In the “Race to the Top” (the latest catchy slogan in the federal money chase), the increasing focus on standardized testing for children trickles all the way to little ones in preschool and kindergarten programs. We should expect no less in a national initiative focusing on birth to five year olds not under compulsory attendance law demands, along with grabbing more control of young adults exiting the secondary schools. The Heritage Foundation‘s Foundry put together an informative article about the SAT, ACT and even the GED’s test alignment into the Common Core Standards.
Common Core: Homeschoolers Face New Questions on College Admissions by Brittany Corona
Proponents of the standards have tried to argue that Common Core is optional for states. But alignment of tests like the SAT, ACT, and GED poses new questions about the extent to which states, private schools, and homeschooled students will be compelled to accept national standards and tests.
One author of the federal Common Core Standards, David Coleman, now heads the College Board. So, it’s no surprise the SAT exam is being redesigned. Last winter’s Brookings Institution panel event included some of the ‘players’ and laid out agendas. New tests, new federal standards and new data tracking. From a Brookings Institution Fellow:
So the coming years will see the biggest changes to state assessment systems since No Child Left Behind, because states are going to need new tests as they adopt the new Common Core State Standards. We don’t know all that much about how much the current assessment systems cost, much less about how much these new systems are going to cost. So for our project, we were successful in obtaining data from the contracts between states and their testing vendors for the primary assessments, math and reading, in 44 states and the District of Columbia, which account for a combined $669 million in spending on these primary assessments systems. We focused on these contracts, because although they’re not the only source of spending, at the state level they, for the most part, make up the lion’s share of spending, and they were data we could collect in a way that’s comparable across states.
We will watch the new education reform lurch towards various funding incentives. A new twist is product placement in the tests. An eighth grader can figure out where this is heading. Where is the focus? Actions speak louder than words (on a test) and the focus doesn’t appear to be on education, as any good teacher would attest. Homeschoolers and other private schools should pay attention to this new enterprise and realize what happens in public schools can easily slop over into our homes. Most certainly – our communities and the shared learning opportunities we might have with our non-homeschooling friends.