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Many critics of the Common Core State Standards Initiative have raised issues about federalism regarding the adoption and implementation of the standards. While these are indeed important points, another grave aspect to consider about the standards is that they completely alter the fundamental purpose of education.
The true aim of education is to create free persons, capable of governing themselves and independent from any large entity, enabling them to pursue their own, individual goals for the sake of the common good. Education is a type of liberation that equips individuals with the proper tools to be able to discern their own future rather than have it dictated to them.
Antithetical to the true purpose of education, the Common Core State Standards Initiative simply prepares students to enter college of the workforce. The curriculum merely teaches “skills” that will supposedly help students in the workforce, rather than truly educate them.
Unlike the Common Core standards, an authentic education is more than simply an acquisition of skills for a particular type of task; rather, it provides the student with the ability to think for himself and discover who he is as an individual in the world. With this knowledge, students will be able to apply their learning to daily life by continuously raising challenging questions and learning from the world around them rather than just learning for the purpose of a job or a test.
The Common Core carries with it the underlying assumption that every child is destined to enter some form of college, whether it be community college or university, and eventually enter the workforce. However, this notion reveals how these standards have truly obliterated the true purpose of education.
In this way, the government, rather than the parents and students, decide what is the right future for each child. Furthermore, the government, with Common Core, has decided that the same future, to enter the workforce, is right future for each and every American child, regardless of the child’s abilities and aspirations.
In addition to stripping parents and students of control over education, the students are merely accessories for the government’s use. With Common Core, and the emphasis on acquisition of skills rather than authentic learning, students become simply robots for the government machine, whose only purpose is to enter the workforce so that the Unites States can “compete globally.”
The Common Core is dangerous because not only does is remove educational choice from families and communities, but it also has the possibility to remove the student’s choice about his role in the community and the world by directing every student to one future.
The removal of great works of literature from the curriculum and the replacement of these pieces with government texts and manuals emphasizes the reduction of students to simply workers rather than individual, distinct human beings. Traditionally, literature has allowed the student to ponder the deep truths of humanity and apply them to his own life. However, these informational texts in the Common Core curriculum discourage application and connection to daily life but simply focus on analysis of the particular text, without context.
Anything that the government does not deem necessary for “career-readiness” is eliminated from the curriculum; students do not really learn but merely gain skills which the government believes will enhance their performances in the workforce. With the Common Core Initiative, students essentially become experimental products of the educational system rather than individual human beings with the capacity and the liberty to decide their own futures.
Furthermore, the implementation of the Common Core reveals a threat to republican self-rule, which is so highly valued in this country. It has long been established that education is dealt with on a local rather than a national level because communities are responsible for forming the citizens and each has distinct values.
By the people giving up the power to rule themselves and handing over this basic power of education to the federal government, it fundamentally changes what a school is. Schools are supposed to be independent to reflect traditional American values in which local leaders had control over what was taught distinct from federal authority. With the Common Core Standards the national government gains control over what is taught, obliterating community authority, thus changing the character of American government. Through the nationalization of education, there is a basic assumption that there is no difference among humans in distinct communities and circumstances. This notion completely disregards the fact that human beings are unique and capable of more than just performance in a job.
The government has decided to completely alter the goals of education from cultivating the passion for lifelong learning and developing the person to think for himself to solely “career-readiness.” With this as the ultimate goal of education in the Common Core, students are reduced to mere products of the system on which to be experimented until the government decides the best method.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative greatly threatens individual liberty because it allows the federal government, rather than the parents and students themselves, to decide the purpose and ultimate goals of education. The curriculum fundamentally changes the crux of education from learning to acquisition of skills which disregards the individual humanity of each student and reduces them to products of the educational system with only one purpose-to enter the workforce. It is not the role of the government to dictate to the American children and families what their particular role is within society, yet this is exactly what is happening with Common Core.
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