To the Editor:
I am a believer in high standards in education for my children and for schools. Over a year ago, my husband and I learned about something called Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It wasn't widely known about, but the more I started researching it, the more concerned my husband and I were.
The CCSS is not well understood by many, if not most, of parents and educators. The adoption of it by the states was swift and under the radar. The states signed onto CCSS because they were enticed by waivers for the unpopular No Child Left Behind and Federal money in the form of Race To The Top funds. States signed on before they even knew what the standards were!
Proponents of the CCSS will be quick to tell you that the standards were a state led initiative. This is not true. CCSS were initiated by private interests in Washington DC void of any representation from the states. Because of this fact, the creators had to show some form of state involvement so they linked trade organizations from Washington DC to the standards, The National Governor's Association (not representative of all states governors) and the Council of Chief State School Officers. The standards are the work of Achieve, Inc a non-profit organization with massive funding from the Gates Foundation.
Proponents say there is no federal intrusion of CCSS, but the government is heavily funding the two testing consortia, PARCC and SBAC with millions of dollars.
Many people erroneously think that the states can control their standards, but that is not true. Once adopted, states take the standards word for word and can add a small amount of additional content, if requested, that is not covered in standardized tests.
Proponents say that CCSS is not curriculum, but the point of standards is to drive curriculum.
Proponents say the standards are rigorous, but they don't tell you that CCSS is designed to prepare students for a non-selective, two year community college, not a selective four-year university.
Proponents say the CCSS is internationally bench marked, but there are absolutely no studies showing this.
Proponents say that we need CCSS so students who move from state to state will have the same education. The number of students who this actually effects is less than two percent.
One of the most potentially harmful results of the CCSS is the change in privacy law (FERPA) right before the adoption of the CCSS, allowing heavy data mining of our children throughout their education. The fear of our children's private data being shared with third parties is something all parents should be concerned about.
Many educators and parents are concerned with the testing of our youngest students beginning in kindergarten. The fear that these standards are not developmentally appropriate is alarming, with children across the country responding negatively to the amount of testing and content. We urge parents to learn more about the CCSS and contact their teachers and state representatives with concerns.
Linda and Robert Watson
51 High Rock Road, Sandy Hook April 9, 2014