53. Common Core State Standards in Education (5/13)

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Whereas since the publication in 1983 of A Nation at Risk, a federal report on the status of education in the US, there has been an increasing push by both Democrats and Republicans to reform public education from the top down through federal goals, standards, testing requirements, reporting, and monitoring of children and families; these federal initiatives include Goals 2000, America 2000, No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now Common Core State Standards; and

Whereas the US Constitution gives no authority to the federal or state governments in the area of education; and

Whereas the US Code (which is the codification of the general and permanent laws of the United States) specially prohibits federal control of education as stated under 20 USC § 1232a; and

Whereas the federal government acquires its power in the area of education by providing money and services to people through public and private schools in exchange for their compliance with federal and state regulations; and

Whereas there now exist federal and state education goals, standards, and testing requirements together with requirements for extensive reporting of personal and education-related data about students, parents, and families by schools that receive federal and/or state education-related money; and

Whereas the state of Wisconsin receives federal education money, is subject to federal goals in education and the federal No Child Left Behind statute, and has adopted the Common Core State Standards; and

Whereas many of these reforms such as performance-based assessment, school choice and voucher programs, charter and virtual charter schools, and distance learning programs are state programs and involve state goals and assessments and begin at very early ages; and

Whereas databases related to federal and state education programs now hold enormous amounts of personal information about children and their families and are now being accessed and used by public school districts; and

Whereas in 1991-1992, WPA worked to bring over 1,100 people, mostly homeschoolers, to nine Wisconsin cities for public hearings considering educational state standards and testing, and then WPA was instrumental in securing for all Wisconsin parents a statutory provision that gave them the authority at their request to have their children exempted from state-mandated testing (Wisconsin was the first state to provide such an exemption); and

Whereas the only effective way for families to successfully avoid being included in the statewide reporting of children’s and families’ personal information through statewide educational databases (including having their personal information shared and monitored) is to not enroll their children in public or private school programs that receive federal or state money; and

Whereas WPA has consistently urged homeschooling parents not to seek educational-related services such as educational vouchers, tax credits, participation in public school sports, etc. from the federal, state, or local governments because doing this would undoubtedly undermine homeschoolers’ freedom to choose an education for our children consistent with our principles and beliefs; and

Whereas despite the fact that the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) allows parents to request that their children’s directory information (such as a student’s name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, honors and awards, and dates of attendance) not be automatically released to many parties without their permission, schools that receive federal money are nevertheless authorized to share directory data along with much other information with a wide variety of agencies, and parents cannot prevent this from happening while their children attend such schools; and

Whereas since many federal and state standards and reporting requirements now represented in the Common Core State Standards have a long history of support by both major political parties and have been instituted over the past 25 years, the most realistic opposition to their negative effects is to remain free of schools that receive federal and/or state money, including programs and benefits such as state vouchers and tax credits; and, if one’s child is in a public school, to request that the child not be required to take state-mandated tests since they drive the educational curriculum and standards;

Be it resolved by members of Wisconsin Parents Association (WPA) that WPA will work to educate parents, legislators, the media, and the general public about the problems with federal and state standards in education, testing, and monitoring of children and families.

And be it further resolved that WPA will work to ensure that these educational standards, testing requirements, and monitoring of children and families are not applied to homeschools.

Note: Many of the topics and related statutes in this resolution are included in the WPA handbook, Homeschooling In Wisconsin. 5/4/2013

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