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By Renée Smith | j&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana

 While walking Bentley, my ruggedly handsome miniature schnauzer, a thought came to me regarding current education. (These walks are a great time to think!)

Current educational discussion is like a three – legged stool. One leg is Common Core Standards; the second is the push to provide universal pre-K for four-year-olds; and finally standardized tests balance the stool.

Common Core Standards are already generating “Common Core” compliant curricula. If universal four year old pre-K is implemented, standards for that year won’t be far behind. Add to that standardized testing, which of course, aligns with Common Core, and what you have is a very common education.

Many school systems use DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills) to measure literacy skills for grades K through six. Today I received an email newsletter from DIBELS assuring me that they were working to align DIBELS with Common Core.

Every person and group supporting Common Core will tell you that these tough standards are necessary to compete in the global economy. As I have said previously, local people are not stupid. They know this is a global economy. Secondly, several states already had standards in place that exceeded Common Core.

So why have 46 states agreed to implement Common Core?

Because business persons and academics have determined that their way is the only way to improve American education. The stool is balanced and everyone receives the same education which, of course, will generate a nation of well-educated students! Right?

For some reason as I envisioned my little educational stool, all the children surrounding it were dressed exactly the same! From there my thought processes went wild. Nice walks with Bentley tend to spur my imagination.

Our children are being programmed, not educated! Okay, maybe I’ve gone off the deep end here, but let’s review together what is happening.

One – Common Core Standards supposedly ensures that all children learn the same skills at the same time. Remember that children do not develop at the same time or rate. Everything I have ever learned about the psychology and development of children flies in the face of expecting them to learn the same things at the same time.

Two – universal four-year-old pre-K which is being pushed under the guise of providing preschool for disadvantaged children. Although educating disadvantaged children is a true concern, using it as a justification of formal schooling for all four-year-olds is disingenuous at best.

And three – the ever increasing number of standardized tests, said to be needed to ensure that the children are learning. The sheer number of tests has given rise to the phrase “teaching to the test.” Here’s a conundrum for you – if the teachers actually had the time and freedom to teach, would they even have to worry about “the tests?”

I am not faulting teachers. They are being backed into a corner.

I have a lot more to add on this, but will save it until the next post. Educating our children is so important! If you and your friends are not following educational issues, time is wasting.