From Robert Holland Senior Fellow for Education Policy The Heartland Institute Chicago
To the Editor: Good reason exists to believe that both home- and private-schooling will be adversely affected if the Common Core national standards continue to morph into a national K-12 curriculum. ("Homeschoolers, Christian Schools Concerned about 'Race to the Top' Standards," Aug. 7.) In addition to the pressure Washington has exerted on states via Race to the Top and conditional No Child Left Behind waivers to adopt the standards, two federally funded consortia are developing online tests to assess students' knowledge of the prescribed standards. Private-sector stewards will have to be alert to changes in governmental regulations requiring their students to participate in the testing.
An even more direct threat is the emerging link between Common Core and the college entrance tests (notably, the SAT) administered by the College Board. David Coleman, a primary architect of the national English and math standards, will take over as College Board president and CEO this October. Already, Coleman has asserted his desire to align the board's widely used SAT with the Common Core. That means many home- and private-schooled will be taking an SAT that no longer measures students' abilities so much as it does their mastery of government-approved material. Common Core English sharply de-emphasizes classic literature in favor of "informational text," such as official documents. Math includes an experimental approach to teaching geometry that has never proven productive anywhere. As their students prepare for the SAT and college, Christian schools and home schools are bound to be affected by these dubious government-driven changes. This is all the more reason private educators ought to join with efforts in their communities to halt this nationalization of education.