CCSS: What is it?

Thursday , 25, April 2013 3 Comments

A few weeks ago I wrote about the separation of school and state and my concern that we have become lulled into a sense of false security about what is going on in our educational system.  At the root of my concern is the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS).  As I have become aware of CCSS and it’s far reaching implications I have also learned that hardly any parents I know have any idea what these standards are or how they will affect our schools.  My next few posts will cover a range of CCSS topics.  If you, like me, were completely unaware of CCSS then I hope you find this information helpful and that you will have a better understanding of what CCSS is and how it will affect our children, schools, and our culture.

What are the Common Core State Standards?  They are a set of national K-12 standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics.

Who developed CCSS?  The standards were developed primarily by nonprofit  Achieve, Inc., and then released through the National Governor’s Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).

How did CCSS get into Georgia schools?  In July 2010 Georgia governor Sonny Perdue signed off on CCSS.

On the surface the answers to these questions look very benign and leave many people wondering, what’s the big deal?  Couldn’t we all agree that having state standards would be beneficial to our kids?  Doesn’t it sound like some very knowledgeable people developed these standards?  Wouldn’t a governor do what is in the best interest of their state by accepting these standards?

Let’s dig a little deeper and find out how this all came about.  Remember the stimulus bill of 2009 that we needed to save our economy?  In that stimulus bill $4.35 billion of our tax dollars were given to the Department of Education.  The Department then came up with Race to the Top (RTTT) which allowed states to apply for grants so they could win back some of our tax dollars to use in our schools.  If a state was awarded a grant they had to agree to do three things, 1.  Adopt CCSS 2.  Adopt nationalized tests 3.  Participate in a State Longitudinal Data System (SLDS)  The states that applied for RTTT grants also became eligible for a waiver for No Child Left Behind (NCLB), which is our previous set of national standards, so they wouldn’t have to fulfill two sets of requirements for the federal government.

So let’s look at how Georgia came to be one of the states adopting CCSS.  In November 2009 RTTT applications were released.  States could print the application, which in many cases is hundreds of pages long, and get started filling them out.  In January 2010 RTTT applications were due and had to be signed by the governor and the state school superintendent.  By March 2010 a draft of CCSS was released and in June 2010 the final CCSS were released.  And one short month later, in July 2010 our governor signed off on CCSS.

Does any of this concern anyone?  Why are our tax dollars being used to entice our schools to adopt new standards, new tests and to participate in new data systems which at the time of our governor signing off on CCSS had not been discussed by our own state legislature?

Since I have begun learning about CCSS there are several issues that cause me concern as a taxpayer and as a parent.  The way in which the federal government dangles our tax dollars in front of our schools to get them to do what they want is ridiculous and we know that the national standards set out in NCLB didn’t do us too many favors, so how will this time be different?  As a parent I want to know if the curriculum is being dumbed down, if our children are being mined for data and what is being done with that data.

I strongly encourage you to do your own homework and find out more about CCSS.  In my next post I will be addressing the concerns stated above and recommend this YouTube series, along with this article for more history on how CCSS came to be and this site for the latest information about CCSS.

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  • hello again..:)

    in reply to this paragraph–

    “Does any of this concern anyone? Why are our tax dollars being used to entice our schools to adopt new standards, new tests and to participate in new data systems which at the time of our governor signing off on CCSS had not been discussed by our own state legislature?”

    I would reply that “tax dollars being used to entice our schools to adopt new standards, new tests and to participate in new data systems” because of the historically dismal state of our state’s education system as our state is ranked #48 out of 50 in almost all meaningful academic standards and currently has a 33% High School dropout rate amongst all races and ethnicities. This number is from 2012…not 1940.

    The High School dropout rate in GA increases to SEVENTY PERCENT!!!!!! thats 7-0-% when you consider just hispanic children and children with special needs. That is an absurd embarrassment.

    The State Legislature has proven time after time for decades that they are way more interested in supporting a thinly veiled, religious based set of educational standards that satisfies the voting parents then they are in a set of standards that would encourage graduation of competent adults that can function in the 21st century. We in Georgia are still seriously debating the teaching of evolution/creationism ala The famous Scopes Monkey trials of almost 100 years ago. This again is a humiliation and portrays us all as backwards hillbillies to the rest of the world.‎

    This furthering distrust of the big bad federal government to do anything good and the insinuation that they are somehow “stealing” our tax dollars and then blackmailing us in order to get some of it back is disingenuous at best, and paranoia in the eyes of many educated Southerners.

    Again, if parents would not condemn their children to continue their tailored education of and exposure to only what their religious beliefs or societal prejudices allow, maybe spend all that energy instead by getting directly involved in their own community public schools, we wouldn’t need to be forced to adhere to outside standards as among the most uneducated, ignorant states in the Union.

    Your happiness and the soundness of your family depends completely on the happiness and soundness of your entire community. The isolationist approach of hiding your kids from all the other “bad” kids has produced the current climate of bunker building doomsday wackos and left this great country far behind any other industrialized modern state in the area of academic achievement.

  • Wendy says:

    I am well aware of the high drop-out rate in GA, and the statistics quoted are a result of the previous national standards set forth in NCLB, so again I am left to wonder why do we think these new standards will improve drop-out rates? Standards that were adopted nearly sight unseen and with only 1 teacher included out of the 60 individuals who were writing these standards. Again, I think we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • […] far in this series I have covered how CCSS came to be, now we can address other issues related to CCSS.  First up, […]

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