More to Common Core than meets the eye

To the Editor:

I recently attended the Worthington school board's presentation of the new Common Core standards, which will be implemented next year. On the surface, the standards sound wonderful. On further research in just a few short weeks, I have uncovered a myriad of problems for parents, teachers and taxpayers.

My first concern is the loss of privacy to families and their children. Common Core requires all children to be tracked and their data placed into federally mandated databases. These include learning disabilities, test scores, attendance and behavior. The list can be endless.

Ohio Revised Code requires the data maintained in the education management information system to include "Any data required to be collected pursuant to federal law," but it specifies few limitations. Who decides what is collected? Is it the U.S. Department of Education? Do researchers decide? Or is it some bureaucrat in Washington? There is no opt-out provision and no parent-required authorization.

Privacy laws will not help us much. Congress did not define "state and local education authority" in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the U.S. Department of Education made its own definition and it appears they can give anyone they choose access to your child's personal data. Your child's info could be provided to any entity that would benefit in creating educational products.

So what is the true motivation behind this information gathering? Financial incentivizing to states and schools is helping companies get the information they desire. Cost increase (estimated at two to three times the cost per pupil), de-emphasis of gifted students, tracking, rising rates of IEPs, teaching to the tests, test scores' weight on grades, distorted international rankings and following the money trail are just a few of the pitfalls of Common Core I have found.

My hope is that Worthington City Schools would tread lightly when making investments into these required materials. At the meeting, one member asked how we would know this curriculum is here to stay, as we seem to change every few years with new required materials. With four states rejecting Common Core, 12 states with pending legislation to stop it and a growing movement throughout our nation now that parents and teachers know the many consequences, we need to start questioning what we are really getting into with Common Core.

Lee Hunter