The following article is a guest post from a concerned parent on Charter schools. private schools and homeschools. It is a follow-up article to Common Core Standards Usurp Leadership Clubs in our Schools.
The Common Core Propaganda Machine has to be recognized for the outstanding job it has done in the Common Core Standards nightmare. Why without it, we wouldn’t be under the impression that Common Core Standards are exclusive to public schools.
Without such ‘truth’ in our possession, it is no wonder more Americans (assuming you’ve heard of Common Core) relax a bit when they realize, ‘oh my kid is in a ___________ school!’ (you get to fill in the blank with “private”, “charter”, “home”.)
Since the Common Core Propaganda Machine has done such an ‘outstanding’ job, it is up to folks who are researchers, parents, taxpayers or plain and simply: Those who can spot a rotten fish and not be afraid to call it stinky, to identify and share how far Common Core Standards have expanded into schools outside the accepted traditional public realm!
Bottom line: Common Core Standards neuter school choice. It is beginning to come to light just how all-encompassing ‘COMMON CORE’ is in schools that have no ties to our public school governing bodies. Check your state’s Public Education Department.
Objects in the mirror appear closer than they appear
In the previous Common Core and Charter article, I shared this thought with you, “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 Common Core 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 and embrace it as such a creative way?!”
First, the different kinds of schools, beginning with homeschooling
Common Core Standards aren’t just appearing closer in the mirror…they are closer! Charters, private and homeschools are finding Common Core in their curricula, their tests.
Here are some examples:
Rainbow Resource Center is a popular and long trusted homeschool supply company. They have been in business for 25 years. Check out the statement found in their latest catalog:
“If your state has adopted Common Core, find out what the standards are and whether you have any cause for concern. If your students are college-bound or must participate in statewide testing, fill in any gaps as needed (or use a Common Core supplemental workbook) Remember, ‘COMMON CORE’ (so far) only include Language Arts and Math, so other subject areas are not yet impacted.”
How discouraging. In a day and age where we need declarative statements about where we are on this issue of Common Core, it would appear that a trusted company would not hesitate to say ‘no, we do not support, nor will we endorse Common Core.
Flip through the pages and you’ll see several items that are specific to ‘‘COMMON CORE’’. To be fair, the company, in its statement on ‘‘COMMON CORE’’, does mention that educational reform isn’t new. They also give a shout out to the extensive database of homeschool curriculum that the Home School Road Map’s Common Core Project has created. In the end, you the consumer, are left to fend for yourself. My suggestion, have both resources and cross-reference.
Private Schools (Independent and Christian)
More and more of these schools appear to be jumping on the ‘‘COMMON CORE’’ bandwagon. Why? I guess you’d have to ask each school. Of the schools I’ve been able to research which fit this category, Common Core is there. Sometimes called “Common Core” other times by some other name. Regardless, when you peel back the layers, Common Core is at the bottom of it.
Here’s an example:
The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) conducted a survey in 2013 about Common Core. Of the survey takers, 5 percent of the independent schools are ‘all in’; 16% will use portions and 11% are undecided. See the entire study.
Interesting notes about the NAIS and it’s survey:
- The NAIS has found that 70% of parents aren’t asking questions or making comments about Common Core. The NAIS is the largest group of independent school leaders and has been around since 1962.
- It is also big into global initiatives like “Challenge 20/20”. This challenge is open to not only private schools, but public and charter schools.
- “Challenge 20/20” is part of Educause. Educause is a Gates Foundation grant recipient. In May of 2014, they received over $5 million dollars for ‘global awareness and college readiness”. Here’s their website.
Christian Private Schools
1. National Christian School Association
There is a National Christian School Association website.
The site states:
“The NCSA is recognized by the Office of Non-Public Education in the U.S. Department of Education, the National Center for Educational Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau.”
How this organization is linked to Common Core is very easy: Pearson Assessments!
How did I find them? The Sponsors/Partners page.
If you look at the ‘FACTS’ sponsor, you’ll see it is a part of NetLet (a student financial aid company). By looking a bit further under the headline, I found that ‘FACTS’ uses a data storage cloud that the schools are calling ‘an answer to prayer.’ Now, while I realize it is referring to ease of keeping a Common Core records, it also could suggest much more, as we’ve all discovered about data mining. See the report; watch for the subtle mention of the ‘cloud’.
Another partner of the National Christian School Association is STIAchievement Services. One of the STIA’s features: ‘job embedded instructional strategies’. There are other ‘goodies’ too, just look down the page I linked you to.
2. American Association of Christian Schools
American Association of Christian Schools is another national organization serving Christian private schools. It has been around since 1972. Part of their organization is a publication known as the “Washington Flyer”. When I typed in “Common Core” this link came up. Note: The publications give a national look at ‘‘COMMON CORE’’, not a local look.
Schools belonging to this National organization use the SAT and the Otis-Lennon School Ability Test, 8th edition. Guess who has the ownership?? Pearson. Member schools can also receive a discount to Bob Jones University curriculum! Here’s what the Homeschool Road Map Common Core Project’s database had to say about Bob Jones University:
“BJU’s position is somewhat difficult to decipher. The company’s website clearly states that many of its materials are purposely correlated with “state and national standards” and defends the ‘‘COMMON CORE’’. However, a company representative has indicated via email that no materials have (yet) been changed solely because of the ‘COMMON CORE’. Thus, though BJU has created documents to show how its materials correlate with the ‘COMMON CORE’, and it’s clear that the ‘COMMON CORE’ has already been and will continue to betaken into account going forward, it seems that the actual content of BJU materials has not been changed at this time. However, the company has indicated that it will refer to the ‘COMMON CORE’ and may make changes that may specifically align with the ‘COMMON CORE’ if it deems those changes to be in accordance with BJU’s educational philosophy. Thus, I highly recommend that potential BJU customers contact the company directly to ask specifically.”
Wait…we are talking about Christian private schools, why would I need to know a homeschool’s resource quote? Because many of the same publishers who have curriculum for one will have it for the other!!
K-12 In North Carolina
As a special service for Lady Liberty, I did find out that her state of North Carolina’s Christian Private Schools list K12 Online as an educational link.
If you aren’t familiar with K12, Inc., you really need to spend a few minutes looking behind the ‘fun looking’ website. More than 230 of their courses are aligned with Common Core Standards. This is also the same company that at one time, the NC legislature ran out of the state.
K12, Inc. also is very slick in that they have schools with different names, yet are still K12 schools Examples: George Washington Online High School, Keystone School. Lastly, Diane Ravitch has written about the poor quality K12, Inc. delivers.
One has to ask one’s self, if there are so many ties to Common Core in these private schools, why are they not more declarative about the partnerships, assessments and curriculum?
Before we move to charter schools, here’s the last link I’ll share about faith-based private schools: Truth in American Education stated that ‘COMMON CORE’ is chipping away at the autonomy and faith-based values.
Charters – those schools meant to be our hope, have been hyped
1. Public charters
What do I mean? Well, in the book “Charter Schools: Hope or Hype?” See the first chapter for free. It shares with us the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement’s dream is that charter schools, while underwritten with public funds, could have “unprecedented combination of freedom and accountability. Underwritten with public funds but run independently, charter schools are free from a range of state laws and district policies stipulating what and how they teach.”
(Additional resource: Long time education watchdog, Charlotte Isberbyt has this YouTube video, “Why Charter Schools are Dangerous“.)
Thinking charter school is a true school choice? You may want to look at this first.
A study conducted by Western Michigan University uncovered that many charter schools, by participating as a KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) school, can receive and EXTRA $6500 per student. Great, more money.
If that’s not wonderful, you’ll love the corporate money-making potential. Interviewed back in 2012, President and CEO of Entertainment Properties Trust, now known as EPR Properties, David Barns had this to say:
“Well I think it’s a very stable business, very recession-resistant. It’s a high-demand product. There’s 400,000 kids on waiting lists for charter schools, the industry’s growing about 12-14% a year. So it’s a high-growth, very stable, recession-resistant business. It’s a public payer, the state is the payer on this category, and if you do business with states with solid treasuries then it’s a very solid business.”
In case you are wondering, Entertainment Properties Trust is currently invested in 55 public charter schools as part of the $36+ billion they have invested in total. See their portfolio.
Related: if you think this one entertainment group profits off our children, consider this list, which shows the top entertainment media groups. I challenge you to find the Common Core Standard tie to these!
One of the largest private charter schools organizations in America is CSUSA (Charter Schools USA).Founded in 1997, it their most recent news states that:
““Recently, AdvancEd awarded CSUSA the first Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) district accreditation for an education management company.”
Well, before we see just who is behind AdvancEd, look at one of the major sponsors of the CSUSA. That would be MacGraw-Hill Publishing. Go to their website and just look all over the page, especially down at the bottom in ‘Teacher Resource’. If that’s not enough Common Core Standards to excite you, try this statement:
“CSUSA has developed a scope and sequence for all subjects aligned to the Florida Sunshine State Standards and Florida Grade Level Expectations to ensure that the CSUSA curriculum is both guaranteed and viable.”
Now, if you want to know how the Florida Sunshine Standards are connected to Common Core click here. Coincidentally, all CSUSA schools use this.
AdvancEd is an online company dedicated to helping your school be the best. Just look at their Common Core Standards page. My personal ‘favorite’ is the reinvention of the report card into digital badges. Read it for yourself. Note: the author is from NASA — as in the guys who went to the moon.
Common Core Standards, no matter where you find them, what name they appear to be changed to or what seemingly innocent graphic is used, is still a federal overreach, an abuse of power and an affront to our citizens. The Common Core Propaganda Machine will not be successful in spinning that truth away as long as we keep digging, keep asking, getting involved and speaking out.