The Spectacle Blog

Homeschoolers Against the Common Core

By on 6.17.14 | 10:37AM

Already skeptical of the American public education system to the point of abandoning it, homeschool families, concerned by widespread adoption of the Common Core, are joining efforts to resist it, reports the Associated Press. It's already prompted some to leave the public school system. For long-time homeschoolers, it’s a development they fear will further restrict the freedom and flexibility they have in educating their children. But regardless, despite the seeming silliness of those outside public education advocating for a particular arrangement of it, their concerns are valid and perfectly responsible.

Some homeschoolers see the set of standards as limiting their curriculum options as more companies fall in line with it. For much the same reason, speculation that the SAT and ACT tests may change or have changed to reflect the Common Core has caused homeschoolers to anticipate college admission troubles, though both testing agencies deny their exams are based on the Common Core. Homeschoolers see it as a genuinely objectionable set of standards that, if widespread, may be unavoidable even outside the public education system and a de facto instrument of centralization.

All these are perfectly fair concerns for homeschoolers, but the fear that the Common Core is bad for public school students and thus for America is a better reason to fight its adoption, even from outside the public school system. Homeschool opposition perplexes supporters of the Common Core, but public education is everyone’s problem, even those who do not use it. However Common Core affects homeschoolers, the onus of the argument against it is on proving its detrimental impact on public education. If it in fact improves public schools, homeschoolers should support it. If it is inimical to public education, than the fact that some who oppose it are homeschoolers is beside the point as it is deleterious to society at large.

As I’ve argued before, the Common Core fails to rectify the primary problem with public education today—why we educate. It is still motivated by a pragmatic labor and progressive efficiency philosophy of education, viewing schooling as a means to economic productivity or personal ambition rather than viewing education as an end in itself, good for its own sake and allowing man to become more fully human. It’s a semantic argument, as old as philosophy, and obviously standards and goals are needed in schooling as skills and knowledge are imparted to students. But society as a whole is healthiest when made up of whole persons, and whole persons are not something a group of governors, or even Bill Gates, can create with the Common Core.

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