Issue 68 | June 25, 2014 | Should Homeschoolers be Concerned About Common Core?


This newsletter offers you a quick overview of the Common Core (nation-wide educational development) which can affect all of us, regardless of our state of residence.

Should Homeschoolers be Concerned about Common Core?

Image © Copyright 2010. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and Council of Chief State School Officers. All rights reserved.
Last week, I was invited onto a radio program to present information on the Common Core education changes.   First I contacted Home School Legal Defense Association in order to get my facts straight because there is a lot of misinformation on the internet.    What you will be reading has been checked and rechecked for accuracy.

Common Core is a set of educational standards in language arts and math that has now been adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia.  This effort began in 2008 when the Bill Gates' foundation offered a $2.2 million grant to the National Governors Association (NGA) to explore strategies to make the United States a global leader in education.  Now notice this timeline:
  • December, 2008, Standards writing has been launched which are supposedly internationally benchmarked.
  • February of 2009, the Obama administration had authorized the Race to the Top program, (RTTT) and Secretary Duncan announced that $5 billion in educational incentives had been allotted.
  • March, 2009, $5 billion worth of incentives were being offered to the states if they would take on the standards, and waivers were offered for some of the most troublesome aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) if states carried through with their commitments.
  • June, 2009, The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative is launched, and 48 states sign a memorandum committing to the development of standards.
  • September 2009, The first Draft of CCSS is released by NGA.
  • June, 2010, the final Common Core State Standards were published.

Does this seem like a quick timeline for such a transforming project?   It was.  Do you think state authorities could have studied these standards in depth before they signed on? Most did not.
If these questions pique your interest, go to the You tube video "Building the Machine" and learn what people who were involved  have begun to realize.


How does Common Core Affect Home Schoolers?

Fortunately, home schoolers will not be subjected to Common Core standards, initially, but there are three major ways that home schoolers may be affected.

  1. The SAT test, published by the College Board, is being re-written and will be issued in 2016.  The president of the College Board, David Coleman, is one of the major backers of Common Core, and many are concerned that the new test will reflect Common Core standards.  The Home School Legal Defense Association is monitoring this closely.
  2. A development that attached itself to the Common Core movement was the creation of a national database of student information.  All states accepting the CC standards will be connecting their state databases together to provide access to student records.
  3. Hopefully, homeschoolers will not become a part of this database unless they determine to participate in publically-funded education.
  4. The most concerning aspect of this movement to the Home School Legal Defense Association is that the waivers and grants accepted by the states have allowed a "federal power grab" of educational responsibilities that previously belonged to the states.  The impact of this change may be felt more and more as time goes by.  A number of states are now dropping out of the program after realizing that they have lost their educational autonomy.  Here are the latest:  Indiana, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi. 

After watching the documentary "Building the Machine", google "HSLDA Common Core" for insightful information on this national development.     Since the 1990's, there have been several attempts to fix the problems in public education which quite often have involved the writing of standards and the testing that follows.  However, president of our accreditation agency, MSA-CESS, Dr. Hank Cram writes in his blog:

Adopting the Common Core to help improve American education won't help us to do that anymore than rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic could have kept it from sinking!