Common Core seems like a good idea. In a society as mobile as ours, kids moving from one state to another should not be so far behind or ahead students in their new state. A common set of skills at each grade across the nation makes sense. At least that is the sales pitch.
I did not start out to be against Common Core. In fact, most of the people who are loudest against Common Core sound crazy. I’ve heard all sorts of conspiracies. When I write about Common Core, I get angry emails from people blasting me for not going far enough. The people who oppose it often do themselves a disservice.
My gut was to support Common Core. It makes sense. As someone who grew up overseas and moved back to the U.S. in high school, I see the benefit of common grade level standards. But I have a second grader who is being subjected to Common Core. And I see first hand that Common Core is deeply devastating and I now understand the rage of so many people.
Growing up, I was an A student in math. My wife did quite well in math. We have a second grader whose Common Core math assignments make no sense. In second grade my child has already encountered addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, measurement, time, and estimates. She has only mastered the basics and still more comes. Each advance into new knowledge is more convoluted.
I had a lady call my radio show recently. She is struggling as a single mother in the inner city. She works two jobs and relies on family to help with her kids. She cannot help her son with his math homework. The best the school can offer is that in her “free time” they can train her on Common Core math.
Parents are angry about Common Core because it has taken from them their ability to help their children in school. Kids are dependent not on their parents, but on their schools. Teachers are frustrated because the kids and parents are frustrated.
Then there is the “national” part of the standards. Common Core advocates claim that each state will set their standards. But with nationalized standards as states like California being the biggest purchasers of textbooks, it’ll be the big states and their standards that help shape textbook content.
With the federal government pouring money into states to get them to adopt Common Core standards, there will be strings attached to develop a national education standard that replaces local values for one size fits all. And once there is centralization, it makes it easier to politicize the standards.
In Georgia, I am actively opposing candidates who support Common Core and supporting candidates who oppose it. For many, Common Core is an abstraction that crazy people talk about on the internet. For my child and millions of others, it is a very real problem and frustration. It is a corporate attempt to train up good worker bees at the expense of good citizens. It is a liberal attempt to train up worker bees who think the right things. It is a federal incursion through money.
And it is one in a long line of failures designed by the education elite who keep using our children as guinea pigs in new ways to teach thousand year old subjects. Math should be math, not an essay. English should be Shakespeare and Faulkner, not Holocaust denial.
Opposition to Common Core cuts across ideological lines, party lines, and demographics. Much of the political press either does not have children or have children old enough not to be affected by it. But it is going to be an issue this election season.