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Why Is the Common Core Movement Bad for America?

The Common Core curriculum movement is an attempt to centralize and standardize what children will learn across the country. Common Core standards define what every child should learn from grade to grade, and include teacher evaluations designed to ensure school compliance. Contrary to what many think about Common Core, this movement not only affects public school students, but it also has a drastic impact on private school and homeschool students as well.

Sounds great, right? Not so much. From a big-picture perspective, Common Core is a clear instance of Washington grossly overstepping its boundaries. In America, individual states have educational sovereignty. State school boards of education are elected or appointed to determine each state’s education policy. Common Core is an attempt to eliminate state sovereignty by ceding authority over educational decisions to the federal government.

Despite what its proponents would have us believe, Common Core standards are not an independent creation of the states wholly untied to the federal government. Originally, the whole idea got off the ground with several private organizations and state groups like the Gates Foundation, the College Board, the International Baccalaureate Organization, the National Governors Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and others. While this doesn’t on its face sound like a federal government program, make no mistake. States are given an offer they can hardly refuse in exchange for adopting the Common Core standards. In its first term, the Obama administration announced a federal incentive program called “Race to the Top.” States that wanted to compete for the funds had to agree to adopt Common Core standards in teaching and testing, and to date, 45 states have done so. The millions of dollars given to states have proven too difficult a temptation for the states to refuse.

So why is Common Core such a bad idea? After all, it has been marketed as the answer to America’s struggle to compete internationally. How? By raising standards and thus producing students who are capable of meeting the demands of an ever-changing global marketplace. But parents are now beginning to see the Common Core-aligned tests and materials that are being sent home, and many of them are questioning the real purpose behind this whole idea.

What would give these parents pause for questioning? Well, let’s start with the Civics assignments telling students that the government is revising the Bill of Rights because it is outdated, and that the students are to explain which rights they would repeal. Or how about the 6th graders who were required to design a flag for a new socialist nation? Or the 4th graders who were told to think like a Nazi and argue why Jews are evil? Or how about the assignment explaining an adulterous allegation and asking the student to explain how the facts lead to this conclusion? These are but a small fraction of the incredibly disturbing curriculum choices public schools that are aligned with Common Core standards are implementing on our children.

Is curriculum like this truly designed to produce better-educated children? Or is it to create a society of workers who are all taught the same thing, who are susceptible to indoctrination from one central government that has the power to control exactly what is and what is not taught? Perhaps the underlying purpose of Common Core is to create a central government that is increasingly intolerant, and at times, downright hostile towards Christianity?

It is likely the latter that has caused many states that have adopted the standards to start pushing back. Now, several states are even seeking to slow down the implementation process because these states have seen Common Core’s dangers. Grass-roots organizations within most states are rising up and fighting to have Common Core repealed in their states. These organizations understand the real possibility that Common Core is merely an infrastructure where the federal government is using grant money as bait so that it can eventually dictate the curriculum that will align with its ideals.

Again, please don’t think that because your children attend private school or are homeschooled that you will not be subject to the demands of Common Core. Right now, the Common Core standards are not mandated for these institutions in states where Common Core has been adopted. But standardized testing—which is required in many states for homeschoolers and private school students—is even now being aligned with Common Core standards. Further yet, college entrance exams are also being aligned with Common Core. So even if your state doesn’t require standardized yearly testing for your private school or homeschooled students, if that student intends to go to college, he or she will have had to have been instructed in the Common Core standards in order to do well on those exams.  

Common Core cedes far too much authority to the federal government—authority that belongs at the state and local level. Parents who cherish their educational choice should make their thoughts known to their legislators and look to join forces with the NCLL for the repeal of Common Core!