The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative has been around since 2009. I’ve been keeping my eyes on it and following it for quite some time now, all the while warning and informing our local homeschooling community. Even though we are “independent” homeschoolers, the spread of CCSS doesn’t directly affect us. I create my own curriculum so we don’t need to worry about which publishers are and are not aligned. While it does not directly affect US, it does have an effect on education in our nation as a whole.
In my efforts to warn and inform the homeschooling community in my area, I learned yet another invaluable lesson: people in general WILL NOT make a concerted effort for or against something until it personally affects them. The average response: Oh, well, that’s the Lower 48. Alaska hasn’t adopted Common Core, we’ve actually rejected it, so we’re not too overly concerned about it. Even when presented with the information that Alaska had NOT “rejected” Common Core, the stance was still indifference. It seemed that everyone was under the assumption that such a thing could not possibly happen here. I failed to be able to make them realize that if it is affecting the nation, it is affecting Alaskans and we all need to care about it!
On April 19th, 2013, the Alaska Department of Education and Early Development announced that Alaska joined the Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC). You can see the press release here. What is the SBAC? In short, the SBAC develops the electronic assessments, aligned to CCSS, so that students and teachers can better evaluate how students measure up to the Common Core State Standards. That far off idea that could never happen here just got real. No, Alaska hasn’t adopted Common Core, yet, but Alaska has gotten on board with the CCSS testing. All indifference has left all those people who couldn’t be bothered about it! It’s now personally affecting them! A majority of the homeschool community utilizes programs offered through various public school districts. SBAC testing and Common Core does directly affect them — they’re enrolled in a public school district! When they “enroll”, they trade their homeschooling freedom for money. This same group gets upset when the state is looking to do the exact same thing. Pot… Kettle… I digress.
This issue needs to be on the minds of ALL citizens in this country for several reasons. First, when states adopt CCSS, they hand away their autonomy. In essence, the federal government is buying each state’s 10th Amendment right when it comes to education. Second, the scope and sequence of the Common Core is uncharted territory; none of it has been tried and tested thereby proving that it does or does not work. These states are agreeing to let the federal government experiment with children’s futures! The third reason that everyone needs to be involved is because these generations of experiments are OUR future! In reality, we are allowing experiments on all ages, races, and creeds of EVERY generation! The public education system has been in trouble for decades; Common Core is just the emperor’s new clothes. Public education was never meant to be the be-all-end-all of education. It’s high time We The People take back what is rightfully our responsibility.