I was reading a Facebook post recently where someone expressed concerns that some well-known homeschooling books were now aligned to Common Core Standards (CCS). The comments after the post made it clear that many of the parents, without reviewing the books, were crossing that book publisher off their fall shopping list. Are these parents right to keep their children safe from all books that might be tainted by the dreaded Common Core or is this an overreaction?
In case you’ve been living under a rock or on Kiribati, 1650 miles from civilization, CCS is the set of national education standards that have been adopted by forty-five states. It was heavily promoted by the National Governor’s Association and backed by testing companies (who stand to make huge profits from the heavy testing requirements) and other corporate and philanthropic interests. In addition to the heavy testing, many parents say that the standards are dumbed-down and will cause children to fall further behind in school. The standards also rely on national data tracking, a concern for many parents. Michelle Malkin has done a fabulous job of documenting the many problems with the new standards.
Does this mean that any book or worksheet that says it is aligned with Common Core is automatically bad and part of the Statist Conspiracy to take over education? I don’t mean to minimize concerns about CCS — I share them and am supporting efforts in my own state to repeal Common Core. But it’s important to know that there is sometimes a difference between books that are designed to fall in line with Common Core and those that happen to tick off a few items on a checklist so the publishers can slap a Common Core label on them for marketing purposes.
Michael McShane of the American Enterprise Institute explains:
As it turns out, pretty much anyone can slap a “Common Core Aligned” sticker onto a textbook, professional development module, or supplemental resource. It is incumbent on states, districts, and schools to wade through all of these, but given the enormous volume of resources out there, they’re drinking from a fire hose. Without some meaningful vetting process, all of the benefits of the nationwide market for new tools will be washed away in the flood of misaligned materials.