An advocacy group for charter school parents in Florida is warning its parents about widely circulating myths regarding Common Core State Standards. While the recent newsletter from Parents for Charter Schools doesn’t endorse Common Core, it does attempt to dispel what it says are a few misleading statements – and in tone, its language echoes that of Common Core supporters.
“There is so much misinformation out there and we all know that knowledge is power,” says the newsletter, which is posted on the group’s facebook page. “Some of the more common myths are that we will bring the standards down to the lowest common denominator. This (is) just not true. The standards will be brought up (to) the higher standards.”
The charter school parent group’s statements are another intriguing tidbit in the battle over Common Core, which has fuzzed up traditional lines between education factions. It also further complicates, at least in Florida, a side skirmish over whether the standards will help or hurt school choice.
As we’ve reported before, many private schools in Florida are embracing Common Core as part of a parental engagement effort led by Step Up For Students, which co-hosts this blog. Many Catholic schools in Florida and beyond have also warmed to the standards, though with a faith-based twist and with more reticence recently as political heat over the standards has risen.
Charter schools, like other choice sectors, are incredibly diverse, so caution should obviously be used before sweeping statements are made about charters and Common Core. Parents for Charter Schools is affiliated with the Florida Consortium of Public Charter Schools, which represents hundreds of charters. One of the parent group’s co-chairs, Henry Rose, could not be immediately reached for comment.
The group ended its newsletter with a balanced but cautionary note: “It is obvious that (with Common Core) the student has to do more than just repeat facts back and put them in a five sentence paragraph. The student must think and understand the material. It appears that our students will have more standardized testing but who really knows this is going to work. When any new educational strategy is put in place it takes time for the professionals to tweak and work out the kinks. We do not really know exactly what this is going to look like in the end and how it will ultimately be implemented is yet to be seen.”
In August, the Center for Reinventing Public Education sent a similar message. It said on its blog that while there was optimism among charter school leaders about Common Core, many were not up to speed on details and many charter school support groups had done little to prepare the schools for the new types of instruction that will be required.
“With all its flexibilities and nimbleness, the charter sector could be a small but powerful “little red caboose” for new Common Core educational designs, the post said. But, the authors added, “there is also a strong possibility that Common Core implementation could derail the charter movement, especially if schools are not adequately prepared for the depth of instructional change the new standards imply.”