There’s a wealth of clearly written and referenced information –much you may not know– in a white paper released this week: *Controlling Education From the Top: Why the Common Core is Bad for America*. (by American Principles Project and Pioneer Institute) http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/state_edwatch/Controlling-Education-From-the-Top%5B1%5D.pdf

The first section focuses on the mediocrity of the standards, which have redefined “college readiness” as preparing students for non-selective two year colleges, and not for four year universities.

The paper details the circumvented federal laws, the loss of sovereignty and family privacy, the costs to taxpayers, the misleading and imposing upon states by the U.S. Department of Education, and more.

A highlight of the paper is the observation of math standards by James Milgram, Common Core Validation Committee Member, and by Ze’ev Wurman (mathematician, Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of Education 2007-2009, and California Common Core Standards Commission Evaluation member.)

The mathematicians point out that Algebra I is not introduced until ninth grade under Common Core (previous to Common Core, in Utah, Algebra I was introduced in 8th grade). Common core starts teaching decimals only in grade 4, two years behind standards for high-standard states and countries. Common core fails to address mathematical induction and parametric equations, fails to teach prime factorization and barely touches on logarithms. It also fails to include conversions among fractions, decimals, and percents. Common Core de-emphasizes algebraic manipulation, which is a prerequisite for advanced mathematics, and effectively redefines algebra as “functional algebra,” which does not prepare students for STEM careers.

The list goes on and on and on. There is so much to learn in this white paper.

Many of us are printing hard copies, highlighting them, and hand delivering them to local school board members, teachers and administrators.

Please read the document for yourself and share it.

Federal aide to education leads to federal control. That fact has played out over the last 50 years. Then I heard both presidential candidates say in 2000 that they would fix education in this country and shut down deficent schools. I asked, “Where does a president get the power to shut down local public schools?” He does not have that authority. That is in the hands of the local school boards as empowered by the voting public. I was a victim of the politics of federal meddling when, as a teacher of more than 3 decades of satisfactory to exellent reviews and a math teacher at an inner city school which had met improvement standards 3 years in a row, I had administrators coming into my classroom with clipboards and egos to tell me how to teach. I presumed I was because of pressure from NCLB. I retired. The school did not meet standards the following year. The school was shut down.

There was a war in heaven much like the battle we are fighting now. God presented his children with a plan in which they could work out their salvation by choosing their own standards and receiving consequences for those choices. By setting our goals and working to achieve them, we have no limits to how high we can soar. On the other hand, we also have the option to set lower goals or no goals at all and achieve nothing in this life. We do have the option to fail, but we have the choice. Another plan was offered in which the standard was set and everyone was promised graduation through no choice or effort on their own part.

In this life, we have agency. This means not only the opportunity to choose our own standards, but the responsibility to set our own standards—as individuals, not as set by any higher authority. That higher authority will be held accountable for taking away this opportunity and responsibility. The really sad thing is that in order to set a standard that will be achievable for all students they have had to set it quite low, so gifted students must be kept back in order to reach the standard. So children give up individuality for equality. That is basically our choice—agency and individuality or equality and loss of freedom.

As a mother I will hold on to my right to choose the best education for my children and help them set their own standards (which will be miles higher than Common Core.) I will choose a curriculum that does not limit their understanding or slow their progress toward college degrees or increase their dependence on government programs. I will join with other mothers and fathers, and even if we are few, we will claim our rights to individuality and agency, and the world will see our children soar higher and further than any Common Core student. (Isn’t that exactly what Common Core hates?—kids who excel?)

I, as an eight grade student, was not happy with the common core practice we got today in my Geometry class. It was confusing how they solved the problem, which required either using a ruler, manipulating the shape, or using trigonometry. For the first, that is normally considered cheating. For the second, we are usually told to leave everything the same. For the last, we haven’t gotten there. And from what I’m seeing, I should have had Algebra 1 two years later than I did by Common Core. (I excel!) This scares me about my future. Magnets have promised that kids at my level can begin at Algebra 2, but will it stay that way? Or will I never get to take Calculus? I want to achieve, and succeed. I am well equipped to do so. But this may hold me back…the implications are troubling.