” I have been teaching for over twenty years. Generally, I have been given either no curriculum or curriculum that was focused on skills, not specific texts. I would have to get those skills taught in whatever way I wanted to get there. Sometimes I was given more direction and that direction was generally pretty good including texts, key terms, supplemental stories, and suggested writing assignments. These directions were created at a school level by the teachers in the school. I helped write some myself. Mostly, I have had a lot of freedom in how I could achieve the learning goals.
Today I was in a professional development session for my school district. Our school system has swallowed the Common Core curriculum whole. Why wouldn’t they? The federal system has said that it is “voluntary”, but “voluntary” means that the district gets cut off from major federal funding if it does not adopt the standards, so “voluntary” is subjective. Here is what the Washington Post reported Sen. Charles Grassley has to say about Common Core:
Current federal law makes clear that the U.S. Department of Education may not be involved in setting specific content standards or determining the content of state assessments. Nevertheless, the selection criteria designed by the U.S. Department of Education for the Race to the Top Program provided that for a state to have any chance to compete for funding, it must commit to adopting a “common set of K-12 standards” matching the description of the Common Core.
For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Common Core, it is a curriculum created in the private sector but pushed onto states by the federal government and endorsed by Bill Gates. The cost of implementing the program runs from millions to billions depending on the state. It is untested and unresearched. It has been criticized for being not as rigorous as proponents claim, clearly biased to a liberal perspective, so much so that many see it as indoctrination, and it is being forced on the states in spite of the fact that a federal curriculum is unconstitutional violating the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitutionwhich established the principle that“…the “power” to oversee education belongs to the states. This longstanding principle of local control of education is reiterated throughout our laws and government codes.” “