The new Common Core national curriculum was quickly adopted by the vast majority of states in connection with Federal funding offered to implement all-new testing and data gathering on students and families – all Illinois public school districts, for example, are implementing the curriculum this year. Concerns are bubbling up among education leaders and a few states (South Carolina and Texas) because no testing backs up the changes in curriculum, because no analysis of costs to states for new testing has been documented, and because there is growing concern with the data mining aspects of the program. A high school classroom assignment in Albany, New York highlights the alarming nature of the assignments that are coming with Common Core: Think like a Nazi and argue why Jews are evil. In her apology, the school’s superintendent said,
“the exercise reflects the type of writing expected of students under the new Common Core curriculum, the tough new academic standards that require more sophisticated writing. Such assignments attempt to connect English with history and social studies.
Although curriculum professionals in local districts such as Wilmette District 39 support the new standards, it looks like the community will need to keep a close eye on how Common Core gets implemented locally. If the Federal government controls the testing, it ultimately controls the content of learning. Watch out.