Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Nebraska Family Forum Opposes Common Core for Nebraska's Children

(Editor’s Note: This article was edited, with permission from the Nebraska Family Forum blog. Please go to Nebraska Family Forum to read the complete article as well as information about other education policies in Nebraska.) 

Nebraska is one of a handful of states that has not yet adopted the Common Core State Standards. Our state has resisted efforts by the federal government to go along with these national standards, even though millions in federal dollars are being dangled as an incentive. However, the Nebraska Board of Education is now considering contracting themselves with the US Department of Education and adopting the Common Core. Here are the reasons the NFF opposes the Common Core:

What is Common Core?

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are a set of content standards at this time limited to English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These standards, if adopted by a state, will replace existing state standards in these subject areas. There are other agreements the states make when they choose to adopt the Common Core State Standards including the new Computerized Adaptive Testing (CAT) that will be given twice yearly, and participation in the State Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) which will store testing data along with private student specific data and share that data with other states, the Federal Government, and private interests.

What's wrong with Standards?

Nothing. Nebraska and every other state has standards, most of which are very similar, but Common Core State Standards were created by national non-governmental organizations in Washington DC with no public involvement.

Are Nebraska's students disadvantaged by not participating in CAT tests?

NO. Research on cognitive ability tests shows that adaptive tests, and paper-and-pencil tests lead to equivalent scores. Paper-and-pencil tests are also cheaper and the state has more control over the content of the tests and what they are designed to measure. It is nearly impossible for state leaders to provide oversight of CAT tests because no two students will see the same test, a grade-level test will have about 1600 possible questions, and it requires psychometrician professionals to interpret the results of such tests.

What information will they store in these data bases and why should I be concerned?

Perhaps the most alarming aspect of the Common Core agenda is the data mining of our children's information outside of parental consent or knowledge. Stored in these data bases that were created as part of the "Race to the Top" grant program is highly personal student data such as social security number, health-care histories, learning disabilities, disciplinary action (from detentions for minor infractions to expulsions), attendance, homework completion, religious affiliations, and any educational or physiological data assessed through CAT. The NFF is concerned that if Nebraska adopts Common Core fully our children's personal and family information will have no protections under privacy laws.


There are a few simple facts about Common Core that make it a dangerous path for American education. (1) States who adopt Common Core lend their constitutional powers and responsibilities to oversee education in their states to the Federal government and move decision making over a child's education further from the hands of parents and communities. (2) There is no way to control the private interests who are highly involved with Common Core or to be certain they have our children's best interest at heart. (3) There is no way to be certain that very private data on our children and by extension our families won't be abused by the Federal Government or private interests with access to this data. And (4) There is NO evidence that further standardizing education and a new testing regime will result in better educations for our children.

Read more about education issues in Nebraska at www.nebraskafamilyforum.org

(This article appeared on the October issue of the "Nebraska Family Times." Our mission at the "Nebraska Family Times" is to "inspire, encourage and motivate you in your Christian walk." We cover national, state, and local issues from a Christian point of view--including issues regarding the education of our children. To receive a FREE issue of the "Nebraska Family Times" e-mail shelly@shellyburke.net or call (402) 750-3496.)