Parents threatened when opting out of Common Core

Karen Schroeder President, Advocates for Academic Freedom
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Parents hate to see their kids treated like robots, forced to fit into the government’s definition of equal and successful. Surprise, surprise; they want their kids to develop as individuals, each prepared to follow his or her own dreams.

In a talk on Common Core, New York State PTA Education Coordinator Bob Aloise supported calling Child Protective Services and charging parents with “educational neglect,” if they opt their kids out of curricula or testing.

Despite this and other outrageous threats and insults, parents across the U.S. are expressing disgust with the one-size-fits all, turn-my-child-into-a-robot form of standards imposed by Common Core.

Since a grassroots effort seems to be the only way to stop this insane overreach, parents across the U.S. are creating support groups to fight the intrusion by a dictatorial federal government.

Citizens are angry that state legislators, superintendents, and state and local school boards have no voice in a national educational system. Federal education power grabs threaten to render these lower levels of government irrelevant rubber stamps for future federal policies. Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and school Superintendent Janet Barresi are not the only leaders who believe that Common Core will radically transform education into a nationally-controlled system.

When 80 percent of the parents opted-out of high-stakes testing,  Julie Zuckerman, principal of the Castle Bridge School in New York, canceled the tests because there wouldn’t be enough test scores available to provide meaningful data.

While children are in tears, participating in self-mutilation, and learning to hate school because the tests are unreasonably long and the questions are needlessly confusing, parents in DenverChicagoPortland, and Providence are taking their kids out of the high-stakes testing in record numbers. Texas cut the number of students taking standardized tests in half.

Administrators of New York’s Springville-Griffith Institute Central School District are concerned about the impact that 64 students who have refused the tests will have on district outcomes. The more people know about these tests and the curriculum the more determined they are to remove it from their schools.

Parent groups are forming to assist with exercising the opt-out option. Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and taxpayers refuse to become accomplices to federal programs that typically destroy students’ love for learning.

Common Core is a clone of other federal programs that have failed children and damaged our educational system. Behavior modification under Benjamin Bloom and B.F. Skinner’s Outcome Based Education were Common Core by other names.

Students and parents are tired of the politicization that results from nationalized education and the rift it creates between citizens and their local schools. Parents are revolting against the federal government using their tax dollars and local schools to undermine their child’s future. They resent a governmental label of “success” or “failure” stamped upon their children.

Exercising local control of schools and demanding that state autonomy be returned to education are tools available to parents. Opting out is just one step in that direction

Another is students dressing like zombies, with blood rolling down their morbidly-painted faces to protest the long hours of testing and the loaded questions that would determine whether or not they graduate.

Quality assessments are important, because they allow teachers, students, and parents to know exactly where the child is academically. Individual needs of the student can be identified by a quality, unobtrusive test. Armed with this knowledge, educators can shape an educational experience that meets the specific needs and interest of each child. When testing is effective, students are eager to use that information to set personal educational goals. When a test is fair, fact-based, and reasonably long, teachers and students can determine the degree of success both had during any given school year. This form of testing motivates students and teachers.

Classroom teachers, who are ideally alert to the needs of each student, are in the best position to meet those needs. Federal employees are too far away from reality to recognize it, to understand it, or to deal with it effectively. Their efforts have been failing children for decades.