle response about how she was glad I wasn't using it because of the indoctrination or something like that. It didn't even make sense to me, so I am not sure what she said. I am sure I looked at her like she had three heads! I said, "I don't think we are talking about the same thing. Are you sure you mean Common Core Standards?" She wasn't sure I guess, or she just decided to not go there with her liberal DIL, because she backed off. I just chalked it up to her being mistaken, but now I think not. She has also called me before to recommend some curriculum she heard about on the radio. I looked it up, and it was some crazy conservative libertarian political business. Talk about indoctrination! (No offense to the libertarians here - some of it makes sense to me, but I get off the bus FAR earlier than my MIL.) I honestly can't believe this is an argument against CC, especially when there are so many VALID concerns about it.

hsjar00
06-05-2013, 12:29 AM
You want to talk about whackadoodle, let's talk about educational testing. Right out of college I put my freshly minted English degree to work as an editor at an educational testing company (not Pearson, though we did partner with them on some projects). I worked on many criterion-referenced tests for many states. Seeing the inner workings of that industry made me resolute that I would somehow get my future children out of any standardized testing in school. (Ultimately not one of the reasons why we chose to homeschool, but a nice perk.) This was right about the time NCLB was implemented, and I don't think it would be an understatement to say that there was a gleeful air about the industry as new tests were ordered and created. Although I've been out of that industry for awhile, I can only imagine the giddiness now. The creation of the tests and the stakes they hold boggles my mind. So, while I've looked into CC a little, I can't look very hard or for very long yet.

reefgazer1963
06-05-2013, 07:06 AM
in addition to worrying about if testing for college will be aligned to the common core, privacy is really one of my main concerns. this law has a FERPA and a HIPPA waiver, so the public schools (and anyone else like testing companies) that gets their hands on your child's private data, can share it with anyone (even employers) without parental consent or knowledge.

farrarwilliams
06-05-2013, 07:33 AM
what about the people who say common core is all about putting all data about your kids in a central database, where does that come from?

totally TOTALLy off topic, but when you were explaining it covers skills not content, it reminded me that today we were reading Phantom Tollbooth and we got to Digitopolis, and Raven complained that there isnt a city about science. Bitterly complained.

The data thing is sadly real. Ostensibly it's data already kept locally, it will greatly aid kids in transferring school to school, and will streamline record keeping. I don't actually have a huge problem with the govt keeping my kids test scores - if I sent them to govt schools, that would be completely reasonable. But this will be kept by a private company. Like with CC, I think the intentions are good and the conspiracy theories are nuts. But I think having an organization who doesn't have a strong impetus to protect kds keeping this data is a big problem.

As for the Phantom Tollbooth, that sounds like an awesome free write! Milo explores scienceville - what does he see there?

dbmamaz
06-05-2013, 09:52 AM
As for the Phantom Tollbooth, that sounds like an awesome free write! Milo explores scienceville - what does he see there?
I like that idea! I told it to Raven and he ignored me. But he's chatting with a buddy online while they play minecraft together and we start school in 7 minutes so he's . . . focused elsewhere

jessica14
06-05-2013, 10:05 PM
Sigh. This is the main argument here, along with indoctrinating the kids with their LIBERAL AGENDA. Bill Gates is after their souls, and he wants to fill their heads with nonsense about equality and global ideas.


It is hard for me not the jump on the side of Common Core for those reasons alone: most of the opposition here (Utah) is sooooo ridiculous. Everyone is like, sign our petition! Go to this sit-in! It's un-American! Ugh.

I'm about half way through the thread and I just had to comment that this is ALL I ever hear and I tend to think that if its about the above, then I'm totally for it! I really find nothing wrong with national standards. After having a conversation with someone who thought about hsing, I realize its about the "agenda." She was basically going off about the "values" that she doesn't want her kids to learn, like all families are equal, because, in her words its "not the norm and shouldn't be presented that way. Men can't have babies by themselves for a reason." I had a feeling after listening to her that this is what its about for some people.

I don't think its being implemented well, but I don't think Bill Gates is evil incarnate either. And people totally believe that's what its about. Data collection! Wristbands that could cause cancer! Equal rights! I think people should worry more about evolution being taught along (or ignored) in favor of creationism. But then again, I think those are the same people who fear the CC. It will probably take a few years to get things up and rolling and have the text books be more appropriate. From what the head of the NYC teacher's association said, its about critical thinking (the good) but teachers are not getting training (the bad) and its mostly about tests (the ugly).

Not to get off topic, but I'm kind of sick of all this FB fear mongering about this and any number of other things that simply are not true or so off the mark as to what something truly is about. It's getting to the point where I am just saying well, there is another side to it. What I want to say is, "OK, this is just not true. Do some reading and figure it out. And read both sides, not just the 'the world is imploding' side."

RachelC
06-05-2013, 10:37 PM
Not to get off topic, but I'm kind of sick of all this FB fear mongering about this and any number of other things that simply are not true or so off the mark as to what something truly is about. It's getting to the point where I am just saying well, there is another side to it. What I want to say is, "OK, this is just not true. Do some reading and figure it out. And read both sides, not just the 'the world is imploding' side."

Ugh. Totally. All the information is at there, and at your fingertips. Freakin R E A D. When you link to an article about an article about a study, or someone's blog, that is NOT evidence to support your point. Go to the actual study and find out the details, then read some analysis not by your favorite pundit-wannabe. It might cut into your Candy Crush time, but at least your 'argument' might make some sense.

Soooo, I totally hear you, Jessica.

Jeni
06-05-2013, 11:17 PM
It's a non-profit (but privately funded) initiative to institute a single curriculum for the entire nation. It only covers skills (literacy, writing, math, logic) not content (history, science, government, etc.). The vast majority of states are in the process of implementing it.

Thank you for making that clear. I've been following along since this all came out, but that was by far the most easily understood synopsis.


Sigh. This is the main argument here, along with indoctrinating the kids with their LIBERAL AGENDA. Bill Gates is after their souls, and he wants to fill their heads with nonsense about equality and global ideas.

This is exactly why I've had trouble really getting cranked up about it. That's all I hear around here. It's all anti liberal, the devil is working, the government is after our kids crap. It makes me want to love common core for that reason alone.

crunchynerd
06-06-2013, 07:57 AM
Farrar, your analysis brought to mind our model for healing and doctoring (the more pathology, the more money to be made, and the profit motive is only served by people NOT being well and able). We have a serious problem when corporations are free to profit from human failing, human misery, human ills, because they get to position themselves as the sellers of the solutions, but naturally, providing a real solution that actually does away with the problem, would work them right out of a job. Real solutions aren't profitable. Getting people dependent on your company and your products, and keeping them dependent for life, allows you to siphon profits from them, cradle to grave, and that's the ultimate business plan.

Gates foundation is also working hard to ensure its vision of "health" on 3rd world countries, for the greater good of course. But if having corporations that are now larger, richer, and more powerful than governments (or in all but name, ARE the governments because of a lack of enforced anti-trust regulations against political leaders also being board members and stakeholders in the very corporations they are supposed to make decisions on for the good of 'the people'), then there is no adequate way, at present, for human beings to use democracy effectively, to overpower corporate interests through our political system. I don't know what the answer is.

reefgazer1963
06-10-2013, 11:14 PM
I find it appalling that every time the federal government gets involved in "education reform", the literacy rate falls and the expense of the program increases. I am for local control of school boards because then when parents have a complaint, they have someone to hold accountable. when federal standards rule a state function like education, it is very difficult for parents to hold anyone accountable. has anyone read john taylor gatto's "weapons of mass instruction"?

atomicgirl
06-11-2013, 11:40 AM
By the way... I was reminded today how COMPLETELY whackadoodle a lot of the anti-CC stuff is when someone on my FB feed apparently commented on a link about how CC is all about indoctrinating kids into communism. Oh, good grief. Argue the case on its merits and don't make sh*t up.

This is precisely why I'm only reading this thread now. I read a short book on CC last August before we took out daughter out of PS, and then decided not to worry about it yet. At the time it seemed like just another (likely ineffectual) attempt to re-org the public education system, and I wanted to wait and see how things shook out before really forming an opinion. Since then I've been actively avoiding the whole subject, because up to now, the only conversations I've stumbled on about CC have included a lot of hyperbolic "indoctrination" language, which I just didn't understand. So far I have to admit that I've put most of the vehement anti-CC talk in the same mental chamber as "young earth" chatter. You, however, made a really good point about corporate profit motive, that I hadn't considered until now.

jessica14
06-13-2013, 10:14 AM
Coming back to this thread because the whole topic has been coming up on our homeschool group FB page. I don't like to be challenging or contrary or confrontational (which was actually the subject of one of my blogs, where I am still worried about offending someone), but the article printed was all about how this will ruin homeschooling. I SO wanted to say, "Your kidding, right?" Arguments in the article (which were agreed with by most) include its the Obama administrations fault, look what happened to the German family who wanted asylum, our kids will have to write and verbalize how they came up with the answer and there is only one correct way, and you shouldn't support any textbooks with "Common Core" on the cover. Throw in dumbing down of America to keep us complacent. I addressed that this is from both sides of the aisle giving Texas wanting to remove critical thinking from curriculum and using all their textbooks as an example. I also added the need for kids to explain their methodology (DH is a scientist and can't believe that people are against this)or they will never compete in math and science on a global scale. I wanted to add that the German case has nothing to do with our homeschooling laws and writing is something you HAVE to know how to do. I know lots of kids have issues writing, mine included, but as DH said too bad, you better learn if you want to succeed in many fields. I didn't even address the dumbing down, because that to me feeds into the liberal agenda thing. Yeah, I can see the Administration wanting to do all it can to have us be as uncompetive as possible in a global economy. I need to do more research. Teaching to the test is not OK. Kind of not pleased about a corporation taking over education either, but I don't have a huge problems with basic skills being taught nationwide. So many kids don't have that basic knowledge. So glad I can come here to vent a bit!

reefgazer1963
07-03-2013, 11:32 PM
just a few comments in regards to the bolded, below (intended to be non-confrontational):

1. I think the german case is very relevant to every American, especially religious homeschoolers. we hold the right to worship as we please sacrosanct; it is embedded in our constitution. the german family is requesting asylum based on religious persecution because of instructions in the bible telling them that children should be taught by no one other than their parents. this is the same argument that religious homeschoolers have used for many years to gain homeschool freedoms that we all enjoy now. this argument has greatly benefitted us as non-religious homeschoolers because those religious homeschoolers have won court cases based on this argument. let's leave aside the validity of that religious belief, and instead look at the fact that it is a clearly held religious belief and according to our constitution, should be protected. what the Obama administration is arguing then, is that religious beliefs are not worthy of constitutional protection. given some of the news recently, I am finding it more and more difficult to believe that Obama is a serious constitutional scholar.

2. I don't get why anyone would be upset about having to write and explain their answers, either. that one puzzles me.

3. I just finished reading john gatto's underground history of American education. it's truly an unbelievable and disturbing book. but it is fairly well documented where it matters, and he presents a solid argument and historical evidence for why "dumbing down our kids" has been the agenda of government (financed and driven by big business) for over 100 years. not dumbing children down to the point that they cannot read and write, but dumbing them down to the point that they are compliant workers who do not think very rigorously for themselves, buy whatever big government-big business feeds them, and turn into eager consumers. the lack of logic and rhetoric, lack of tolerance for independent thought, and the lack of adequate history curriculum supports this.

4. I too think basic skills should be taught nationwide, I just don't think a nationalized curriculum based on a test is the way to get there. when has more standardization ever led to a higher-quality graduate? I can't think of an instance, and then parents have no way to adequately address an unresponsive national school board.

5. also, I think many people's resistance to CC is it's social-engineering aspects, not necessarily the academic goals.

1.
Coming back to this thread because the whole topic has been coming up on our homeschool group FB page. I don't like to be challenging or contrary or confrontational (which was actually the subject of one of my blogs, where I am still worried about offending someone), but the article printed was all about how this will ruin homeschooling. I SO wanted to say, "Your kidding, right?" Arguments in the article (which were agreed with by most) include its the Obama administrations fault, look what happened to the German family who wanted asylum, our kids will have to write and verbalize how they came up with the answer and there is only one correct way, and you shouldn't support any textbooks with "Common Core" on the cover. Throw in dumbing down of America to keep us complacent. I addressed that this is from both sides of the aisle giving Texas wanting to remove critical thinking from curriculum and using all their textbooks as an example. I also added the need for kids to explain their methodology (DH is a scientist and can't believe that people are against this)or they will never compete in math and science on a global scale. I wanted to add that the German case has nothing to do with our homeschooling laws and writing is something you HAVE to know how to do. I know lots of kids have issues writing, mine included, but as DH said too bad, you better learn if you want to succeed in many fields. I didn't even address the dumbing down, because that to me feeds into the liberal agenda thing. Yeah, I can see the Administration wanting to do all it can to have us be as uncompetive as possible in a global economy. I need to do more research. Teaching to the test is not OK. Kind of not pleased about a corporation taking over education either, but I don't have a huge problems with basic skills being taught nationwide. So many kids don't have that basic knowledge. So glad I can come here to vent a bit!

farrarwilliams
07-04-2013, 12:35 AM
Reefgazer, what exactly do you think the social engineering purpose of the CC is? I have honestly only heard that argument from conservatives who think CC's purpose is to turn our children gay or something equally absurd.

valerieanne
07-04-2013, 01:23 AM
Silly Canuck chiming in, with a few questions. It seems like there have been several pseudo-reforms in the US over the last two decades or so, which have either failed or simply dissappeared. Will this be implemented in much the same way, and if so, is it really worth worrying about? It seems likely that this may also run it's course, and as homeschoolers, we have the option of choosing curricula based on each one's individual merits and suitability for our child(ren). Ride the wave (or watch from the beach).

If it does fly, isn't there a benefit to having a national standard? I was raised in the US, and went to 10 schools before I graduated. The discrepancies between each system were insane. Families are much more mobile now, both by necessity and choice. It seems like having the basics (math, reading/writing, science) standardized federally is a good thing. Leaving social science, literature studies, and health/career open to state-level input looks like a healthy compromise to me.

I don't have the news (CBC isn't covering this) to inform my opinion, so I think I might be missing some of the political subtleties.

reefgazer1963
07-04-2013, 05:46 AM
first, a disclaimer: i know discussions on CC tend to get heated (at least on the other boards i participate on), but i want to be clear that I value others' opinions on this and do not intend to be confrontational, even if sometimes tone isn't conveyed well over the internet. :) with that disclaimer, I interpret some of the common core standards as social engineering for 2 reasons:

1. some of the common core standards are very "fuzzy" and are not clear, objective, academic standards; some of the standards have a social component. to me, that means they can be interpreted any way an educator/school board/department of education likes, and that they serve to impose an opinion on a student that may undermine parental teachings if the parent disagrees with the official party line. these unclear standards can then be used to demand/inculcate a particular point of view and make it a condition of graduation (because the student will have to meet these standards to graduate). I do not think that imposing a "right" way of looking at social issues is the job of the public school; I am very libertarian in that way and do not look at that as a conservative or liberal issue. I know conservatives are upset by the gayness thing, but really, those social standards can apply to any social topic at all, and can even change with the whim of changing national administrations. for example, one CC standard that I do not consider "academic" teaches respect for other cultures. that sounds ok on the surface, but how exactly does the CC interpret "respect"? do they mean the traditional definition of respect, which is to "keep one's distance and not cross a line", or do they mean "to accept as valid"? that definition matters if I don't agree with a particular social conclusion that is touted as the one "right" answer, and if I prefer to teach my children otherwise. it undermines the right of parents to guide their children's moral and religious beliefs. the easiest way to remedy this is to remove non-academic standards from the common core entirely, which would allow more people to get behind and support CC. if CC is an attempt to increase academic achievement, there is no reason to have socially-flexible standards at all in an academic document.

2. I strenuously object to the HIPPA and FERPA waiver included in the CC. my son is still in public school for another year or so, but if CC were implemented today, I would remove my son from any public school immediately because of this alone. it allows school districts to transfer information to any school or employer it wants, without the consent or knowledge of the parent. when asked what the plans are for this waiver and why it is necessary, no one has delivered a concrete answer, just vague reassurances that it will not be abused. but if that's the case and it won't be abused, why not allow parents to option to decline the passing of their minor child's information? besides violating privacy, here's one way I think that can be used for social engineering purposes: if a child actually has an opinion that does not align with CC's pre-determined acceptable answer, that child's stance will follow them all through school and eventually be passed on to a potential employer, which can reject a child for employment based on a privately-held opinion. massive rejecting of potential employees who aren't "party-liners" is awfully reminiscent of dictatorships that use this method to stifle political dissent. a second way CC can be used against a child is this: let's say a child has an illness that is chronic and follows them through life. currently, when that child grows into adulthood, they are not required to disclose the illness to an employer at all (unless they will need accommodations to do their job); it's against the ADA for an employer to ask about illnesses that do not require accommodations. but since there is a HIPPA waiver in CC, the ADA is being effectively undermined by not allowing a person to keep their medical information private, which can easily lead to medical discrimination and a potential underclass of medically-disabled people.

Edited to add as an afterthought: I think the religious conservatives, with their gay hang-ups and all their other issues, are more concerned with maintaining the right to religious freedom and to teach whatever religious beliefs that they please (even if they are crazy and discriminatory to you or I). while I don't agree with their religious pronouncements, I do think they have the right to be discriminatory or crazy, or both. when I was at the HEAV conference, Michael Farris, a founder of HSLDA and conservative Christian, mentioned that he would defend an atheist's right to teach their child as they wished, even though he didn't agree with it. I believe in the same principle, and will fight for his right to teach his children the religious values that he prefers too).


Reefgazer, what exactly do you think the social engineering purpose of the CC is? I have honestly only heard that argument from conservatives who think CC's purpose is to turn our children gay or something equally absurd.

inmom
07-04-2013, 07:34 AM
Here's the ultimate pudding-for-brains question:

What the heck is Common Core?

This is the website for Common Core if you want it from the source: Common Core State Standards Initiative | Home (http://www.corestandards.org/) Having taught for 10 years and now tutored for 15 past that (mostly ps students), I've seen the educational pendulum swing back and forth several times. Whether this new iteration will last, only time will tell. However, common core, tech prep (90's reform), NCLB, whatever the reform is, it's up to the individual school corporations, schools, and teachers to implement, or ignore. There are some good aspects of CC as I've read through them. But it also takes excellent staff to properly implement them. Also, personally, regardless of the educational initiative, I am in no way a fan of standardized testing. The only ones my kids have taken are the SAT and the SAT Subject tests, mostly to just get into dual credit classes locally.

farrarwilliams
07-04-2013, 11:28 AM
Silly Canuck chiming in, with a few questions. It seems like there have been several pseudo-reforms in the US over the last two decades or so, which have either failed or simply dissappeared. Will this be implemented in much the same way, and if so, is it really worth worrying about? It seems likely that this may also run it's course, and as homeschoolers, we have the option of choosing curricula based on each one's individual merits and suitability for our child(ren). Ride the wave (or watch from the beach).

If it does fly, isn't there a benefit to having a national standard? I was raised in the US, and went to 10 schools before I graduated. The discrepancies between each system were insane. Families are much more mobile now, both by necessity and choice. It seems like having the basics (math, reading/writing, science) standardized federally is a good thing. Leaving social science, literature studies, and health/career open to state-level input looks like a healthy compromise to me.

I don't have the news (CBC isn't covering this) to inform my opinion, so I think I might be missing some of the political subtleties.

It is very different from other reforms. Other reforms were generated by the states - or by grassroots/academic campaigns that pushed the states to make changes - and implemented in different ways in different places. CC is being run by a huge private organization that gets funding from big charities like the Gates Foundation. Unlike other reforms, which have been implemented unevenly, this has been adopted by nearly all the states all at once. While the way the standards are written is mostly not that different, the way they're being implemented is huge. Defacto speaking, it's the first time the US has had a national curriculum ever.

I think putting the schools on the same page for kids who move around is, by far, the best benefit of CC for many families in this very mobile age.

valerieanne
07-04-2013, 12:22 PM
I'm reserving judgement for now. It will impact us north of the border as well, since so much of our curricula/support materials are done in cooperation with the US. Or, in my case, purchased outright from the US. I'm looking at the standards, and they seem reasonable. The lack of privacy, cited by reefgazer, concerns me. That isn't really an education issue, though. It seems like every new policy created tries to add fine print which allows the government peeping tom privileges.

farrarwilliams
07-04-2013, 02:04 PM
See, while the privacy thing concerns me too, it's not different from what they've been doing all along. It's more centralized... There's this one company that is running the testing in 30+ states, IIRC, and they're supposed to make the data blind, etc. etc. I dunno. I think that's a whole separate issue from CC. There's nothing in CC about the data or the collection of data.

And the social engineering thing is the same. I mean, it's not any different from anything the schools do already. It's already the case that kids in socially conservative states get subjected to literature and science choices that are socially conservative and kids in liberal states get more multicultural lit and so forth. I also personally think it's fair to have a goal of public education of creating a public that is tolerant of the rest of the public. I think if one wants to opt out, one homeschools or attends a private school. And that's fine.

I have huge problems with CC... I mean, I think the academics are all off in it. I think one size fits all is doomed to fail. I think it just continues the exact same tired narrative in American schools. Doom and gloom. We can't pass the tests so let's test more and do more test prep. Oh, no, we're doing too much test prep. The cycle never ends. :(

Jen Law
07-05-2013, 06:57 AM
As an outsider, it is really hard to see what all the fuss is about. We have a national core curriculum in Finland (http://www.oph.fi/english/publications/2009/national_core_curricula_for_basic_education) (English version of it is linked if any one is interested) which applies to everyone; public schools, private schools and homeschools. Finland is still doing darn well in PISA so I don't think having a core curriculum directly relates to dumbing down. As for teaching to the test - nope, we don't have tests- core standeards work just fine when you don't have a crazy obsession with testing and you actually trust educators as professionals.

Starkspack
07-05-2013, 07:44 AM
Jen Law, sounds like you hit the nail on the head. In the US, we are obsessed with testing. A change in policy (i.e. moving to core curriculum) is likely to involve changes to testing, or more testing - in any case, one of the "broken" things in our system (IMO) is the heavy emphasis on testing. Clearly the powers that be here do NOT trust educators as professionals. :)

Personally I am of the opinion that the entire education system needs an overhaul - I haven't read enough of the actual core curriculum to make a comment about what is or is not included (that should/shouldn't be), but I have heard from others that have read it that there are definite and strange omissions. More and/or different testing isn't going to fix our problem here. Perhaps scrapping the current system and modeling after a country like Finland would be the better plan, sounds like.

As others have stated, if in fact there will be LESS privacy with the new standards, I would be against that. If it is more along the lines of what Farrar suggested, a variant of what is already done now and the data is compiled versus kept on each student, then I can't see the problem with that. I do agree that helping our mobile society with the states aligning their curriculum by grade makes a lot of sense.

I think my biggest problem with the whole thing is corporate control. I am definitely of the mind that corporations run our country, and this would be in line with that theory - if there is money to be made, there is where the policies head. If our corporations (for one example) make more money when people are sick and need lots of drugs and treatments, we have no societal motivation (from a governing point of view) to keep people healthy. When the government talks about the need for healthy citizens, and yet continues to produce policies that reward private interests for the opposite outcome, we have a problem. I see the same thing shaping up here - if private interests are going to benefit from the change of education policy, you can bet it is not in the public's best interest, despite what they tell us.

Yep, conspiracy theorist here.

farrarwilliams
07-05-2013, 08:45 AM
Most countries with great public education systems have national standards. I'm more bothered by the testing that comes with these than anything else. And the fact that private companies are the beneficiaries of their implementation and stand to make *more* money the worse kids do on the tests. But they're the ones who write the tests. Ugh.

I do have some issues with the way the standards are set up. Finland's, as is oft reported here, delay academics greatly compared to these standards. I'm pretty sure Finnish 7 yos are not asked to write original paragraphs with perfect spelling and punctuation as 7 yos here are by CC.

dbmamaz
07-05-2013, 09:26 AM
Of course, some of our states are, themselves, as big as some of the nations with nationals standards, right? our country is enormous and enormously diverse, culturally and economically.

It is frustrating, though, that this obsession with tests turns school in to a test-prep business instead of a place where we produce learners, thinkers, citizens

reefgazer1963
07-05-2013, 03:09 PM
it seems we agree on a few things. I also think CC is doomed to fail for the same reason you do - kids just aren't one-size-fits all. I also agree that CC asks too much of kids too soon. not that it asks too much; just that it asks too much too soon. I held my son back in first grade and he repeated first grade for that sole reason - it was just too much too soon for a young first grader to cope with. but overall, at the end of high school, the stuff they should know according to CC seems pretty basic to me. this is probably a bit of a tangent, but I know we had a discussion on another forum here about the rigor of CC and I thought that homeschoolers were more rigorous in their educational goals and that they asked less of their kids in many cases. I think I was looking at a bigger picture than you were referring to because I was referring to the entire homeschooled child, from kindy-senior high school. the homeschoolers I know produce higher-achieving kids than the local public schools (based on where they are admitted to college), regardless of income. but I realize my perception may be biased based on my homeschooling friends and acquaintances, and I probably live in a really bad public school district as comparison. no, not that I probably live in a really bad district, I *do* live in a piss-poor district (Norfolk, Virginia, in case you're wondering how very bad, LOL!).

anyway, I think where we differ is that I feel education should benefit the child first as an individual, not necessarily a society set up and controlled by the
1%-ers. I do not discriminate, but I think people should have the right to free association, free thought, free opinion, even if that means the freedom to think and publically say discriminatory things about others. "course, then I should also have the freedom to prevent them to play with my kids, boycott their business, etc..., but I don't think the government should be promoting or discouraging one kind of thought over another. also, as far as the privacy and information-sharing issue goes, they may collect and aggregate data now and swear up and down that they won't track individual kids or pass that info to employers, but if that's truly the case and there are no plans to pass personal medical data to potential employers and colleges, then there should be no reason whatsoever for a HIPPA and FERPA waiver in CC. in fact, I don't think it would even withstand a legal challenge for that very reason - because it undermines federal ADA and privacy laws.
See, while the privacy thing concerns me too, it's not different from what they've been doing all along. It's more centralized... There's this one company that is running the testing in 30+ states, IIRC, and they're supposed to make the data blind, etc. etc. I dunno. I think that's a whole separate issue from CC. There's nothing in CC about the data or the collection of data.

And the social engineering thing is the same. I mean, it's not any different from anything the schools do already. It's already the case that kids in socially conservative states get subjected to literature and science choices that are socially conservative and kids in liberal states get more multicultural lit and so forth. I also personally think it's fair to have a goal of public education of creating a public that is tolerant of the rest of the public. I think if one wants to opt out, one homeschools or attends a private school. And that's fine.

I have huge problems with CC... I mean, I think the academics are all off in it. I think one size fits all is doomed to fail. I think it just continues the exact same tired narrative in American schools. Doom and gloom. We can't pass the tests so let's test more and do more test prep. Oh, no, we're doing too much test prep. The cycle never ends. :(