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Evolution for the Catholic Student

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What is the Common Core?

What is the Common Core?

          As a teacher, one thing that has been dominating our professional development that last two years has been the Common Core.  For those not familiar with what the Common Core is, it is a set of national standards for K-12 math and language arts instruction.
          It seems very non-threatening, and it certainly hasn’t been presented to us as anything controversial.  Even for someone like me, who believes in local control of education, since our standards are already created by the state, it seems like it wouldn’t be problematic for different states to be consistent regarding what skills they are teaching in math and language arts.
          So it surprised me to learn that there is a movement to stop the Common Core.  There are a series of five videos on Youtube encouraging people to oppose the plan.  I have the first at the bottom of this post so people can hear the other side and make up their own minds.
          I find some of the concerns a bit overblown, while others seem quite reasonable.  The most serious concern, in my mind, is that what we are now receiving with the Common Core is the camel’s nose in the tent that will lead to a host of other national regulations on our schools, including a liberal rewriting of history, permissive sex education, and social engineering with regard to gender and sexuality.
          That may seem conspiracy theorist, but I believe it is quite realistic and demands vigilance.  Opponents of Common Core claim that much of the support behind it is from liberal social engineers who are unable to nationalize their agenda in one major step and see the math and language arts standards as a non-threatening first step to an incremental grand plan.
          Whether or not that claim is true, and whether or not Common Core grows beyond this initial stage, the controversy should serve as a reminder to all of us that we must remain engaged in education policy.  As Abraham Lincoln noted, the culture in the classroom today will be the culture of the nation in a generation.