Too Afraid to be Honest

Last month, the Oregon Deputy Superintendant of Public Instruction, Rob Saxton, was asked about projections from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium. The group, which is made up of government education bureaucrats (including Mr. Saxton), predicted that 65% of Oregon high school students would not pass the new Smarter Balance/Common Core test this year. The quote from the Oregonian (12/10/14) is as follows:

“We have not taught to a high enough standard,” he said. “I feel those scores are accurate. Before, we always sugarcoated it. Kids and parents thought they were on the trajectory for success and they weren’t because we were too afraid to be honest.”

The last comment, “we were too afraid to be honest,” is unusually candid. It means, “things are so bad we can’t tell you about it.” It also means that students and parents were willfully deceived. This is the same system that now announces it knows best how to make students college and career ready for a 21st century global economy. Common Core has been rolled out with spectacular, though unsubstantiated, claims.

Weren’t the 2009 Oregon State High School Content Standards rolled out with great fanfare, announcing how much higher the standards were compared to previous sets?

Weren’t the 1991 CIM & CAM (Certificates of Initial Mastery and Advanced Mastery) rolled out with great fanfare, announcing how much higher the standards were compared to previous sets?

One must remember that the CIM and CAM standards were killed by the State Legislature in 2007 after the public school system showed it could not live up to them. New standards were passed. Those have now been replaced by the Common Core standards. These new measures, they say, are what are really needed.

And people believe it?

Have you noticed how public education spokespeople have been talking about pre-Common Core instruction and testing? They are saying the old tests just gave us a number, but now we will have a lot more data. Or, the old standards were unfair because they were different in other states. Make note of all the promises associated with Common Core; for when public education fails with these new standards, there will be another set introduced the same way. Also note that though the standards are replaced from time to time, federal power over local education steadily advances, along with its data collection, priorities, and anti-biblical values.

Parents who place their trust in the know-how of the public school system to prepare their children for intelligent adulthood are turning a blind eye to history. And Christian parents should be even more careful, for they are entrusted with the moral formation of their children, too.   Let us not be too afraid to be honest.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9