This week J.R. Wilson made some pretty bleak predictions for 2018 here at Truth in American Education. On Wednesday, my friend Jenni White, in an article in The Federalist expressed her disillusionment with the fight against Common Core in Oklahoma who “repealed” Common Core but still has its tentacles dug in.
We’ve earned the right to be cynical. It’s understandable to be disappointed. I am on both counts. We face what is, by all appearances, an unstoppable juggernaut.
Where do we go from here?
We did not get to where we are at overnight, and change will not happen overnight either.
Here are four ways to continue to fight in 2018.
1. Take control where you can and however you can.
If you are a parent of a school-aged child affirm that you, not the school district, state, and certainly not the U.S. Department of Education, control the education of your student.
For a growing number of parents nationwide they have done the ultimate form of opting out by pulling their kids out of the public school system to homeschool. As a homeschooling parent myself, I have joked that the only positive result from Common Core was to increase the ranks of homeschoolers.
I understand that not everyone is in a position to do that. Some may have the ability to send their student to a private school that embraces classical education.
Some may not have the means or a school to send their child to.
You are still in control. Continue to resist standardized assessments. Let your school district know that you do not consent and will not consent to data collection of your child. Know your child’s teachers on a first name basis, make sure you know what is being taught in their classroom.
Seek out tutoring for your child if needed. Supplement what is lacking in your child’s education at home.
This will take commitment and sacrifice.
If you no longer have kids in school, how can you be a resource to those who still do? Can you help tutor? Can you provide financial support? Perhaps you can help organize a parental education co-op.
What can you do? We can’t just fight this takeover in education in the policy arena.
Also, stay informed and take time to inform your friends, family, and neighbors with accurate information.
2. Local… Local… Local…
Jenni mentioned how she’s focusing on local efforts in her piece at The Federalist.
If I learned anything from Common Core, I learned that local is the answer to nearly every government problem, and I turned my attention to my tiny Oklahoma town of 2,700 where, in April, I became mayor.
You may not be able to repeal Common Core in your state, but can you put pressure on the school board about the curriculum they use or how much testing they do beyond what the state requires? Can you push classical literature, traditional math to be taught in the classroom? Is your school district giving up control where they don’t have to? What is the bare minimum they can do and still be in compliance with state law?
3. Be the change you seek.
It’s easy to complain about wishy-washy elected officials and candidates. Maybe it is time for you to run for your local school board or for your state’s legislature.
If you can’t run yourself can you recruit candidates to run? A friend, family member, or neighbor whom you trust is the next best thing to running yourself.
4. Stay in the fight, but don’t forget low-hanging fruit.
Find the low-hanging fruit and start there.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. We will not be able to bring down a corrupt system in one fell swoop.
I believe it is important that we stay in the fight even if we don’t succeed because as parents and taxpayers we must speak truth to power. Success begets success, however. This is true whether we are talking about legislation or elections. We may not be able to replace every elected official who has disappointed us on this issue, but who is vulnerable and can be targeted to send a message? What are some common-sense bills that you can rally bipartisan support behind? Local efforts have a greater probability of success than do efforts at the state level. State level efforts have a greater probability of success than federal initiatives.