The Problem with Common Core Standards (and what NOT to do about it)

Guest Correspondent, Rob Schaeffer
This article was originally published at Reprinted with express permission of the author.

What is happening in American public education right now is alarming.

That being said, the crisis/problems in public education did not suddenly develop with the introduction of the Common Core Standards. At a basic philosophical level, the problem stems from a failure to realize that education is the responsibility of parents – it is a part of the responsibility we have to raise our children and assist them in growing up to be godly men and women. Parents can (and do) delegate some of the tasks involved, but the overall responsibility & supervision remains theirs.

Horace Mann

Horace Mann

In this country, about 150 years ago, the intellectual elite decided that most parents were too stupid to be trusted to raise their children. This was a shaking of the foundations. From Horace Mann to John Dewey to Ellwood Cubberley the focus has been to have the state and schools assume responsibility for the raising of children. This is the fundamental cause of the conflict between educational bureaucrats and homeschoolers. They do NOT see education as a matter of parental choice. They believe they, and only they, have the competence and authority to decide what is best for children – all children, including YOUR children.

Common Core has to be evaluated at multiple levels. The problem is NOT that any particular granular skill defined in the Common Core is wrong, or offensive. I have yet to find one, and I’ve asked repeatedly for someone to point out to me what part of the Standards themselves is offensive. At the granular, individual standard level, the only thing wrong with the Common Core standards is that they are incomplete and set the bar too low.

The problem is the bureaucratic superstructure which is using the Common Core Standards to assert and reclaim control over the education of all children. Homeschoolers have been resisting this for 40 years. We must continue to do so. But we must recognize that it’s not our methods or books that cause concern. Our existence is what offends them. They don’t want us to just comply with tests & texts, they want us to return control of the children to them.

A huge consequence of thinking about Common Core along these lines is to recognize that there is NOTHING wrong with teaching the individual standards or using the texts that do. I repeat, their only problem at the base level is that they are incomplete and set the bar too low. So, have no fear of using a book that is Common Core. Letting your child read an Usborne book will not result in their growing up to be homeless on the streets of Seattle.

Homeschool publishers and Usborne books are NOT part of the problem, even if they align with every one of the Common Core Standards, which I dare say almost all of them do. In fact, the good ones meet them and exceed them!

The problem is the long chess match between parents and the educrats over who will control the children.

Who does God entrust children to?

And who has responsibility for their education?

Those are the fundamental questions.

Common Core is a fad. Pay attention to the long game, the chess match.

PLEASE, PLEASE, stop branding, tagging, homeschool publishers with the Scarlet “A” because they use Common Core Aligned books.

If we are to resist the onslaught of the educational establishment and their attempts to reclaim authority and control over the education of all children, we’re going to NEED homeschool publishers.




Rob ShearerRob Shearer is the Director of the Francis Schaeffer Study Center, the publisher of Greenleaf Press and a pioneering homeschool dad. Read more of his work at and the Francis Shaeffer Study Center.






I'm a storyteller. Fortunately, that is also what I get paid to do. Born on a boat and bred on the back of a horse I tend to see the world a bit differently ... and I sway when I walk.

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