It is beyond dispute traditional parent lead homeschoolers outscore others on college and university exams for decades now and are sought after by all top universities. In addition, there have never been more homeschoolers in America since the colonial days of our founding fathers. Of all the reasons parents cite for their results to homeschool, superior academics has to be in the top three; especially with the fundamental transformation of America’s education system through Common Core State Standards (CCSS). However, I believe homeschoolers academic advantage will be their achilles heel as well.
Before I explain, I will just lay out my bias here and now. I am opposed to CCSS for many reasons that are not the purpose of this post. The purpose of the post is to help awaken those who may not be aware of the entanglement that is creeping upon us, but also to reassure those who do, they are right to be concerned and must not delay in taking the appropriate course correction, and protection.
While there are several areas, Common Core reaches into each and every homeschool, the control point I am going to address today is that of shifting college admissions expectations. All these are fulfilling education historian Diane Ravitch’s prediction that “no one will escape [Common Core’s] reach…” Through the expansion of statewide longitudinal databases, as part of the fundamental transformation, Common Core has begun to impact homeschool students by affecting college admissions standards. Institutions of higher education are being pressured to adapt their standards for college readiness to CCSS. The National Governors Association, instrumental in writing CCSS, compiled a guide for states to use while implementing the CCSS. The document emphasized the use CCSS for college readiness by institutions of higher learning to determine whether a student is ready to enroll in a postsecondary course.
In addition, national and other standardized tests across the country are being rewritten to be aligned to the Common Core. David Coleman, the president of the College Board, was one of the primary authors of the Common Core English language arts standards. He is overseeing the renovation of both the PSAT and the SAT to implement the Common Core fully with the redesigned PSAT being used in 2015 and the SAT in 2016.
So am I fear mongering? Well, just a few weeks ago Washington State public technical, community colleges and universities announced they will use the college-readiness determination from the 11th grade test of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in course-placement decisions.
As the Education Week writer, Catherine Gewertz, points out, this “announcement puts teeth into a central claim of the Common Core State Standards initiative: A “college ready” score on consortium tests means a student is prepared to do well in entry-level, credit-bearing work.” As the Education Week writer, Catherine Gewertz, points out, this “announcement puts teeth into a central claim of the Common Core State Standards Initiative: A “college ready” score on consortium tests means a student is prepared to do well in entry-level, credit-bearing work.
Additionally, in math, for example, these designers openly admit they are not interested in students computing sums in order to obtain the correct sum. They are only grading for the proper process, referred to as process math. So long as the student can explain the process, and it was the right process. Then it makes no difference if the computation was correct. Think about that the next time your drive to a bridge, or you fly somewhere. Do you want the engineer to be proficient in process math or computation?
As a result, a homeschooler who has been taught there are transcendent truth, and the proper rules of logic will be aiming for a target that is not just moving but isn’t even there. As a result, there will be a huge perceived decline in academic performance of homeschoolers based upon these new assessments. This in turn will be the proof the anti-homeschoolers have been waiting for in order to argue for the eradication of homeschool for, as they will argue, there is a whole segment of children not being “properly educated,” and thus will use the courts and eventually state legislation to force homeschoolers to abandon their curriculum and use CCSS aligned curriculum or be forced to send their children to the civil government school system.
I know there are those who say this is an extreme view, and even if it were to come to that, the Homeschool Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) would come to the rescue. If this is your view, I will suggest this a very dangerous insurance policy. There is only so much HSLDA can do and with an 80,000 some odd paying members, there isn’t enough membership dues to fend off the number of lawsuits that would need to be filed and defended.
Every homeschooling parent should be an HSLDA member and of their local organization. Every homeschooler needs to read up on CCSS and should never be in a position where they cannot provide an answer to what CCSS is and how it will affect them. Additionally, homeschools must develop a plan of action for their children that include alternatives to higher education such as entrepreneurship. For those who are called to higher education, parents need to contact the institutions they are interested in and ask if they are using or plan to use any assessment that has been aligned to CCS. Nearly all of them do so to find one would be rare. But God always keeps a remnant. There will be colleges and universities who will continue to serve the homeschool families.
It is my desire to compile a list of all colleges and universities who will provide such an alternative and share it with you all. If you would like to receive this list, please feel free to sign up below, and I will email it as soon as it becomes available.
Isaac Moffett is the host of The Great Education Struggle podcast and author of The Great Education Decision: Learning From The Past to Give Our Children an Eternal Future.