Photo: Erick Erickson via ErickErickson.org
The State of Texas passed a law rejecting the Common Core educational standards. Texas has it’s own standards, known as TEKS – Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills. However, as I am discovering, Common Core worksheets are still being used in Texas and, if this is representative of the Common Core standards, our nation is doomed.
The federal Department of Education started out rather innocuously. President Andrew Jackson signed legislation that formed the first Department of Education. “The original Department of Education was created in 1867 to collect information on schools and teaching that would help the States establish effective school systems. Today, ED operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. ” (www.ed.gov) The Department of Education went from a small data gathering department to a rules and regulations making cabinet-level governmental department whose major responsibilities are:
1. To establish policies relating to financial aid for education, to administer distribution for these funds, and to monitor their use. (aka Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac)
2. To collect data and oversee research on America’s schools and disseminate this information to the public.
3. To identify major issues and problems in education and to focus attention to these problems.
4. To enforce federal statutes prohibiting discrimination in programs and activities receiving federal funds and to ensure equal access to education. (ED FACTS, p.1)
The Department of Education is not found in the Constitution. And much like every other federal departments, the DoE passes rules and regulations that impact public schools across the nation without accountability or input from American citizens. If I had my way, I’d privatize school loans and allow the states total control of their education.
Speaking of state control, most every state has a Department of Education of their own. Talk about redundancy. Each state, like Texas, can choose either to adopt Common Core or not. Surprisingly, only Alaska, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, and Virginia have chosen not to adopt the Common Core standards. Sidenote: Virginia’s standard of education is called the Standards of Learning or SOL (giggle). Only time will tell if those states who adopted the Common Core standards will be more or less successful in educating their children than those states who opted out.
Every pro-education person across the nation would agree that there is a minimum level of knowledge that a student must learn to be a contributing member of society and personally successful. Reading, writing and ‘rithmetic are all learnable skills that make living in society-at-large easier. Those basic skills can be taught in any educational setting; homeschooling, hybrid homeschool/private, online, private and public schools. However, the quality of the education matters more than where and how the student is taught.
My son brought home a tutoring sheet which is part of the Common Core curriculum. (While Texas has rejected the Common Core standards, using Common Core material is not illegal, unfortunately.) As a hip 10 year-old, he already speaks in hashtag although he has really know idea what it means. As you’ll note below, both global warming and hashtag use are part of this worksheet. This is why Common Core is dangerous. No one in the real world needs to know how to sum up a story using a hashtag. That’s called a summary sentence. Likewise, the global warming information is theoretical but presented as repeatable, provable fact. On the surface, this looks like a writing assignment, but the underlying facets are insidious in their application. This is passive indoctrination. Parents rarely catch it and students aren’t mature enough to identify it.
If states would take responsibility for their childrens’ education, every student would benefit. By passing off the educational standard creation to the federal government, the state bypasses the voter, which is unacceptable and unconstitutional. As we go through this midterm election period and we, as activists, get discouraged by the low voter participation – again – remember, most people don’t think/feel that their vote is doing much for their personal household and sadly, some of that is true. We don’t need no stinkin’ Common Core in our education, we need more common sense.