Another Essay contest entry, this one by Cindy Vincent.
Even though I homeschool, I support public schools. In fact like many other homeschoolers I greatly benefit from their existence. Many programs exist such as K-12, Connections Academy, My Tech High. Other local public charters have distance learning programs like Canyon Grove Academy in Pleasant Grove of which we take part. All of these homeschool programs are publicly funded.
I want to take a stand not only with homeschoolers who take advantage of the programs such these. But also with parents who send their children to public schools. I want to stand with teachers who have been delegated by parents to teach our children. I want to stand with local school board members who care enough to put their name on ballots to represent the communities of Utah. I want to stand with local school administrators who know the needs of our individual communities. We need to stand together because we know what’s best for our children.
The Divine Creator sent children to parents not to state school boards, governors, senators, or legislatures. He didn’t send them to bureaucracies such the National Governors Association or the Council of Chief State School Officers, or to corporations such as Achieve, Inc. He didn’t send them to the US Department of Education. Yet if we send our children to a public school in which ever form, despite the fact that we fund them, these are the very individuals and entities that are in control of our children’s education.
Policies such as No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top has our state board of education afraid of the federal government. I want to tell the governor and our state board of education to stop their cowardice and listen to their constituents. It is no secret to us that you have been advised to not listen to us by influential members of society. You have been warned that parents would go to the legislatures. It is no secret that our own Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has marginalized us, in particular ‘suburban white moms’.
I am against Common Core and its sister reforms of data tracking and computer adaptive testing because these policy’s strip parents and students of privacy. They strip teachers of freedom to teach to a diverse group of students. Local leaders loose the ability to change standards that could fail local communities.
Abraham Lincoln once said “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” Utah has let itself be divided. The governor and the state board of education vs. parents and teachers. Together, as a state, we can stand up to the bully that is the US Department of Education and the federal government. There is no need to be afraid. But we can not do this if the board continues to give the public misleading and incomplete information as it did in a presentation last summer.
For many years parents and teachers have for the most part trusted the state board of education to make decisions for our children’s education without fuss. But the board has crossed a line. Don’t mistake our stance on Common Core for wanting low standards or no accountability. We want those things for our children also. That is why we have spent hours, days, weeks, and months dedicated to reading bills, reforms, laws, grant applications, and conference notes. Notice that these are all informational texts that we are capable of reading without having been subject to ELA Common Core State Standards.
As history and modern day has taught over and over again, a controlling and powerful government may be very successful at certain outcomes, including education. However force , even by fear, is not nor ever has been the American way. As Americans , as Utahans, I know that we can be much more creative than common standards.