Once in Home Education Magazine (Nov-Dec 2012), Mark Hegener asked, “What does homeschooling gain by critiquing schooling?” That thought helps me to focus my energy. And perhaps it is one of the ideas that led me from my initial interest in understanding and taking a stance about the Common Core State Standards — whether to fight or support them — to my current position, which is that it’s not my battle. Others may fight the good fight to improve public education for all, and I admire them for it. But as time goes on, I’m finding my self more and more in agreement with John Holt and others who concluded that an individual approach to changing education, family by family, is perhaps more helpful and effective than large-scale reform efforts.
My position now is that the fight against Common Core State Standards (CCSS), while arising from noble intentions, is misguided and does not get anywhere near the heart of what’s wrong with compulsory education.
Before there was CCSS, kids had to go to school whether they wanted to or not, whether their parents wanted them to or not, whether it was even good for them or not. Once the students were enrolled, schools and families had to do everything the schools told them to, daily, by force of law. The only out was to homeschool (and this was not even possible, legally, until around the 1980s or later).
After CCSS, kids have to go to school whether they want to or not, whether their parents want them to or not, whether it is even good for them or not. Once the students are enrolled, schools and families have to do everything the schools tell them to, daily, by force of law. The only out is to homeschool.
That’s what wrong with public education. The rest (which exact curriculum is presented, whether students are told about the electoral college in fourth grade or fifth, which books are read, and under which standards system) is just icing, and building coalitions and blogs and groups and boycotts over changing the color of the icing isn’t going to do a thing to change the nature of the cake.