This week is School Choice Week across the nation. For a number of years now, Republican-based organizations from Heritage Foundation to Friedman Foundation to our own OCPA, have been calling for School Choice.
We here at ROPE believe that parental choice is of ULTIMATE importance in the creation of education that works for students and families. Gone should be the days in which children are locked into districts whose Board of Educations are NOT responsive to the needs of their students and parents.
After much study, however, we also believe that until the COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS (CCSS) are removed from the states that have adopted them (including OKLAHOMA) THERE CAN BE NO CHOICE IN EDUCATION! In fact, there is no way Choice and the CCSS can exist simultaneously.
Why would you, as a parent, move your child from one school to another when the same COMMON standards shape the curriculum at EVERY school in the district or city? Yes, one school may have a better teaching staff, or one might be perceived to be 'safer', but if the teaching curricula of all schools are derived from the same COMMON standards, how can one school produce a more exceptional student than another? How can schools in states who have adopted the CCSS really differentiate themselves one from another when the basis of all educational knowledge is derived from the same COMMON standards? Where is the ability for any school to create a student that excels beyond what is "common"?
Sadly, it's not simply government schools that are effected by the COMMON CORE phenomena.
Did you know that private schools and charter schools are turning to Common Core so they will have books to use that contain "COMMON" curricula developed for the standards so private school students will have the same advantage as government school kids on tests such as ACT - which are being shaped to match the standards?
This also works with education retailers. Did you know that companies who sell to the home school market, like Mardel, are selling Common Core materials?
Not only that, but what if home school students are forced to test to the Common Core as they are implemented across states? What if universities will no longer take transcripts of home school students if they haven't been taught using the COMMON standards or they haven't taken the CCSS standardized tests? In fact, the Home School Legal Defense Association has condemned the CCSS for these and other reasons.
In closing, why follow blindly behind School Choice advocates when there is really NO CHOICE in education as long as states are perpetuating the CCSS?