In Utah this year, GOP state delegates passed a resolution that opposed Common Core, by a 65% vote. The National GOP passed a similar resolution. The Michigan legislature passed a bill that defunded Common Core. Indiana legislators passed a year-long time-out bill to pause Common Core. Similar efforts by Republicans and Democrats are growing in North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri,Iowa, Florida, Wyoming, Illinois and elsewhere.
We are not misinformed. We know what Common Core is, and we reject it.
It’s not “state-led.” The authors of the copyrighted Common Core are private entities, not subject to open meetings, accountability to voters or other proof being state-led. Conditions of the federal ESEA waiver and Race to the Top application show how federally-pushed the Common Core agenda was. Now Obama hasannounced a tax to pay for Common Core technology in a ConnectEd Initiative, and has announced that he will redesign U.S. high schools.
How state-led does that sound?
It’s not academically legitimate. There’s no evidence to back up claims that the standards increase college readiness as they are experimental. The standards were written by D.C. groups who opined that classic literature should be curtailed to favor information texts. These groups felt that basic algorithms should be taught at delayed times. The unvetted ideas, unsupported by academic research, formed Common Core.
It’s not minimalistic. Proponents call it a set of minimum standards. But a 15% cap was placed over the copyrighted standards by the federal government, limiting Utah from adding much. Worse, the Common Core tests, with teacher evaluations geared to them, act as the ultimate enforcement mechanism.
It’s not amendable. The D.C.-based system defines and narrows learning yet has no amendment process.
It’s not protective of privacy. Along with asking us to adopt Common Core, the federal government pushed the State Longitudinal Database Systems (SLDS) which now exist in each state. These give aggregate information to an Edfacts Data Exchange. Although private information gathered by schools, found in an SLDS, is not requiredto be given to D.C., it is requested. Federal entities request that states share identifiable student information: see the Common Education Data Standards, the Data QualityCampaign, and the National Data Collection Model.
To make matters worse, the Department of Education altered federal regulations in the Family Educational Rights Privacy Act (FERPA) reducing parental consent requirements and redefining “authorized representative,” “directory information” and “education agency” to obliterate privacy.
These pieces form a yet-unfinished puzzle that will destroy student privacy, but we are told the puzzle will not be put together. Then why did Utah build an SLDS to federal specifications?
Utahns should opt their children out of the SLDS tracking and the Common Core tests, and should find answers to important questions, such as:
Where is the legal authority for entities outside Utah to set school standards and to monitor tests?
Where is a line-item, Utah-specific discussion of the cost of Common Core technologies, teacher trainings, mailers to delegates, and textbooks?
Why didn’t Utah follow the U.S. leader in education, Massachusetts, rather than adopting the mediocre Core?
Where is evidence that the standards are legitimate and that they do not harm?