Homeschoolers’ fight against common core is misguided

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.

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6 Responses to Homeschoolers’ fight against common core is misguided

  1. Here’s a P.S. that I’m putting here (addressing the notion that CCSS will surely someday affect homeschoolers) just so I can remember that I said it (as a comment elsewhere): My understanding is that the states have signed on to the CCSS in order to reap the federal money that is offered for their state schools. Changing the individual states’ homeschooling laws to force homeschoolers to take these tests or comply with the standards won’t earn the states any money. There is no incentive for the states to make their homeschoolers comply with CCSS.

  2. I appreciate the added note at the bottom. I believe our concern as homeschoolers is NOT about public school nor is it about changing homeschooling laws regarding CC. Those who put their children in public schools are welcome to fight their own battles and I don’t see that states do have any incentive to force a change in our own homes, on that we agree.
    No, the concern lies with outside higher education our children might wish to pursue. When my child attempts to take the ACTs/SATs, will CC affect that? The answers are all pointing to yes. When my child applies for college and the classes are teaching a completely different method than they have been taught, will my child fail? Another underlying point has nothing to do with the actual curriculum itself but rather with the audacity of big government and big business making decisions that they have no legal right to make. We may not be putting our kids in public school, but as Americans we ought to be concerned with how our nation is run and with how our money is spent.
    THESE are our concerns as homeschooling parents. I think there are many valid reasons for seeking out the answers and for battling this coming wave if our children anticipate furthering their education beyond my doors and if America plans to continue as a free country.
    Thoughtful post….

    • Thanks for your reply! About SATs and similar tests, my pre-Common Core plan had been to help my child find, as the time drew near, SAT prep classes and/or books and/or tutors for the kiddo to employ for a limited time, after which he’d take the tests. Now that Common Core exists, that’s still my plan. It seems like an effective one to me regardless.

      I don’t think CC will affect what is taught, or how, in college classes. Colleges and universities and tech schools are at great liberty to structure individual classes, and whole departments and degree requirements, however they like, and primary and secondary public-education policies have no bearing on that.

      I do agree that this is something that people should pay attention to simply as Americans — just as citizens, whether or not they have kids in public school, or whether or not they even have kids at all. That’s a good point. For me, maybe it’s a matter of deciding how best to spend my own energy. There are so many worthy causes.

      I guess, maybe, since I’ve already decided not to concern myself (practically and daily, I mean; in our own everyday lives as we live them) with whatever the traditional educational standards have been — what exactly each student is supposed to learn and how and by when — then it’s not that great a leap for me also to be unconcerned with whatever the new Common Core educational standards are. Outside the system is outside the system.

  3. Pingback: The real problem - Unschooling NYC

  4. Julie says:

    You’re right…someday the CCSS will directly affect homeschoolers.

  5. You make a fabulous point here. the misguided broken cake is the misguided broken cake. Personally, I care about the CCSS because professionally I am a teacher, and have to consider these if I move forward in my career.

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