I attended a recent meeting (July 31) where the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) presented Common Core to the Delta County School Board. Common Core is a top down (feds to state to local school board) bureaucratic structure eliminating teacher recommendations and experience with each individual child, replacing that with a top-down assessment process.
School board member Kathy Svenson pointed out that in today's world of computers and the Internet, education should and can be tailored to each individual student. Common Core "bucks" the future.
School board member Pete Blair lamented that parents are not involved in the education process. As a registered volunteer and a host family for an exchange student from Poland, I pointed out, after the meeting, that parents are not empowered and even discouraged from participation. I contrasted a "public" school with a "church"-sponsored school where members are actually sought out to participate with building funding and maintenance, food preparation, and individual tutoring for students who might be falling behind. Every student is not the same. Kathy Svenson pointed out that some students will go on to college and some will enter the workforce right out of high school and the education process needs to be diverse enough to support both academic and trade outcomes.
To be fair, the CDE presenters stated that Common Core was a floor not a ceiling, but there can be no doubt that it is a top-down structure. MIT now has most of its undergraduate and graduate courses available free online (http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/). The future is moving to individualized instruction tailored to each student. I hope Delta County can move in that direction. I want to thank board member Kathy Svenson, for her leadership in that direction.