J. Michael Smith, Esq.
Michael P. Farris, Esq.
Nationalized Education Standards—an Update for Home Educators
William A. Estrada, Esq.
Director of Federal Relations
June 18, 2010
HSLDA has previously written about our concerns with the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI).
Since then, the final version of the Common Core State Standards in Mathematics and English Language Arts has been released.
These standards are being developed by the states. The concern, however, is that the federal government appears to be pressuring the states to adopt these standards by using federal education funds (i.e., Race to the Top funding) as a carrot to incentivize the states to adopt these standards. States which do not adopt the common core academic standards may lose federal funding. And as homeschoolers know, if the federal government funds something, the federal government is going to control it. What we have is a de facto set of nationalized education standards being created.
Will this affect homeschooling families? That remains to be seen. These standards are being drafted for use in public schools. But historically, the more the federal government gets involved in education, the more it will control education. Something that may start as standards for public schools could easily lead to nationalized standards and requirements that every single student use curriculum aligned to these nationalized standards. This could then lead to calls for a national test that is aligned to the standards, and all students would have to take this national test.
HSLDA has worked with Congress to include language in federal education legislation that completely exempts homeschoolers from federal control. This language also protects homeschoolers from being required by states or local school districts to take tests or use curriculum that has been created for public schools. If a concerted effort were ever made to force homeschoolers to align their curriculum to national standards, HSLDA would lead the fight to stop such an egregious attack on parental rights in education. If private education means anything, it is the freedom of parents—not government bureaucrats—to choose the curriculum and testing (or even not to test) for their own children. Otherwise, the only type of education would be government education. This would certainly be unconstitutional.
Numerous organizations have written some very good articles about the problems with these nationalized standards and the long-term dangers they pose. We encourage you to read these articles in order to educate yourself about this move toward nationalized education standards in the public schools.
- ”Why National Standards Won’t Fix American Education: Misalignment of Power and Incentives“ (by Lindsey Burke and Jennifer Marshall, The Heritage Foundation, May 21, 2010)
- “To Adopt or Not? States Will Decide on Common Standards” (Eagle Forum, May 2010)
- “Behind the Curtain: Assessing the Case for National Curriculum Standards” (by Neal McCluskey, The Cato Institute, February 17, 2010)