In theory, at least, the Common Core State Standards Initiative was intended to help American students by standardizing expected levels of academic ability in the subjects of English and mathematics. The general idea behind this, on a road paved with good intentions, was to ensure that all students ultimately graduate from high school with at least the minimum level of study required to attend a university or immediately become working citizens.
Like most of what the federal government does, of course, this program is fraught with pitfalls and controversy. The state of California, for instance, has been granted a special waiver excusing it from being subject to grading on its students’ math and English abilities as a measure of its educational success. Moreover, it is presently seeking permission to use factors such as graduation rates, attendance rates, and student participation to gauge the success of schools, in lieu of standardized testing. The push for these federal exemptions comes directly from the powerful teacher’s unions, who seek to be permitted to use such performance measurement standards as are most forgiving and therefore most likely to reflect favorably on the members of the unions – even if it means the education of our children suffers.
The state’s Parent Empowerment Act is intended to allow people to fight back. It mandates that parents collectively be allowed to restructure failing schools by replacing their staff, up to and including the teachers. To avoid abuse, the law requires that only schools which show an established history – 2 years or more – of poor educational results may be forcibly modified in this way. Unfortunately, the federal waivers which the teacher’s unions of California have won are fighting to make it nearly impossible to chart an individual students ongoing academic development, effectively ripping the fangs out of the legislation’s jaw.
The solution to this problem is not stricter enforcement of Common Core. That initiative, imposing federal education standards over the will of individual states, was always ill conceived. Rather, what is necessary is more direct involvement from parents in the education of their children. People must demand that the instruction their children receive be proper and effective, and they must hold schools accountable for maintaining those standards. When such performance from schools is found to be unattainable, homeschooling is the only reasonable alternative, when parents can control and enforce the education of their children themselves.
There is the added benefit of empowering parents to ensure that children are educated in ways that are not only factually correct, but which also reflect the parents’ values and moral conscience, principled ethics and a foundation in faith. When parents take the reigns, they are free to introduce religion whenever and to whatever degree they choose as a means of strengthening their children’s discipline and character. This is especially important in an age that has almost completely removed God from the public schooling experience; or have we forgotten that “spring break” was originally a celebration of Easter, and that “winter break” is for Christmas? Even the words “Under God” from the pledge of allegiance are now held in suspicion.
Proper educations begins at home. Left unmolested, the teacher’s unions will continue to strengthen themselves, sadly without apparent regard to the well-being of the children whose safety and education they are entrusted to protect. It is time for parents to demand their rights and take an active role in preparing their children for the future, THEIR FUTURE.