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October 24, 2013 Print
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Common Core Standards Leave Parents Out of Education Equation

by Bethany Monk

You might remember the viral video of a Maryland father dragged out of a school meeting last month after asking officials about the Common Core State Standards. He was wrongfully arrested. Charges were quickly dropped, but Robert Small’s story underscores a much larger set of problems in many of our public schools: the disturbing trend of the centralization of education.

“The video got nationwide attention, and I think that’s because it’s resonating with so many parents,” said Focus on the Family Education Analyst Candi Cushman. “It’s really coming to symbolize what they are feeling: shut out of the process when it comes to these nationwide standards.”

The Common Core standards offer a series of guidelines showing what children should know about math and English from kindergarten to graduation. It was developed in 2010 by groups including the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Forty-five states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense Activity have adopted the standards. Those that have not are Texas, Nebraska, Minnesota, Virginia and Alaska. But several states that originally adopted the standards have begun taking steps away from the Common Core movement.

Cushman said the program takes the centralization of education to an “unprecedented level.”

“And so, like this dad, you’re seeing a lot of parents saying, ‘Wait a minute: I didn’t know about this? What’s happening in my school? Why wasn’t I involved in this?'”

Small stood up during a public forum given by the Maryland State Department of Education in Baltimore County. Officials asked attendees to submit questions in writing. Small saw that it had turned into a lecture in favor of Common Core, so, he stood up and asked board members about the standards. A security guard, who happened to be an off-duty police officer, forced him out of the room.

Instead of dealing with federal overreach, parents should be empowered to be a part of the educational decisions in their children’s lives, according to Cushman.

“That’s where school choice comes in,” she explained. “We want to give parents more choices, not take away those choices by nationalizing this. And if they want to go ahead and start talking to their local school officials, their state representatives about their concerns with Common Core that’s a good thing — it’s good to be proactive, start asking questions.”  

Watch “Parent Arrested from Common Core Meeting in Baltimore County”

Read the Citizen magazine article “Education Without Representation.”

Subscribe to Citizen magazine.

Watch “CitizenLink Report: Common Core Chaos.”