The current debate over Common Core State Standards is a continuation of many efforts by the federal and state governments since the 1980s to reform public schools by establishing standards and requiring public schools to comply with them. Initiatives such as Goals 2000, America 2000, No Child Left Behind, and Race to the Top all included standards. The version known as “Common Core State Standards” was announced in June 2009, and is sponsored by the National Governors’ Association, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and supported by most of the educational establishment. It also has widespread support from both political parties. Standards are one of the major reasons for the federal and state educational databases (discussed in the previous WPA Newsletter #114, page 13).
Opposition to Common Core State Standards is coming from some conservative organizations, some liberals, and teachers in New York state and Washington state who are boycotting them by refusing to administer tests associated with the standards.
Homeschoolers are not directly affected by these standards. Private schools, including homeschools, are not currently required to comply and are not likely to be in the foreseeable future, especially since these kinds of initiatives are ineffective, have not worked in the past, and are now being opposed by teachers.
WPA has opposed state and federal education standards for more than 20 years and continues to do so. Among the problems with standards are the facts that they take power away from families and local schools and give it to the government, emphasize one-size-fits-all education that does not work for many if not most children, and rely heavily on standardized testing that is unfair and inaccurate and interferes with learning.