Information from the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defense Assoc.): http://www.hslda.org/commoncore/
Homeschoolers: Up-to-date list of which curriculum items are aligned with the Common Core and which are not: http://www.theeducationalfreedomcoalition.org/
Illinois Lutheran and Catholic Schools are adopting Common Core.
Check with your religious school to see if they are adopting Common Core. Ask if they are aligned with the “New Illinois Learning Standards.” That would also mean that they are adopting Common Core (without saying it.)
Illinois Catholic school superintendent statement on Common Core: http://www.ilcatholic.org/catholic-superintendents-issue-statement-on-common-core/
US Bishop official FAQ sheet regarding local adoption of the Common Core: http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/how-we-teach/catholic-education/upload/CCSS-FAQ-final-04-22-14.pdf
Great pamplet: 10 things every Catholic should know about Common Core: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/Portals/0/Mail/Renewal%20Report/pdf%20for%20web%20Final.pdf
Why Catholic schools should reject Common Core: http://thecatholicbeat.sacredheartradio.com/2013/09/21/pa-parents-6-reasons-catholics-should-oppose-common-core/
Catholic Education Organization receives Gates Foundation money to promote the Common Core: https://stopcommoncoreillinois.org/2013/11/08/buying-catholic-support-for-the-common-core-stopcommoncore-commoncore-ccss-noccss/
Great article about how Common Core impacts charter schools, home school and private schools: http://www.hslda.org/commoncore/topic7.aspx
Illinois Policy Institute concerns about Common Core and homeschooling
The federal government is attempting to re-shape public and private school education. It is doing this through several intertwined initiatives that include nationwide standards (named the “Common Core State Standards”), uniform testing, and expanded student data-mining. Special interest groups developed these initiatives and successfully had them embedded in the 2009 stimulus package and adopted as the centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s education policy. Together, these initiatives amount to a federal schooling effort that rivals the healthcare takeover in its expansive effect.
The national standards movement raises grave concerns for private, religious, and home-school families. These concerns include the following:
- Leads to a National Curriculum and National Test: The national standards effort reflects a specific education philosophy as to what children should be taught and when it should be taught to them. It is not a stand-alone initiative but is intertwined with a national standardized testing regimen as well as other initiatives. The purpose is to have textbooks, standardized tests, teacher training and teacher evaluation aligned with the standards. In this manner, curriculum content is dictated.
- Establishes an Uneven Playing Field. The national effort will have a pervasive effect on college admissions and scholarship opportunities. Private and home school children will have to study for the standardized tests, or else be disadvantaged vis-à-vis other students. It also creates challenges for students seeking to transfer credits between private and public schools, and home school and public schools.
- Normalizes Controversial Societal Issues: Controversial societal norms will substantially influence a national curriculum, which would in turn influence the values and beliefs undergirding the teaching-learning process. This was clearly seen in the politicization of the Texas Board of Education curriculum debate in May 2010 as the TX State Board of Education determined the standards for the social studies curriculum.
- Threatens Autonomy of Private, Religious, and Home Schools: A national standard would jeopardize the freedoms of private, religious, and home schools to teach their students in a way which best reflects their core educational and cultural beliefs. A “standardized” method of teaching based on secular formatted standards could impose on the right to teach a child from a religious worldview, ultimately impeding on a school or parent’s mission.
- Alters the Accreditation Process: A national standard could fundamentally alter the accreditation process. By establishing a national standard with a national curriculum, schools would be forced to give up their autonomy in order to meet the criteria needed for accreditation. Students could also be discriminated against by a higher education entity if they did not graduate from a school that did not adhere to the common or national standard.
- Restricts Parental Involvement in Children’s Education: Perhaps the greatest concern with the establishment of a national standard is the lack of parental choice, control, and involvement in their child’s education. With greater federal control of education, parents lose control and the ability to hold their child’s educators accountable. National standards will contribute to the federal trend of diminishing parenthood in favor of greater control by centralized federal and state bureaucracies.
THERE’S NO OPTING OUT OF COMMON CORE
April 17, 2013
Two weeks ago, Education Week reported that the Department of Education will oversee the design of assessment tests for the Common Core State Standards, confirming suspicions that initiative is nothing less than a federal curriculum for America’s schools. While I’ve already commented on the implications this announcement will have on public schools, Common Core’s federal control does not stop there. Students in charter and private schools, as well as homeschoolers, will also have no choice but to learn what Uncle Sam wants to teach them. In essence, there’s no opting out of Common Core.
As public institutions, charter schools in state that have adopted Common Core will also have to comply with the national standards. This command and control directly undermines the freedom that has led to charters’ success. Common Core champions will claim that charters still have the freedom to choose their own textbooks and employ alternative teaching techniques – which is technically true. But, now that the federal government is overseeing what’s on Common Core’s assessments, charter school teachers will have no choice but to teach their students what Washington wants to prepare their students for the standardized test. So much for school choice.
As for private institutions, many parochial schools are voluntarily taking up Common Core. The Catholic School Standards Project, for example, is encouraging local dioceses to adopt the Core. While private schools like those of the Catholic Church have every right to adopt standards that they see fit for their students, parents should beware that Common Core has a direct pipeline to Washington. As such, it would be prudent to urge teachers and administrators to thoroughly review the standards and only adopt those that complement the school’s mission.
Even homeschoolers will also be affected by the standards indirectly since both the SAT and ACT are soon aligning to Common Core. Every homeschooled student with college aspirations will have to learn the national standards or be at a disadvantage in taking college entrance exams.
Granted, there is nothing wrong with private schools and homeschool programs adopting Common Core per se. It is fundamental right of free association for private institutions to operate as they see fit. The standards may absolutely have superlative standards that schools may want to adopt.
Rather, what is wrong is the federal government’s backdoor influence on Common Core’s content. Especially since the standards sell themselves as a “state-led effort,” it is downright deceptive for the federal government to sneak into the private schools and homeschools of America without proper warning. Common Core should either come out as what it really is – a federal standards initiative – or end its entanglement with Washington altogether.
Common Core K-12 Hits Home School
January 15, 2013
Defenders of home schooling are beginning to worry about the Common Core K-12 standards morphing into a national curriculum that will stifle the family-centered creativity that has fostered high rates of achievement and growth for home education.
Their concerns are well-founded, even though the official Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as originally adopted in 2010 don’t expressly apply to home or private schools.
Unfortunately, many private and parochial schools, including those of 100 Roman Catholic dioceses across the nation, already are adopting the CCSS prescriptions for math and English classes as they start rolling out in public schools. Their debatable reasoning is that the rush of most state governments (45 so far) to embrace the national standards means publishers of textbooks and tests will fall in line, thereby leaving private schools with no practical alternatives for instructional materials.
The Home School Legal Defense Association sees an even more insidious intrusion on educational freedom stemming from the vaunted “college- and career-ready standards,” and it most assuredly is not about to throw in the towel.
In a Dec. 17 web article, the HSLDA’s federal-relations specialist, Will Estrada, noted that the “College Board – the entity that created the PSAT and SAT – has already indicated that its signature college entrance exam will be aligned with the CCSS. And many home-schoolers worry that colleges and universities may look askance at home school graduates who apply for admission if their high-school transcripts are not aligned with the CCSS.”
Besides the potential of home-schoolers being placed at a severe disadvantage by the SAT’s alignment with a single curriculum, “our greatest worry,” Estrada concluded, “is that if the CCSS is fully adopted by all states, policymakers down the road will attempt to change state legislation to require all students – including home school and private school students – to be taught and tested according to the CCSS.”
The linkage of the SAT to the nationally prescribed academic content is far more than a hypothetical threat. Former Rhodes Scholar David Coleman, a chief architect of the Common Core, embraced that very objective before taking over as the College Board president in October.
An Education Week report in October reached the surprising conclusion that religious schools are prominent among private institutions beginning to adopt the Common Core. Not all private schools are hopping on the bandwagon, of course. An official of the National Association of Independent Schools spoke of the centrality of “local control, school by school, of what to teach and how to teach” and emphasized that “decision-making through a national effort runs counter to our very being.”
A middle-road approach is the Common Core Catholic Identity Initiative by which educators from parochial schools and Catholic universities hope to develop ways Catholic values can be integrated into instruction based on the Common Core standards. A fair question to ask is how appealing such compromised schools will be to parents seeking to use tax credit scholarships or vouchers to find alternatives to government-controlled education.
One might think truly independent-minded educators would want to examine skeptically government-subsidized standards that already are compelling English teachers to cut out many of the classics of children’s literature in favor of boilerplate text issued by government agencies. Because home-schoolers have had to fight continuously for their educational freedom, it really isn’t surprising that they ultimately are the ones to see through the folly of education nationalization in a tremendously diverse country, and to identify ways to fight it. Estrada makes this relevant point:
“Due to laws prohibiting the creation of national tests, curriculum, and teacher certification, governors and state legislators are the only policy makers who can actually decide whether or not to adopt the CCSS. While the federal government has encouraged the states to adopt the CCSS through federal incentives, the states are completely free to reject the CCSS.”
The HSLDA is reminding parents that they can make a difference by raising this issue with governors and legislators and those who aspire to those positions. Home-schoolers have been instrumental in stopping federal overreach before, and they could do it again. The Common Core is not a permanent fixture – states can repudiate it as too costly, too shallow and too intrusive.
Vol. 10 No. 2
According to a recent article in Education Week, Common Core State Standards, which are being adopted in public schools in 46 of the 50 US states, are starting to move into some independent school curricula. The standards cover K-12 math and English/language arts, in an attempt to provide all US students with the knowledge and skills they need for college and employment success. More than 100 Roman Catholic dioceses—including those in Los Angeles and Philadelphia—are adopting the standards, as well as Lutheran schools in Illinois, Michigan, and Ohio. Why are private schools joining the public school movement? One reason could be economic, since more and more textbook publishers and other education suppliers are adapting their material to fit the Common Core Standards. So are teacher-preparation programs, according to Sister Dale McDonald, of the National Catholic Educational Association. “If you are looking to hire new teachers coming out of a teacher education background, you are disadvantaged,” said Sr. McDonald. “We are strongly encouraging and recommending that Lutheran schools go with this,” said Bruce N. Braun, the superintendent of schools for the Michigan district of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. “We think it’s good for kids. And there is some room for creativity, room for you to be a professional in how you reach the standards.” Other independent schools are using the Common Core as a guideline or a starting point for their curricula. “Our lower school math is grounded in the Common Core and I would say our language arts is influenced,” Andy Davies, Aspen Country Day School (CO) curriculum director, told Education Week. “As an independent school person, I can use it as a stake in the ground and massage it so that it meets our needs.”