Many homeschooling families believe that they can remain insulated from the effects of the unpopular Common Core curriculum by maintaining control of their curriculum in their home. In states like Ohio, parents have the freedom to choose the curriculum with little oversight from the state, so it’s natural to think that federal mandates will not affect home-educating families.
Unfortunately, Common Core, if it continues to be adopted by states across the country, can and will trickle down into private schools and homeschools. Those of us who have had the experience of sending our kids to college know the importance of standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, especially for homeschoolers who sometimes lack other academic credentials that colleges require. While smaller, private schools often offer more flexibility and take the time to evaluate the entire academic and extracurricular records of homeschoolers, larger schools — including many state universities — don’t look much further than an ACT/SAT score when making admissions decisions.
As it turns out, these tests are not only working closely with those designing and advocating the Common Core, but they are now redesigning their tests to align with it. Though many parents have rightly been concerned about the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests that will be used in many states to evaluate the Common Core, PARCC will likely have competition from ACT and SAT.
An article at The Atlantic last year described David Coleman as a “lead architect” of the Common Core. He’s also the new president of the College Board, the organization that designs and administers the SAT and AP (Advanced Placement) tests. The Atlantic reported that,
Coleman’s most radical idea is to redesign the SAT, transforming it from an aptitude test intended to control for varying levels of school quality, to a knowledge test aligned with the Common Core. He describes this change as a way to put applicants on an equal playing field, a message to “poor children and all children that their finest practice will be rewarded.”
A message? What does that mean? It’s not clear, but The Atlantic says that Coleman wants to transform education from the “top down,” shifting what is expected of students and increasing the number of students who apply for college.