Homeschoolers Confront Common Core Standards

Homeschoolers Confront Common Core Standards

Though the nationalized Common Core standards will not impact homeschooled students initially, within a few years, when those same students take the SAT or ACT college exams, they could be at a disadvantage for not having studied the “Common Core way” at home.

Cincinnati.com reports that, at a recent homeschooling convention held in downtown Cincinnati, thousands of area homeschoolers realized that the controversial standards were a hot topic.

“Common Core standards drive curriculum, curriculum drives testing. … Children will be taught to the test and it affects us homeschoolers because our children have to take those same college entrance exams as everybody else,” said Lesley Hodge, a former attorney and homeschooling parent. “Everything will boil down to what [homeschoolers] provide on a test and then that will determine where they go to college and I believe that … [at] some point, some committee will say, ‘Well, your child shouldn’t have this career because your child is not qualified.'”

For homeschooling families, however, the issues surrounding the Common Core standards primarily involve education freedom and parental and child rights.

Hodge and many of the 25,000 attendees at the Midwest Homeschool Convention say they are on the front lines in a battle between parental and child rights versus an almost nationwide mandate of common learning standards and government intrusion into the parent-child relationship.

Hodge said that though her teenage daughter is still a minor and under her authority, the state is “encroaching on that more and more.”

“This is the hill that I will die on,” she stated. “This is my child’s right to privacy and my right as a parent to have authority over my child until she leaves my home.”

Debora Kuchey, associate professor of childhood education at Xavier University, however, said homeschoolers should not believe that Common Core “is a Communist plot.”

“It is a historic reform,” said Kuchey. “And it greatly saddens me to see that the Common Core discussion has become so political.”

Kuchey recommended that homeschoolers use the Common Core standards in their home teaching.

“I’m very supportive of Common Core and it’s needed because our country is so far behind” student achievement levels in other industrialized nations, she added, according to Cincinnati.com.

Homeschooling father Tom Steffen, however, said the premise of imposing Common Core – not the details of the standards themselves – is what most homeschooling families will fight against.

“For homeschoolers, one of the foundational issues for education is freedom,” Steffen said. “If we are free, what do we need government bureaucracies telling us what to teach?”

“Even though [Common Core] may not initially impact us, it concedes ground to the principle that federal or state level bureaucrats know better than we as parents do,” he added. “So, we’re obviously not going to be friendly to that.”

“Let parents, who have the primary interest in their children’s well being … and those of us who pay taxes who don’t participate in the public school system” educate children as they see fit, Steffen said.


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