Common Core Standards Increasing Private School Enrolment

privateschoolAs the first weeks of the new school year are getting underway across the country, public school teachers might notice that some of their students from previous years are missing. Where did they go? More and more parents, frustrated with new federal mandates for public schools, are pulling their children out of public schools and placing them in the private school system.

The Common Core curriculum has been the cause of heated debate among parents and educators alike. Many parents feel that the new guidelines focus too heavily on testing and not enough on education. Teachers are also stressed, struggling to keep up with the strict new testing requirements under the Common Core standards.

Common Core State Standards is the latest effort by the federal government to increase America’s competitive edge in the developed world. The legislation, created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, sets strict requirements for where students should be in different subject areas at the end of each grade, K through 12. The program was launched in 2009, with most states adhering to the new standards by the 2010 school year.

Since its inception, public support for the new education initiative has dropped significantly. According to a report by the U.S. News and World Report, a survey conducted by PDK International and Gallup showed that 60% of people surveyed were against the new standards set forth by Common Core. Opponents, originally made up of mostly conservative politicians, now span all political parties, as liberal teachers’ unions join the fight against the program.

In upstate New York, protests have taken the form of declining public school enrollment, with more parents opting for a private education for their children. Private schools that receive no federal funding are not subject to the requirements that public schools must abide by.

Mr. D. D’Amato, Principal at Richmond Hill Montessori School commented that “few nations are as fixated as the United States on using standardized tests as the primary tool for both monitoring achievement and controlling curriculum. The ongoing problem with this practice is that state administered testing does not address the learning needs of students who live in different socioeconomic communities. Standardized testing should not be administered at one specific time period, it should however be administered gradually in stages throughout a school year. This process provides for evaluation to take place, while at the same time allowing for the core classroom curriculum to be exercised.”

An investigation by News 10 NBC in Rochester showed that nearly all private schools in the area saw increases in enrollment since Common Core’s inception in 2010. Some private schools are even using Common Core as a marketing campaign, advertising their freedom from the strict guidelines of the program.

Common Core advocates argue that removing children from public schools is a hasty move, as the initiative was meant to take 12 years to be in full effect. Now, only time will tell whether or not the goals of a more competitive workforce will come to fruition under the new educational reform.

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