By Mandy Baker
I heard about a recent comment on Facebook from a local teacher that the resistance to Common Core was spurred by “scared parents.” At first I took offense to that. I don’t consider myself hysterical. If I had to pick a word to describe me it would be informed or concerned. I had my hackles up ready to defend why I oppose the Common Core State Standards, and it certainly wasn’t driven by fear, in my mind. But as I sat down to organize my thoughts, I realized maybe scared is an accurate description.
I am scared about what is happening to education. I am scared of the effects high-stakes testing will have on my children and the other children in our community, state, and country. I am also scared that good teachers will leave education as a result of so-called reform. I’m scared Common Core will extinguish a love of learning that is naturally present in children when they are allowed to grow and learn in developmentally appropriate environments. I am scared of what will happen with the data that is mined and shared with whomever claims to have an interest in education. I am scared that data won’t be protected (data breeches are occurring continually in our digital world). I am scared data will be used to market and make millions billions for corporations who claim to care about education, but ultimately are salivating at the potential bottom line. I am scared students will be labeled at an early age as to who is college-worthy; that careers and futures will be determined at early grade-levels, as is done in many European countries.
Fear also enters my heart when I read the 10th Amendment and wonder what has happened to states’ rights when so many guidelines, restrictions, and mandates are coming down the pike from the Federal government, which our state so readily signs. I am scared that there aren’t enough people in our state willing to educate themselves about Common Core and take a stand. I am scared that people won’t realize that Common Core isn’t just about standards. It’s signing on to the testing, the data mining/sharing, and will influence teachers’ evaluations and schools’ ratings.
Is the opposition to Common Core driven by scared parents? Maybe. And I don’t think that’s so bad.