For many years, the Missouri General Assembly has been trying to find new and improved ways to address educational ills in their state. In past sessions, legislators have proposed eliminating boundaries so that children may attend schools outside their traditional school boarders, expanding the Charter School initiative, and have flirted with vouchers. The latest hot button issue affecting education, in Missouri, is how the adoption of Common Core State Standards have tied the hands of local school districts as well as burdening the budgets in those districts.
Common Core State Standards are federally standardized curriculums. In Missouri, Common Core State Standards were adopted, by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, in 2010 by accepting funding from the federal government. The legislature had no input in this action, and that has caused citizens of Missouri to question the efficacy of its adoption and question where the state will come up with additional tax dollars to pay for ongoing implementation of the unfunded mandates.
Missouri Education Watchdog also exposes another issue with funding these standards as it relates to paying for the on line assessments required as part of the CCSS implementation.
“The assessments are an even larger portion of these costs as they are supposed to be done on line, which not only requires input devices like computers or tablets, but also sufficient broadband to accommodate all the students taking them at once. Once you add technology, you must also add a host of support staff to maintain and troubleshoot that technology, adding further cost to a district. In Missouri, we have no room in our state budget for these extra costs. That means local districts will have to find the money because the foundation formula is not going to give it to them.”
CCSS may be more about assessments that equalizing education achievement. While the perception is that CCSS only applies to pubic education, the reality is that it may reach beyond those borders into private and home education, as well.
As most public education systems, across the country, have adopted the CCSS and in doing so they also must comply with mandated assessments, it also may follow that assessments for college entrance will change. In fact, the architect for the development of CCSS has taken the position of president of the College Board, the organization that develops and administers College Board exams. Some question that CCSS will eliminate the need for the College Board, but others believe the College Board will adapt to follow suit and in doing so, private and home educated students will need to comply with CCSS if they desire to enter into post secondary education.
Homeschool Legal Defense, an organization that advocates for the homeschooling community, has been watching this issue for quite some time and has officially opposed the implementation of CCSS. It is their belief that CCSS calls for the “seamless intervention into the lives of children and families.”
Dr. Brian Ray, of the National Home Education Research Institute, addresses this subject and other facts and obstacles of home based and private education as he speaks to parents and others interested in the state of education reform, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 31, 2013, at the Family Vision Library.
Public dissatisfaction with CCSS, in Missouri, has caused for the call for more accountability from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Senators John Lamping and Brian Nieves have introduced SB 210, which will stop DESE from further implementing and funding CCSS with out the authority of the legislature.