Nevada Homeschool Network continues to keep an ear to the ground as we pass through this era of dynamic change in education. One issue that has come up on the radar as “something to watch” is the new Common Core national standards. Although on the surface this appears to be a public school issue, and a Federal one at that, there is danger whenever the Federal government has the ability (via the power of the purse) to tell the 50 States what and how to do something. In this case, in order to receive Federal money, Nevada must conform to federally driven standards for curriculum.
How does this affect homeschoolers? One way is to design college entrance exams around those Common Core standards. The College Board, a membership organization of colleges, recently chose David Coleman, an architect of common core, as their president. Here’s what he said in an interview with the New York Times, “We have a crisis in education, and over the next few years, the main thing on the College Board’s agenda is to deliver its social mission. … The College Board is not just about measuring and testing, but designing high quality curriculum.”
Of course, much as the Federal Highway Administration that administers our freeway system can control laws in the various States by withholding money to those States, a Federally controlled educational program can do the same in education. In her recent article on this subject Karen Effrem states:
“Supposedly, these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states. In fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top grants on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced economically pinched states to surrender control of their school curricula to the federal government.”
Like many States, Nevada has a simple law for homeschooling. When wads of Federal money are waved in front of legislators, simple laws can easily be changed.
But not everyone is convinced that Common Core is taking education in the right direction. There is a growing chorus rising from all corners. Karen Effrem continues in the above referenced article:
“That brings the total to twenty-six out of forty-six and one half states that have accepted them or 56% who are rejecting or showing some kind of hesitancy or concern with implementing these unconstitutional, illegal and dumbed down, politically correct standards and their accompanying tests. This is very important good news for state and local autonomy, academic excellence, constitutionality and state budgets It is also very important for the maintenance of private and home schooling as viable alternatives to government education. (More new details on the dangers to private school autonomy via the Common Core and how the Romney education plan affects this issue will come next week. In the meantime, please see Imposing a Federal Curriculum on Private Schools – Why Voucher Programs that Require State Tests Are So Dangerous)”
Nevada has signed on to these common core standards, and it appears that our new State Superintendent James Guthrie is an advocate. Earlier this month Nevada was a participant in the “Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium” (SBAC) meeting in St. Louis; presumably Dr. Guthrie or one of his appointees was present. The SBAC is one of two groups that is doing the actual designing of the new curriculum.
As educators, as Nevadans, and as concerned citizens we should all be aware, and concerned, about what is happening here. Nevada Homeschool Network will continue to watch this as it unfolds.
Nevada Homeschool Network, Chairman