As states across the country grapple with the controversial ‘Common Core’ educational guidelines, many Christian homeschooling families and organizations are leading the charge against the standards, asserting that they threaten parents’ rights to educate their children.
Several states—including Texas, Virginia, Indiana, Oklahoma, and, most recently, Louisiana—have all taken steps to partially or completely opt out of the Common Core curriculum. The nationalized Common Core standards would require schools to meet certain learning benchmarks at each grade level, but some educators and lawmakers are skeptical about the program.
“We’re very alarmed about choice and local control of curriculum being taken away from our parents and educators,” Louisiana Governor Billy Jindal stated in a recent press conference.
In addition to educators and lawmakers, many Christian homeschooling families and homeschooling organizations have expressed opposition to Common Core. BJU Press, a leading publisher of Christian homeschooling materials, strongly condemned the motive behind the new standards.
“BJU Press is adamantly opposed to federal direction or involvement in the content or methods of the educational system, whether directly or indirectly,” the company stated in an article on Common Core.
According to a report published this week by the Associated Press, homeschooling parents were instrumental in supporting legislation which repealed the Common Core standards in Oklahoma. Jenni White, a homeschooling mother in Oklahoma who describes herself as a follower of Jesus Christ, was especially elated when her state repealed the educational guidelines. The decision came after White and other homeschool parents spent hours lobbying for parental rights across the state.
“You name it. We had to do it,” White told the Associated Press. “We just had to do it out of a shoestring budget out of our own accounts.”
White believes the widespread opposition to the educational guidelines has surprised many Common Core supporters.
“I don’t think they counted on people understanding that this was a nationalization of education, that you were taking power away from us, not giving it,” she told National Review. “And that is really what has caused a movement on this issue all across the United States.”
Many Christian families are concerned not only about Common Core’s unprecedented nationalization of educational standards, but also by the curriculum’s ungodly content on many issues. Brian Farmer, a columnist for The New American, says the new curriculum “deviates from the Judeo-Christian view of human sexuality.”
“This is not surprising,” Farmed added, “given that the [Common Core] Advisory Committee included directors from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network.”
As previously reported, the Common Core scientific standards have drawn criticism for their treatment of topics such as evolution and global warming. Some lawmakers accused the curriculum of promoting speculative theories instead of demonstrable fact.
Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), a Christian advocacy organization committed to protecting homeschooling freedoms, warns that the Common Core standards are not at all based on Christian values.
“Traditionally, education has been premised on the notion that all education of value is designed to know truth that only can be fully known in God,” an HSLDA article states. “The omission of the pursuit of truth as a core goal of the Common Core demonstrates its alliance with the dominant philosophy of modern education that there are neither absolute truths nor absolute values.”