As the debates seem to continue about Common Core Standards, I thought I would share some of my thoughts on the matter here. This discussion is an attempt to explain the controversy rather than to push a point of view. I prefer that our students and others think critically about these ideas and be able to form their own opinions based off key elements such as a biblical perspective and Christian principles.
The debate seems to be centered around standards that are nationally driven or top/down agenda, which is not typically seen as a conservative point of view. It’s also my understanding that the major teacher unions have gotten behind them which is sometimes seen as a liberal group of stakeholders. While common core can be seen as controversial, most school systems have already adopted the standards.
ACSI, Association of Christian Schools International (the leading Christian education organization), has begun to develop materials to address the standards in our Christian schools. Christian schools are now utilizing the common core, because many states that house these schools are now requiring the common core. ACSI is offering workshops and aligning curriculum to these standards as states have already endorsed them. They have some information on their views at this article - http://pubs.royle.com/article/Christian+Schools+and+the+Common+Core/1497092/173903/article.html
Virginia Department of Education, who approves Liberty University's programs, has decided to not utilize the common core standards. Instead they have demonstrated how our State Standards Of Learning align to the common core standards, but at this time VA would prefer to maintain control of their own standards. So this is also state’s rights type issue, which is seen as a conservative view point. See VA DOE's statement at - http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/standards_docs/index.shtml and http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/common_core/index.shtml
However, the biggest fear of conservative organizations is that national standards can be agenda driven. Once the Federal government or any entity starts requiring them, then it is possible for agendas to become part of the standards. Some conservatives are claiming that the agenda is already there. Speaking in very general terms, conservative states and organizations have been the last to “sign off” on common core. The fear is if that though they are currently voluntary, they may not stay voluntary. And some conservatives and conservative organizations have said that states are already applying pressure to home schoolers and Christian education institutions. Regardless of whether they are volontary or if your state has endorsed the standards, they are probably here to stay whether we want them to be or not, at least for a political season.
With that said, there are benefits to common core standards, just as there are any “standards” for holding accountability. As Christians, we don’t want ever want to shy away from accountability. As Jerry Falwell, Sr. often said, “If it’s Christian, it ought to better”. Our concern should be focused rather on who and what is driving the standards and are our religious rights being impacted by these decisions. The link above to the ACSI's thoughts on the Common Core, express nicely how Christians should be engaging the culture, to include common core standards with biblical truths and princples. Perhaps they don't need to be something to run away from confronting.