Common Core, the Obama Administration’s education reform program, has been exposed as untested, subpar and even outdated by international standards, despite the federal government’s sales pitch to states.
Although U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan criticized Common Core opponents’ concerns as “a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy,” Focus on the Family’s Candi Cushman found that parents from around the country are trying to escape the reach of CC. For example, a concerned Indiana parent named Heather Crossin is organizing other concerned parents to rally against the implementation of Common Core. Under Common Core, her daughter’s homework assignments, which used to be made up of practice problems in arithmetic, became focused on “fuzzy math” such as drawing pictures of theories or explaining math concepts in sentence form.
Moreover, the Crossins discovered that Common Core’s reach extends beyond public schools Crossin’s third-grade daughter “attended a private Catholic school,” which had been cornered into adopting Common Core standards for testing purposes as a part of the state’s school-choice program (thus tied to federal education standards). If private schools have been forced into using Common Core standards, then where can parents turn for non-Common Core education?
Another parent, Karen Light, who lives in Delaware, has started a similar campaign of parents against Common Core. She said that “parents want to be in the equation” of deciding education policy and Common Core left them out of it.
The good news was that Indiana stopped Common Core in its tracks, and parents like Karen Light in Delaware hope that their state follows suit.
Cushman notes that states in a budget crisis accepted Common Core funds: This was not really a “voluntary” act. Also, the estimated expenses for Common Core will burden taxpayers at a projected $15.8 billion, according to the non-profit Pioneer Institute. The subpar standards, which were supposedly tailored to match international norms, are “two or more years behind international expectations.”
It did not help that the primary go-to analyst for the math portion of Common Core, James Milgram (an emeritus mathematics professor at Stanford), did not even sign off on the final draft of the program standards. There are also problems with the reading material, according to noted English expert Sandra Stotsky, who said there is too much “advocacy journalism” or “‘informational’ articles chosen for their topical and/or political nature” that go with the CC guidelines.
Why are parents such as Karen Light and Heather Crossin fighting Common Core? Crossin told Cushman that they’re involved “because our passion is to protect our children. That’s the only skin we have in the game.”
Spencer Irvine is a staff writer at Accuracy in Academia.
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