The following article is a guest post from a concerned parent in North Carolina about the deep reach of the Common Core Standards.
Unlike any other American education reform, we have all seen, heard and experienced the many tentacles of Common Core Standards. For certain, the Standards are in our schools, regardless of where the school is located: public, private, home, post secondary, proprietary or on-line. Common Core Standards are there. We see CCS products in our dollar stores, our libraries. just about everywhere! So what about all those clubs, organizations and extra curricular activities we so loved & encourage our kids to sign up for?! Yep, you guessed it. Common Core Standards are there as well.
1) Beta Club
Recently, a friend pointed out that the National Beta Club has aligned itself to Common Core. One the ways in which this is known is their “Leadership Summit“.
Here’s the teaser for the event:
The newly refocused College & Career Ready Leadership Summits curriculum advances common core standards beyond the classroom and offers hands on experiences for students to evaluate leadership skills both critically and constructively. The program defines the qualities and achievements students need to be successful.
According to the website a College & Career Ready, the Summit was held in Concord, NC in September of 2013. Here’s a copy of the PDF: http://www.betaclub.org/documents/concord2013.pdf
According to the website, National Beta Club is available to non public schools, but they must be accredited by an accepted agency. According to the Beta Club’s Constitution, students must be at or above grade levels. While the club is nationally recognized, it is up to each local school district to determine student requirements for membership. (gasp, you mean there’s still a program where local schools can make decisions?!) If you’d like to see all the other NBC & CC statements, follow this link.
2) National Honor Societies:
Then there’s the National Honor Society and its ‘little sibling’, National Junior Honor Society. In the event you didn’t know it connected to these two well known groups are also: National Association of Student Councils and the National Elementary Honor Society.
All four organizations are the children of the parent group known as NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals). According their website, they have much help in aligning not only honor societies to Common Core, but they have a guide for school counselors. Look down at bit on the page and you’ll see the Hunt Institute, the Council of Chief State School Officers, IDEA Partnership, Council of Great City Schools and others. (Link)
Unlike the Beta Clubs, the parameters for the Honor Societies are determined by the school principals. Their purpose, according to Section 2 of their Constitution:
“Section 2. The purpose of this organization shall be to create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.”
In and of itself, these goals are fine and outstanding, however, when funneled through the Common Core pipeline, these goals can take on a whole new meaning. When looking at their website a bit further, you’ll see a page devoted to how having a NHS can benefit your school. (Strange, I thought schools were to benefit the students)
See for yourself: http://www.nhs.us/administrators/how-nhs-benefits-your-school.aspx
3. National Society of High School Scholars:
The National Society of High School Scholars is related to Common Core via AFS-USA ( a non-profit organization formerly known as ‘American Field Service’) AFS’s mission: “AFS-USA works toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.”
AFS is also dedicated to the PISA and Common Core Standards (link).
Not to be left out of the mix, Technical Schools have an Honor Society! Known as the National Technical Honor Society (NTHS), this society is based in NC.
According to their website, here’s what they have to say about CTE (Common Core for Technical Schools):
“The National Technical Honor Society has established strong, working partnerships with the following Career and Technical Student Organizations in a national effort to recognize achievement and promote higher standards for CTE students.”
Looking at who their partners are, you will see lots of Common Core ties.
Also, this honor society takes into account not only GPAs but any disciplinary actions you as a student may have had. The mission statement also tells of the important bond between education and business.
I’m sure there are many other honor societies to investigate. However, time and blog content space do not allow a look at every single one. So, here’s what you can do when you ponder having a student become a member OR you, as an educator, are chosen to be honored.
ASK questions, DO some research.
If the society isn’t making a declarative statement on their website, look at their partnering sponsors, see if they have received funding from any of the Gates Foundation groups or from GF itself. If you can find an annual report, a financial statement, you can get a great glimpse at the beliefs and agenda of just about any organization.
Look at press releases, see who serves on the BOD (Board of Directors), see who is serving as Officers. Maybe the society hasn’t get a specific agenda, but if those in charge do and no one challenges them, their agendas are usually put into practice.
BE savvy. Organizations purposefully choosing to align themselves with Common Core Standards are sending a message, so pay attention. After all, when honor is bestowed upon others it isn’t in a cloaked manner, it’s given for all to see. Common Core is not honorable to our students, to our parents or to our country.