When I attended the 2:1 Conference last month, the attendees were given a DVD of the movie trailer for Building the Machine, produced by HSLDA. It was very eye-opening.
Did you know that currently in the US, 22% of all 9th graders do not complete high school? That is nearly one-quarter of all students. When Common Core standards were first being written, they had hoped that it would level the playing field for all students.
But are all students on the same level? Of course not. Paul Horton from University of Chicago Lab Schools had the most accurate description I’ve heard in a very long time about what education should be:
“I think the purpose of education is for a person to discover what they’re talented at, to discover who they are, to grow as an individual and as someone who can think… to create someone who is articulate, someone who can be a lifelong learner, someone who can be successful in life. And that means communicating, it means learning, it means passion—being passionate about what you’ve decided to do, discovering what you’ve decided to do.”
Common Core doesn’t allow any of these things to occur in the natural course of education. It quite literally levels the playing field, by creating students who are “College and Career Ready”. By leveling the standards, we will produce students who are unprepared for the most technical programs and select colleges, because there is simply no way to bring ALL students up to the highest levels academically.
They had to drop the standards down to make them all-inclusive. There were only two subject curriculum specialists on the Common Core Validation Committee, and neither of them approved the new standards. Both stated that the standards are lacking the rigor that would provide students an education that would lead them into competitive, select colleges and STEM programs.
And this makes them “college and career ready”? No. Common Core affects everyone, everywhere.
This affects elementary students and middle schoolers. It affects high school students, and it affects the colleges.
Yes, COLLEGES. Even the SAT and ACT examinations have been changed to now fit with the primary education model here, rather than the other way around. Because of this, in turn it also affects homeschoolers.
Math and Language Arts standards are the worst offenders, dropping methods and topics traditionally taught so that students can all be pushed forward at the same rate. English teachers are now forced to drop most of their literature rich curriculum in favor of teaching mostly informational reading and texts, to fit the state tests.
All in all, it’s disheartening. It is scary. And it sickens me that so many states (including mine) have just flipped over and accepted mediocrity along with the Race to the Top funding and Common Core alignment standards.
Whether you’re a parent or not, whether or not you homeschool, send your kids to private school, or they attend your local public school, this affects all of us. Please, watch the trailer for Building the Machine, and order the full DVD when it comes out. Educate yourself, educate your friends and family, and get involved.