By Diane Chapman
Many parents have not heard of Common Core—yet.
It is a top-down education mandate run at the national level. The states and local communities lose control over what their children are taught. The end goal is to produce in a socialist fashion workers for corporations. For instance, Common Core teaches only 50% classical literature. The other 50% is just information text.
Many great works of art won’t be taught. Moral truths, right and wrong, skills in making wise decisions, how to be responsible citizens, the value of liberty are taught in classical literature.
Across the nation, parents are fighting back. Maybe you have read some of the recent findings that are alarming parents: A textbook company contracted to produce materials under the Common Core State Standards is trying to teach students as young as second grade about economic fairness by praising unions, protests and labor leader Cesar Chavez, according to an education watchdog group. In another example, Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Ariz., acknowledged parental pressure and removed the sexually explicit novel, “Dreaming in Cuban” by Cristina Garcia. Garcia’s book is among several where school officials suggest parents simply submit “opt out” forms for their students if they object to the selection.
The news about Common Core and Math is just as bad. In a recent policy paper, two professors on the Common Core Validation Committee, R. James Milgram and Sandra Stotsky, observe that the math progression does not reach precalculus. College students who did not take a precalculus course in high school rarely go on to earn a bachelor’s degree in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) area.
The good news is that school board member Bob Stoody is aware of the above issues and has given me permission to share the following:
“At December’s board meeting I shared on the illegitimate history of Common Core and gave an overview of my concerns about Common Core (sharing some of the information contained in these DVDs). Also, I (and some of the other board members) had previously requested a Community Common Core Workshop this spring (so the community can voice their concerns and opinions). The board agreed to have this workshop (the date and location is being finalized).
“Here are some of the bullet points shared at the meeting:
“The federal government has no Constitutional authority to enforce Common Core (though it can act as a liaison for the states that wish to bring about a standardization of measurement — in this the federal government should have no enforcement, or punitive, power to impose decrees (as happened when Secretary of Education Arne Duncan threatened to cut off federal education funds to California earlier this year).
“There has been no ‘viable’ local (or state) input on Common Core or Common Core Standards.
“The district should create a board policy identifying what it will, and will not, allow with Common Core and the testing that goes with it. A Ramona Unified School District Common Core approach should not be usurped by Federal Common Core or State Common Core requirements.
“Any district training (or implementation) thus far has been primarily on “HOW to teach” not “WHAT to teach” in Common Core — which is backwards from the normal curriculum adoption standards and board policies. This must be fixed. There has been no curriculum adoption thus far on Common Core (or purchases of textbooks, etc.). While it can be good to revise our teaching methods (through training), is it wasteful to invest too much time or money until we know “what” we are teaching? If we continue this way our ability to provide local control will be diluted.
“The district should not accept any funds that require us to “yield our local control” or make any long-term promises concerning Common Core.
“Local control must be defined as control by the board of the neighborhood school district — not control by a county board of education.
“I will let you know more as the workshop date and location is finalized. I am hoping for a large turnout of concerned parents and citizens.
“Please come to the workshop when it is announced. Nothing can be more important than the education of our children.”
As Abraham Lincoln wisely observed: “The philosophy of the classroom today will be the philosophy of government tomorrow.”
Diane Chapman is a Ramona resident.