The controversy around the Common Core has been growing. Unless you’ve been living under a rock you might have heard something about this incredibly experimental and federally overreaching program that is being implemented across the nation.
When researching Common Core you can’t help but to see the good, the bad and the ugly. Let’s take a closer look at the Standards and touch on just a few of those good, bad and ugly facets.
The good: The less than 2% of children who happen to move state to state won’t have to worry about getting caught up or being too far ahead of their new peers. The standards will be aligned in all of the states that have adopted it. The rigorous work will promote critical thinking in children. An important skill to have in life.
The bad: Many teachers have stated that the curriculum they will have to use to get the children to pass the assessments is age inappropriate. Teaching a child to think critically is one thing, when it’s age appropriate and their brains are developed enough to be able to work through this process.
English Language Arts in Kindergarten includes children writing persuasive arguments. When do they learn sentence structure, grammar, punctuation, and probably most importantly at that young age, spelling? Sight words, counting and following directions is integral to a Kindergartner’s day. Writing persuasive sentences as to why they deserve that new toy is not.
For older kids, in an attempt to get away from the “mile wide, inch deep,” knowledge skills for different subjects, the standards actually cut material that kids are currently learning. There will be no more learning about how to find the area of a triangle. The geometry used will be a very confusing method that was tested in the 80s in Russia at a Talented and Gifted school and failed miserably.
English Language Arts seeks to cross the board and be included in science and social studies. Instead of reading classic works by important authors like Mark Twain, which incidentally does a fantastic job of teaching critical thinking and empathy, the kids will be reading informational text.
Informational text will include an executive order by President Obama, an insulation installation pamphlet and books about native plant species in California. How do you inspire a love of reading while forcing a child to read this kind of text?
Of course a teacher can still choose one of those brilliant novels as part of the 50% fictional text he or she wants her kids to read. However, there won’t be nearly enough time to read many of these texts as they need to fulfill the 50% informational text quota. The numbers 70/30 have been tossed around as to the nonfictional/literary texts in older grades.
If that’s not enough to make you want to run screaming, here’s another interesting tidbit: These standards are not tested. This is a huge gamble with our entire education system and our children are the hapless pawns in this game.
The ugly: The State Longitudinal Database System is not just ugly. It’s frightening.
The SLDS, also known as the P20 (preschool through age 20) Workforce Tracking or P20W, is a comprehensive database compiled on each child, teacher and parent. This data is not aggregate data, it is linked specifically to the child. Data that is collected will follow the child through to their adult years into the workforce.
Additionally, as is stated on the Workforce Data Quality Initiative, United States Department of Labor, this SLDS will “Enable workforce data to be matched with education data to ultimately create longitudinal data systems with individual-level information beginning with pre-kindergarten through post-secondary schooling all the way through entry and sustained participation in the workforce and employment services system.”
This means that the government, through the public school system, will have a digital record filled with statistics, aggregate information and even personality traits of your child from the age of Kindergarten throughout their high school career. Ostensibly, this is all a grand production that will help policy makers understand how and what effects a child’s learning.
All of this data can be shared with just about anyone without parental consent thanks to Obama’s revisions to the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act in December of 2011. This revision introduces 11 different ways the system can share all of your child’s information with just about anyone.
Some of the data suggested to be collected in the National Education Data Model include are:
Health conditions, parental voting status and political affiliations, blood type, religion, overall health, bust stop distance to school and description. Educators and administration can also add notes about personality, work techniques, effort and any other information they see fit to add to the file.
In his February 12, 2013 State of the Union address Barack Obama introduced his Early Learning Initiative. This initiative encompasses birth to 5 years of age. So, literally, as the very informed Dr. Karen Effrem puts it: “This womb to tomb dossier will make the NSA’s data collection look tame.”
The breach to privacy of our most vulnerable members of society is shocking. An American child will no longer be under the sole care of their parents. The government will have very personal information about each child and the avenues this knowledge will open to government and private entities is astounding. Remember the NSA scandal? Perhaps you can recall the IRS targeting of conservative groups? What happens when they can see a child is from a conservative family? Will they do everything they can to pigeon hole that child and railroad him or her, somehow or some way? What can they do to the entire family? It should give you pause, if not actual chills.
The SLDS is just one of many reasons why many parents across the nation have decided to join the movement to stop Common Core and all of its ludicrous trappings.
As parents, we need to protect our children and demand they not be put into the giant data collection project that will collect personal information and then sell it to for profit corporations.
What does selling our children’s information to corporations have to do with helping policy makers learn how and what affects a child’s learning? Furthermore, why does a policy maker need to know this? The experts on how a child learns are already there…they are the teachers in the classrooms.
As parents and as Americans, we do not want our children to be born into a nation where they are tracked from birth to death. This is not American. This is not constitutional. Quite simply: it’s a Communistic State.