We’ve been concerned about Common Core State Standards, or CCSS, for many reasons including the emphasis on standardized testing, the loss of individualized learning, the unrealistic requirements for teachers and students alike, and the lack of parental communication and involvement in the implementation process.
And our concerns have proven to be founded, in ways we couldn’t imagine. Let’s face it: In the past three years, CCSS has done more to divide and damage our nation’s education system than any of us could have dreamed of at a time when the United States is already losing academic ground to nations around the world. But, just how much damage has been done? And how are homeschool families being impacted by the CCSS storm?
The Cost of Standardized Testing For Students
A serious problem we’re seeing with CCSS is the emphasis on long, taxing, and unrealistic standardized tests. Not only have the tests had major technology problems, but many people including teachers, claim the exams are doing more harm than good. As an increasing number of states begin the testing process, we are seeing all too clearly the negative effects these tests are having on our children. Why? The tests are intense, and teachers have struggled to prepare their students. As a result of this cycle, the pressure is much too great.
Even kindergartners aren’t exempt. As one teacher put it in U.S. News and World Report, “Under Common Core, if you’re not reading at a particular level in kindergarten … you’re already being told you’re a failure. When you place these artificial standards on children and force them to comply to it, you set them up to hate learning and to hate reading.”
The testing process also doesn’t consider the reality that many students do not have regular access to a computer, and will be required to have technical skills in order to take the exam. For these kids, the pressure just intensified and the results are undoubtedly skewed.
Perhaps even worse, a superintendent of a high school in New Jersey recently confirmed that Pearson, the dominant textbook publishing company, has been monitoring students’ social media accounts under the guise of verifying none of the test material was leaked. While social media has been monitored during testing by school districts whose job it is to put the wellbeing of children first, this is the first time we are seeing a private, for profit company being given the go ahead to spy on kids during tests. As we’ve posted about before, this news is just the latest breach of our childrens’ rights put forth by CCSS.
Loss of Parental Control
Parents have lost the ability in many states to opt out of standardized testing — which was previously optional — though some are doing so despite serious consequences. In fact, parents have little to no say in or control over the testing process, which is a major problem because the CCSS standardized tests, currently administered in many states by the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), have a direct impact on what children are being taught, made to do, and their well being.
These realities should leave a question screaming in the mind of each parent: Who is truly in charge of their child’s education and wellbeing, schools, private curriculum — testing companies, or themselves?
If we allow CCSS to continue to strip parents of their rights, and heap more stress upon teachers and students, the answer will be clear and we can expect to continue to lose the freedoms and rights we have as parents to the detriment of our children.
CCSS is a highly debated topic saturated in the media. Now that you know the facts, part two of this post will outline how students — private, public, and homeschooled — are being immediately affected, as well as how it affects homeschooling as a whole. Stay tuned.