As a concerned parent, I have been asked to share with you some of my findings in looking into Common Core Standards’ web in NC’s education. Below is just a small amount of what I’ve learned.
Beware the dressing up of a sow!
What do I mean?! Charter schools, since the cap has been lifted, are sprouting up and taking advantage of the Common Core Standards.
Of the 4 schools mentioned in the article, here’s a run down of what was on the Internet and just look at all the creative ways DPI is dressing up Common Core!
First up, United Community School basing their curriculum off the book “The Basic School” by Ernest Boyer which is Carnegie Foundation tied. You remember Carnegie Foundation, right? You’ll see their name on PBS as part of the select group sponsoring all those quality shows. What you may not know: Carnegie Foundation’s agenda for education isn’t new, nor is it pretty! Here’s a link: http://www.carnegiefoundation.org/learning-teaching/news-digest/what-constitutes-strong-common-core-implementation-plan
Next, Entrepreneur High School.
Gotta love the name. A closer look and you’ll see the 16 career clusters that are Common Core Technical Education (http://www.careertech.org/North-Carolina) Again, DPI runs the show!
Even better, Achieve’s guide to CC and Career Tech:
Then there’s the A.C.E. Academy, short for ‘Academics, Character, Entrepreneurship’.
They are proud as can be to tell you how they are NC Essential AND CCSS bound! They’re even connected to “Generation Nation” which is a youth political grooming program, so if you aren’t ‘indoctrinated’ enough during the day, you can spend after school time becoming even more so!
Lastly, a private elementary school by the name of Pioneer Springs Community School (http://pioneersprings.org/) Wait…this is supposed to be about ‘charter schools’? Stay with me. Look at bit closer. Here’s a cut & pasted quote from their main page on the website:
We are thrilled to announce that PSCS was given final approval to become a NC public charter school beginning in the 2014/15 school year!
Duality, great idea or not?
What??!! How can it be BOTH a private school (they are overseen by the Dept. of Non Public Instruction) AND a NC public charter school (under the authority of the almighty DPI)??
Not sure, but when you look at their philosophy of education, you’ll see that they too will base curriculum off the Carnegie Foundation’s “Basic School”.
Here’s a quote: ‘A Curriculum with Coherence – The rigorous curriculum at Pioneer Springs has as its minimum standard the Common Core State and NC Essential Standards. However, at Pioneer Springs, this curriculum is organized to highlight connections across various fields of study, with an emphasis on universal and defining human experiences. In this way, students not only become literate in a variety of disciplines, but are also well-equipped to apply their knowledge to the multi-faceted world outside the classroom.’
NOTE: Hey, we may want to check back in a few months and see how this concept is really working for them…right?
Now, I can’t (and don’t want to) research every single charter school in the state, but I really wonder if while the battle against CC is going on, we’re not being distracted so that schools like this can find all these creative ways to sneak it in, dress it up & embrace it as such a creative way?! When you looked at the above schools, how many mentioned being ‘tuition free’? Why would we need to know a public school is tuition free? Aren’t they all supposed to be ‘free’? I guess so I can feel extra good inside knowing my tax dollars are funding yet another Common Core school.
Lastly, I want to share a truly unique school here in NC that you may not know about, but should. In my opinion it is quite possibly the most stealthy move for Common Core out of the NC DPI yet! Allow me to introduce you to:
“HomeReach Learning Center” is part & parcel of the Cabarrus County Schools and designed to literally reach those kids who homeschool (as well as others).
Almost from the beginning, the sales job is upon you. When you read the ‘times are changing..21st century’ line, if you’re like me, you start to hear in your head, ‘I know I’ve heard this before’, read a little further & you’ll see curriculum has all been laid out for you. If you aren’t hooked into the school after this, wait…here’s the corker: a Cabarrus County Schools diploma! That’s it!! I’m in!! Hold on there, sister, first off look at the curriculum, who has created it (does it line up with your views as a homeschooler?).
Secondly, thousands of NC homeschool students have gotten into college just fine without a Cabarrus County Schools diploma! This entire site is using fear tactics, ease of use and lumping Common Core Standards in your lap — all without you being any wiser! Now, do NOT think I think all parents are gullible, quite the contrary Many of the parents are very savvy, however, look at the slickness in selling Common Core and you have no clue you’ve been sold. But wait, I didn’t show you where in HomeReach there was Common Core by that name. Well, of course, you have to look just under the surface. Website says “Apex Curriculum”. Here’s the link:
http://www.apexlearning.com/curriculum/common-core (look at the left hand menu. What do you know, Common Core has its own tab!)
Know that homeschools registered with the Dept. of Non Public Education are under its guidance. DNPE is purposely separate from the DPI..even their names are different. What absolutely kills me is the page devoted to the legality of homeschoolers ability to be BOTH homeschool student & public school states “We believe the answer is yes.”
As a parent, I need to have more than a ‘we believe’ when it comes to legality!! While the links given are viable and do have facts, NC Dept. of Non Public Education’s link takes to a guidebook, not a law book, the NC Dept. of Public Instruction’s link is a bias view of home education. In the meantime, while the link to HSLDA will give you an overview, some of its information is not entirely correct.
All this to say..IF I’m not in possession of all of this information as a “potential customer” of a school like “Home Reach”, I’d do what some have done and assume all is well when I read their website & see all the benefits possible. I’d assume I’m good to go and waste no time in signing my kid up! However, in this time in our educational realm, I need to not accept things at face value. I need to KNOW the quality of standards will remain MINE, not another person’s or a system I elected to not be a part of in the first place! IF the fact Common Core Standards and your child aren’t enough, there’s the data mining your homeschool student will be thrust into. How do I know this?? Per the “Home Reach” website, the Learning Center uses PowerSchool — a final telling sign that data mining is ahead. Data mining, is another tentacle of Common Core Standards.
Being the researcher I am, I didn’t stop at the burning questions I had of legality after reading the “Home Reach” page, I called the NC DNPE. Here’s what was shared by Director of the NC DNPE, David Mills. He told me in so many words the following:
Being a homeschool student AND a public school student is legal. The passage of SB189 in May of 2013 is what allowed this to become legal. However, there is a caveat: the local school districts and you (if you home educate) must work together. You are under their authority.
Do your homework:
Bottom line: Common Core Standards are not a ‘when it impacts’ homeschoolers, but ‘where is it impacting them’? Are parents who home educate unknowingly accepting CCS or are they walking in fully aware?
Questions I’ll leave you with:
a) Common Core Standards, no longer are about the assessments or college entrance exams, so where will you start digging to see how far the Standards are in your school? (hint: do a Google search for ‘Homeschool Road Map’s Common Core Project. There’ll you see just how many curricula items and tests are aligning with Common Core Standards, which are planning to align and which resources you’ve trusted and used are committed to remaining free of Common Core Standards) Warning! Be prepared to be shocked.
b) Consider why you chose to home educate and ask ‘what am I so afraid of that it’s better to expose my child to Common Core?’
c) Whom do I wish my homeschool to be accountable to, my family or my school district? It can’t (and shouldn’t) be both! Do I want to run my school or do I want to have someone else tell me what I can and can’t teach?