The standards grew out of the work of Achieve Inc. on the American Diploma Project, a primarily economic analysis of the future job market. They were developed behind closed doors not by a majority of teachers, but rather a majority of testing and publishing company personnel. Members of the work group and validation committee were required to sign non-disclosure statements about the process, an unprecedented requirement in the field of standards development. The final product of the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) was the Common Core Standards
The US Department of Education (USDoE), with the encouragement of the executive branch, incentivized states to adopt the CCSS by awarding them Race To The Top (RTTT) grants. While Missouri might have been spared this federal intrusion into our education system because we were not awarded any RTTT grants, our own Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) promised to adopt the CCSS anyway. This leaves our state with a $350 million implementation bill that has yet to be accounted for by DESE or the MO Legislature. A second round of RTTT grants also went unawarded to the state, yet again DESE has promised to implement the early childhood education program outlined in their grant application, to the tune of $1.6 BILLION.
The latest round of RTTT bypasses the state and goes directly to school districts, focusing on those who have more than 40% of their eligible students enrolled in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). This incentive to enroll more students in the NSLP in order to qualify for RTTT grant money further increases those districts' fiscal entanglement with the Federal government while growing the overall size of the Federal government.
The USDoE has said that these standards are developed by the states, that the specific curricula to teach them is up to the teachers and that school districts will retain autonomy to control their schools' programs. This is a blatant lie. The CCSS incorporate frequent assessments that districts will have to pay outside vendors for. The students scores on those assessments will now have to encompass at least 50% of a teacher's evaluation. While teachers may teach additional material beyond the standards, that material may not exceed 15% of their overall class time. This is direct intrusion into the districts' personnel decisions and well as the classroom.
A critical element of the CCSS is the development of a national longitudinal database which is envisioned to ultimately track 400 data points on each child enrolled in the public school system. This database will follow them from birth to the workforce. It will contain not only their academic performance but also information like: their gestational age at birth, combined household income, oral soft tissue health, and insurance coverage, among others. Most disconcerting of all is the fact that this data will be available not only to the USDoE, but also the Department of Labor, Department of Corrections, Department of Health And Human Services and other outside vendors who can demonstrate a need for such data to the USDoE.
The expansion of federal government and its intrusion into our children's education has got to stop. Our DESE cannot seem to ingratiate itself enough to the USDoE. Our State Board of Education and legislature turn a blind eye to the coming fiscal crisis that DESE is creating. Our children's privacy is being invaded while their humanity is being stripped away by government bureaucrats who refer to them as human capital and treat them as raw material to be processed by the state for its own economic purposes.
Our two goals are to
1. Take control of education out of DC and private corporation's hands and return it to our local communities, and
2. Protect our children's privacy by restricting government's ability to collect and share information about them.
Please visit the Resource page to learn more about the Common Core State Standards and the Longitudinal Data System. We hope to soon have a petition you can sign to the Governor, State School Board, State Superintendent, Attorney General, and Legislators letting them know we want out of Common Core.
If you would like to leave a comment and share your specific experience with Common Core, please visit the Forums page.