An Introduction to the Common Core Standards



In case some of you are not aware, the new Common Core Standards for our nation’s schools has been a hot topic recently. Many, including most parents, are not clear what they are or why they were developed, or what the long-term implications of adopting these standards are for our children.  One reason is, with everything parents have on their plates, it is difficult to spend the time necessary to fully research Common Core and understand what is involved and what it means.  Another reason is that it was open for minimal public comments or debate, and it’s not appeared on any ballot.  Medica coverage was limited until only recently.

This is an issue of extreme importance for families, children, education and the future of our country; therefore, I have committed to researching and bringing information back here in a format that will be easier to understand, one-stop-shopping so to speak, and to providing more information if you would like to dig even deeper.  In the coming  months, I will post the most recent developments, here under Common Core Updates.


What is Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) mission statement reads “The Common Core State Standards provide a consistent, clear understanding of what students are expected to learn, so teachers and parents know what they need to do to help them. The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy.”  Common Core Standards shift decision-making from local control to the federal level, and provides international benchmarking, as well as specific reading lists, curriculum material, data collection, health instruction, social and emotional development instruction, and standard testing. The Common Core Standards further create a singular method for providing instruction.

The CCSSI website states that These standards were developed by classroom teachers, school administrators and experts, in order to provide a consistent framework of instruction across the United States so that our children will be prepared for college and the workforce.”  In reality, the developers of the Common Core Standards include the United Nations (U.N.), President Obama, various government agencies including the Department of Health, the Labor Department and various corporations like Bill Gates and Microsoft. The primary author is David Coleman, director of the College Board and Treasurer for Students First, who views poor students as “low hanging fruit.” In future posts, I will present more of the history of Common Core.

Data Collection for School Improvement

The Common Core Standards provide for teachers to visit the students home to gather information about the family, home life, activities, and beliefs of all family members, more than 400 data points in all, that will accumulate each year, starting in preschool and following each student well into adulthood.   All data is loaded into a national data base for tracking and further evaluation. The data will reportedly be used for school improvement purposes and for matching individuals with career choices later in life.  “He is partnering with the Obama Administration’s campaign data team members to use the same techniques on data collection and use of data. This “treasure trove” of student data will be fully utilized under their leadership to drive everything in education from defining effective teachers to determining which students need further interventions inside and outside of the school building.” Decide the need for interventions outside the school building?  In addition, monitors will be used in classrooms to monitor children’s facial expressions and responses to instruction, as well as to monitor classroom activities.  A posture-sensitive chair will monitor posture and reveal a child’s temperament via body language, and bracelets will monitor heart rate and, supposedly, engagement.  This is too fantastic to make up.  See page 44 of the government’s plan in Promoting Grit, Tenacity and Perseverence: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century.

In addition, none of the information is private.  What about FERPA, you ask? Oh, yes, well, that was secretly “altered” to provide the government and third parties access to all information.

This is, by all means, not all there is to Common Core; however, it’s a lot to wrap your brain around, so I will leave it here for now.  Several times a week I will provide in-depth information about many components of Common Core and what it means for you.  In the meantime, I urge you to do some reading on your own.

I would like to leave you with a quote by Alex de Tocqueville:

“It [government] covers the surface of society with a network of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting: such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, extinguishes, and stupefies a people, till each nation is reduced to be nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.”

I appreciate all viewpoints on this matter, so please leave a comment.  Thank you!