No matter how bad things get in education, there have always struck me as three escape hatches for bright but languishing kids:
1. Standardized, independent tests like the SATs and the ACTs, which, as normed aptitude tests, help colleges see through the often distorted images of student abilities given by grades and teacher recommendations.
2. The competition between the SATs and the ACTs, which, should current education fads start to affect one testing company, theoretically motivates the other one to resist these fads in order to tap into the resulting market of fad-bucking students.
3. Home schooling.
But as Paula Bolyard writes in a recent post on Pajamas Media, all three are being threatened by the insidious influence of the Common Core standards:
Many homeschooling families believe that they can remain insulated from the effects of the unpopular Common Core curriculum by maintaining control of their curriculum in their home...
Unfortunately, Common Core, if it continues to be adopted by states across the country, can and will trickle down into private schools and homeschools. Those of us who have had the experience of sending our kids to college know the importance of standardized tests like the ACT and SAT, especially for homeschoolers who sometimes lack other academic credentials that colleges require...
As it turns out, these tests are not only working closely with those designing and advocating the Common Core, but they are now redesigning their tests to align with it.Yes, the Common Core Standards are "voluntary." But it's states, not parents, that decide whether to adopt them. And yes, the Common Core Standards are "merely guidelines" that "don't dictate curricula or pedagogy." But as I've argued earlier, this very vagueness has had the effect of further enabling current fads.
And the more these fads penetrate what once were independent aptitude tests, the more they diminish the educational options of bright, eccentric, fad-bucking students.