By Renée Smith | j&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana

Since the Internet became part of our daily lives, almost nothing is private. Anyone can learn about anything, any time. Obscure people and acts morph into overnight international sensations.

The events in Boston this past week are a prime example of good that can come from this exposure. Once the pictures were posted, the terrorists were as good as caught.

However with the dearth of information available, what we select to follow can shape our beliefs – whether we know it or not.

There was a time, not that many years ago, when information primarily came from the daily newspaper and the three major networks. I currently live in a condo with a common front door to eight units. I am the only one who takes the daily paper, and I am not the oldest occupant!

I have always loved to read, and breakfast just doesn’t taste as good unless I have a paper to read. Granted, I may already know about some of the news, but the paper gives me details.

The casualty with information overload is that none of us can possibly stay informed about everything. Consequently, we tend to learn about those items that are posted on the Internet sites we follow. This gives the site the ability to control what we learn.

During the recent election I was saddened by numerous “man on the street” interviews about the upcoming election conducted by talk show hosts. So many young adults had no clue about who was running, who the current government leaders were, what the most basic issues were.

Lack of education allows those with less than pure intentions to control our lives.

How does this affect the education of your children?

Are you following the discussion on Common Core Standards? My prior three posts on this subject generated scant comments so I assume (I know the dangers of assuming) that they are not a hot topic.

Most parents want to be assured that their kindergartners are ready for school; that each child does their best; that they are not bullied; that they do their homework; that the teacher is fair. Parents don’t usually notice curriculum unless something offensive pops up.

If Common Core is accepted and implemented, it won’t matter if a parent finds anything offensive or lacking. Local control of curriculum will have been ceded to the federal government. If Common Core is just standards, how can the government control curriculum? Because curriculum is already being written and widely available that conforms to the standards. The logic is difficult to argue. If the school must conform to the standards, then shouldn’t the curriculum also conform to the standards?

And don’t forget that at least 10% of the local school budget comes from the federal government with strings securely attached to the Common Core Standards.

Another educational blog that I follow recently wrote about a “new” trend in local curriculum. His example referred to the requirement of the Chicago Public Schools to teach black history. This makes sense in Chicago, but would not make sense in Palm Beach.

His new idea is actually a very old idea making a return. The Founders believed that education should be local. Many would argue that the world has changed and that education can no longer afford to be local. I would argue that local people realize that the world has changed and know that a restricted curriculum would not serve students.

But what will the Chicago schools have to shorten or eliminate in order to have time to teach black history?

So what does all of this mean? Your children only get one chance for a quality education. If you are not staying abreast of what is being taught – and not taught – to them, who is?