Homeschool pioneer Brenda Dickinson can’t say whether she’s for or against Common Core State Standards. She wants to see the the curriculum first. But she does see reason for worry.
How the national benchmarks are taught and measured might shape textbooks and even college entrance exams – and, through those means, spill over into the fiercely independent world of homeschooling.
“Our kids have always done well on those tests,’’ said Dickinson, who co-founded a statewide advocacy group for homeschoolers in Florida. “But it depends on how closely it’s tied to what’s being taught. If we don’t know what’s covered or how it’s covered,’’ that could hurt students who homeschool.
With more than a million homeschoolers nationwide, such concerns are among the growing pockets of uncertainty surrounding Common Core. Touted by supporters as a push for more rigorous academics, critics, many of them Tea Party conservatives, have turned the standards into a political hot-potato mired in fears of federal control.
Homeschool parents are an incredibly diverse group who choose to educate their children at home for a variety of reasons. For some, it might be for religious or moral beliefs, or for more flexible schedules. For others, it better meets their child’s learning needs or allows them to bypass state assessments.
While some aren’t threatened by Common Core, others bristle at what they see as a possible infringement on their freedom to educate their children the way they see fit.
“We are definitely hearing more concerns from parents about the Common Core,’’ said T.J. Schmidt of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a Virginia-based nonprofit that defends parents’ rights to educate their children at home. “But it’s not so much the standards themselves. There’s more of a fundamental concern – the national aspect.’’ Continue Reading →