"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetuated in the noblest of causes." Thomas Paine's words ring as true today as when he wrote them over 200 years ago.
Currently in Delta County, we have a growing tyranny in the form of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and the noble cause it promotes is the education of our youth. At a recent Delta County School Board work session, which included two representatives from the Colorado Department of Education, only one school board member expressed concerns about accepting these standards. (North Carolina Lt. Governor Dan Forest has a list of over 200 questions to ask his state's Department of Education; look them up online.)
It is easy to be taken in with pretty phrases and snappy buzzwords: rigorous standards, 21st-century skills, student performance, professional practice. It all sounds so positive and wonderful and new and after all, who doesn't want those fine things for our students? The truth is this initiative is really about training a national workforce, redistributing resources, and raising global citizens. This is what school-to-work and outcome-based education is all about.
What happened to teaching children facts and knowledge and allowing them to think for themselves and learn FROM life? Now our schools are preparing students for the workforce or career, which means students are learning FOR life. Consider the data collection that is a key component of this initiative. Parents are told that data collection is a tool for individualizing education. Sounds great. Indeed, parents can be assured that from pre-school through the workforce (PK-20 in Common Core lingo), the state will track their child; over 400 data points that we know of at this time. Parents are told that only school officials use that information. Remember that the privacy laws have been changed and a variety of persons and organizations will have legal access to any student's records. Remember, too, that the goal is for students to be workforce ready. Employers will want high-performing candidates and certainly not someone with a history of disruptive behavior. Study and learn the corporations and organizations that stand to profit just from this aspect of Common Core. The non-profit corporation inBloom, which will operate and control this data information, admits that there is no 100% guarantee of that information being secure.
Because this initiative is so complex and is still being legislated and developed, more research just creates more questions. Background information is readily available online; all it takes is time and determination to gather it. A few of us have worked tirelessly to explain to district personnel and school board members the facts about CCSSI and our concerns about it being implemented in Delta County. We will continue our efforts to share what we've learned with others, having faith that once enough parents know the truth, they will want Delta County to join Douglas County in rejecting this initiative.
Visit TruthinAmericanEducation to learn more about CCSSI.