The end of the nightly homework ritual |

The end of the nightly homework ritual

Other Voices
Jan Collins

Once our children enter school, the almost nightly ritual of helping them with their homework begins. For generations, parents across the country have sat down at the kitchen table with their children nightly and performed this ritual.

Granted, there are times it has been a pain for both child and parent. Nonetheless, helping our children with their homework has become almost a rite of passage for both.

Sadly, with the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) being taught in our schools, this nightly ritual will probably cease to exist. This is especially true in math. There are already thousands of frustrated parents and children across the nation struggling on a nightly basis, as both try to learn a completely new math system that does not make sense to either of them.

The "expert" advocates of Common Core say that doesn't really matter because kids whose parents do not help them with homework will, over the long term, outperform kids whose parents do help them. There is no evidence to support this claim, as these standards have never been tested.

Bill Gates — and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, a major funder of CCSS — admits that it will take 10 to 12 years before we know the results of Common Core — that is at least one full generation of children subjected to an education that may or may not succeed.

That makes our kids guinea pigs in the latest ongoing trend to latch onto a new "innovative" way to teach. Heaven forbid we just teach math the way it has always been taught, in the way that Bill Gates of Microsoft fame probably learned math.

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CCSS is a set of standards being taught nationwide in kindergarten through 12th grade. It was created without the input of teachers or parents. No vote was taken by Congress, state legislatures or the public.

All testing will be online, as will most of the curricula. Parents will not see the test results. They also will not see the massive amount of personal data that will be collected on their children and their families through the aligning of every state and federal government database and survey.

Data from these high-stakes tests, which were designed by people who were never teachers, could be used to determine our children's career paths and futures. And parents are not being told they have the legal right to opt out of the testing.

Common Core testing will impact our teachers and our schools. Teachers are already leaving their positions in many states because they feel the standards are not age-appropriate, and they are seeing first hand the effect that these standards are having on their students. Let's stop reforming and standardizing and start restoring education by honoring the student/teacher relationship where inspired learning takes place.

Bill Gates has been instrumental in the development of the CCSS and has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into the development and promotion of these new standards to prepare our children to be "college and career ready," so they can "compete in the 21st century." Now I ask you, what makes someone who did not complete college think he knows what it takes to prepare our children for college?

Sadly, Gates demonstrates that if you have enough money, you can even purchase public institutions that are supposed to serve us all. So much Gates' money, and so many people willing to take it!

Why should anyone be allowed to dictate our children's futures, just because they have billions of dollars? This is all about the money to be made through E-learning, which is expected to be a $17 billion industry by 2017!

To learn more about the problems with CCSS, attend the Common Core Town Hall Tuesday evening (April 29) at the Grass Valley Elks Lodge, 6:30 p.m. The speakers are recognized experts Dr. Sandra Stotsky, attorney Brad Dacus and educator Lydia Gutierrez.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at BriarPatch, Gold-N-Green or online at A VIP reception before the town hall is $35 by reservation only; call 530-802-0865. For more information, go to

This isn't about politics — this is about our kids!

Jan Collins lives in Penn Valley and is the founder of Common Core Concerns.

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