By Kevin Jensen
When taking the CC argument to legislators remember there are three distinct areas of CC to address; Standards, Content and Data.
Here is some advice from a 13 year school board veteran.
I believe that the issue of standards is a non-starter. Every profession I know of adheres to some form of standards. It has become the talking point of the Department of Ed and they will turn every discussion into supporting standards, and use it to convince uninformed legislators that they are right.
Content is one area that I will be focusing on. They have replaced classic literature with Harlequin novels and worse. They are replacing the arts with government technical manuals. They admittedly are focusing on not only one-size-fits-all instruction but one-solution-fits-all answers which is destructive to creative thinking. The curriculum concentrates on vocation and seemingly discourages avocation and entrepreneurship. And what about religion? Home schools and church/private schools must comply with CC. It will have a detrimental affect on their freedom of choice in the classroom not to mention the overwhelming secular content found in the text books. What parents want no longer matters. School administrators, curriculum committees and school boards have been completely removed from the process of deciding what your children will be allowed to learn.
Additional Data is being collected and many legislators argue that FERPA will protect your child’s information. Not true since FERPA has now been marginalized by the government with the implementation of CC. Parents will have a difficult time finding out the content of the tests and may never know how their child scored. At this time all testing is done on the internet and schools will be required to invest millions to accommodate those tests.
Last, but hardest to define, is the violation of the 10th Amendment. A National Curriculum is technically illegal but our beloved leader has found a way to once again ignore the Constitution. CC requires a National test, not a curriculum. However the only way to pass the test and receive funding is to teach the curriculum. You be the judge – but in my mind it is a flagrant disregard for the law.
As a side note – you may wonder why school administrators would support this. One of the harder jobs for a small district administrator is to find new text books that align with state standards. They also must answer to parents and the school board for their decisions. The school board evaluates administrators for performance in this area. If that responsibility is taken away – it makes their job easier.
Kevin Jensen is a husband, father and grandfather from Canton, SD.