A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


March 13, 2014

Common Core and the SAT: The Next Step in the Nationalization of American Education

     By now, you know that I am not a fan of Common Core, the federally backed national education “standards” that are supposedly designed to balance the quality of education from pre-K through high school.  From everything I've read, the effects of this education initiative serve only to dumb down our kids to the lowest denominator, while promulgating a steady diet of state propaganda.
     The New American reports that almost every state has sacrificed their individual rights to legislate education in favor of massive grants to the states that comply with this "nationalization" agenda.  Not only are education standards lowered, but students (and, in essence, their families) will be monitored and tracked in unprecedented ways from early childhood into the workforce.
     Believe me, proponents of nationalized education are good at using all the catchwords and phrases that sound good; such as “excellence” in education, “raising the bar,” and getting America’s children “ready for the workforce”.  But teachers have pointed out that the curricula for Math and English have actually been a step backwards in preparing our children to compete in the world marketplace.  As the inadequacy of these standards comes out of the shadows, critics are becoming more vocal in their opposition.
     That's why the latest efforts of the Common Core schemers to affect the implementation of the SAT college preparatory testing has come under fire.  The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) is one of two main standardized exams generally used by colleges for admissions.  (The ACT, or American College Testing, is the other.)  As The New American points out, among the main revisions proposed by the architects of Common Core are the removal of the essay requirement and an end to penalties for incorrect answers aimed at discouraging guessing. Also sparking alarm among experts concerned about the ongoing dumbing down of American education is the fact that the SAT will be drastically scaling back and simplifying the vocabulary and math requirements.
     The proponents of these changes claim that the new SAT will contribute to “fairness,” reducing “inequality,” and “providing opportunity”.  They have long claimed that financially better-off students are able to do better on the exam because they can pay for tutors or preparation lessons.  Common Core advocates want to offer free preparation for test-takers in the hopes of reducing that alleged unfairness.  Of course that preparation will only be offered to states that align with the Common Core initiative.  
     But how are students really helped when their scores are artificially boosted by removing harder vocabulary words and math problems on the SAT in order make the tests "fair"?  How does this help advance America's future workforce in the competitive global marketplace?  With the SAT aligned with the Common Core Standards, even homeschooling families and students at private schools will be under heavy pressure to submit to this inferior curricula.
    I urge you to read this insightful article.  I think you will be amazed, as I was, to find out that by 2011, SAT reading scores had reached their lowest point in almost 40 years, according to the College Board.  The fact is that despite soaring costs paid by taxpayers, students are learning less and less, with tens of millions now functionally illiterate. The trends have actually been accelerating, with critical thinking skills and reading abilities plunging fastest.  We can no longer deny that the quality of our education in this country is declining at a rapid rate.  Nor should we fail to comprehend the results of a lack of critical thinking among our children.  
     And in case you are wondering just how important critical thinking is to the future of our nation's children, consider this:  Critical thinking, as defined by the National Council for Excellence in Critical Thinking, is "the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action."
     So, if you wanted to gain control over a population of people, would you want to teach the next generation to have the ability to think clearly and rationally?  Or have the ability to engage in reflective and independent thinking?  Why, they just might be able to understand the logical connections between ideas, and actually begin to (gasp!) question your motives or policies! 
     While outrage over this dumbing down of our youth is growing, there are still far too many parents and state officials who are unaware of this encroaching menace.  I urge you, once again, to research your own school district and root it out before this cancer takes hold and spreads.  Education is the key to our children's success, but it must propel them to greater heights; not subject them to a lowering of quality or knowledge to promote a political ideology.  Get in the fight --- your children and grandchildren's future depends on it!

Proverbs 4:13     "Keep hold of instruction; do not let go; guard her, for she is your life."

No comments:

Post a Comment