The Common Core: Why Some Private Schools Are Signing On
If Big Brother were behind the new academic standards for public school students in 46 states, you would expect private schools these days to be reveling in their independence. But as I work in Florida to build parent engagement in the nation's largest tax-credit-scholarship program for economically disadvantaged students, private educators in the state are tugging at my sleeve with a remarkable request: Let us use the Common Core State Standards .
These are not idle musings. Our nonprofit, Step Up For Students , oversees the scholarship program, which will serve more than 60,000 low-income students this fall in more than 1,400 private schools in the state. Three-fourths of those schools are faith-based, and all of them covet their educational independence.
As part of our outreach to scholarship parents and schools, we are conducting a pilot project to find ways to promote stronger relationships between parents and teachers. To help educators chart the progress of each student, we have built an online tool that ties their conversations to the benchmarks described in the common core. We have no relationship with the common-core developers or the consortia that are preparing the related tests, and, frankly, we have kept our distance from the political developments in Florida public schools. Our main motivation is practical. We wanted a rigorous set of standards that could be...
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