The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is a set of national standards for kindergarten through grade 12 developed primarily by a nonprofit group called Achieve, Inc., in Washington, D.C. The standard was developed under the auspices of the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School OFficers (CCSSO). Common Core was developed without state legislative authority–it was developed on a federal level.
According to the U.S. Constitution, education is a matter left to the states–not the federal government. The incentive for the states to buy into Common Core was No Child Left Behind waivers and Race-to-theTop grants. The idea was to institute Common Core before anyone really understood what it was.
Part of Common Core is extensive and invasive data collection on students and their families. To quote U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan (from a June 8, 2009, speech), “Hopefully some day, we can track children from preschool to high school and from high school to college and college to career.” Do you really want to subject your child to government tracking from the moment they enter preschool until they die?
Another part of Common Core rarely mentioned is the unfunded mandates. Unfunded mandates are the things that will eventually bankrupt most cities and states. They include such things as employee retirement funding that does not set aside money in current budgets. Medical insurance for retirees that again is not funded in current budgets is also an unfunded liability. Common Core works in a similar way–new textbooks, instructional materials, data-tracking systems, and professional development costs are not included in the supposed cost. A recent study estimates that implementation will cost $16 billion or more nationwide–90 percent will be paid by states and local districts. We don’t need this extra expense in our state or local governments.
These are some of the problems with Common Core. There are others that parents need to be concerned with–age-inappropriate lessons, lower high school reading standards, and politically charged history lessons. It’s time to let our states and local school boards set standards and chose curricula for our students. If you feel that your local school board is not doing a good job, you have the ballot box. The state of your children’s schools is your responsibility.