Concerned about education

To the Editor,

When somebody brought to my attention the article regarding Common Core Standards, which ran in the CCN a couple weeks ago, my radar beeped.  I attended the meeting on Common Core Standards at the end of the school year. I was assured that, whereas the standards would be the same for all states involved, the curriculum would be in the hands of our local educators. A school board member suggested that we do our own research on this. I did and here is some of what I discovered.

Common Core says it is a state lead initiative. I found that the federal government didn’t create the standards but heavily promoted them and encouraged their adoption by tying them to federal funding.

Common Core says it is standards, not curriculum. Well, that seems to be the case at present but I have to wonder if such standards might end up driving curriculum. Progressive things tend to progress in small steps.

Common Core says we need standards to compare students across the states. I thought we already have that in NAEP, SAT, and ACT tests.

Common core says we need standards to make it easier for students who transfer from one place to another. Seriously?? If you are a poor student in one place, you will probably be so in another place. If you are a good student and you have moved to a school system that is better than the one you came from, get to work and catch up. You can do that and you’ll be better for the experience. Nationally, student transfers account for about 2% of the general student body.

Some claim a massive data tracking system, not officially part of Common Core, will be instigated because of contractual agreements between assessment companies and the U.S. Department of Education. The DOE will require that data collected be turned over to them. Sounds Orwellian. How will they use it?  Is it true?

It is not good enough to get a couple quotes from some government people and conclude that all concerns have been resolved. Why should I trust a huge program tied in to federal spending?  Why are school boards in Colorado against this? Why are Indiana and Georgia pulling back? AND, what is the deal with data mining of students? What data will be collected, how will it be used?

My experience is that the more local influence we have in education, the better educated our children become. The best example of this is home schooling which turns out the highest testing students in the country.

If you are concerned about the education of our children perhaps you may want to be asking questions too.

Scott Kreamer
Red Lodge