Monday, March 10, 2014

OPINION PIECE: Your Children are YOURS

I hear many questions about what to do about Common Core and how it affects our children and families. One that keeps coming up is "Well, what can I do about this program or that program? How can I stop my child from being affected by it?"

At what point did YOUR child become a ward of the state? At what point when you put them on that yellow school bus and sent them on their way did you cease to be in charge?

A very smart woman said that when you give away the control you give away the power. But why are we giving away the control of our children? If the school board or district you are in says they can't do something, do it yourself! There are MANY ways in which YOU can make decisions about your child and their future.

Contrary to what many politicians say, including Governor Bobby Jindal, R-La, our children are not put on this planet to further the US workforce. They are not here to compete globally. They are not here to become worker bees for huge global companies. They are NOT government pawns. Maybe that's what you want for your children, but for mine I dream of creativity, goals, individuality, and I pray they follow in the path of developing Godly character, always striving to do what is right. 

Contrary to what Melissa Harris-Perry says, your children are YOURS. You have the power! Use it! If you do not want your children involved in certain aspects of public education, do not let them. Sex Education Standards? Find out what’s being taught! Tell the school you want your child opted out. Find out what surveys they take and tell the school you want them all sent home before your child fills them out. Find out what assessments are actually high stakes tests and OPT YOUR CHILD OUT. High stakes means the teachers jobs and school funding are tied to it and/or your child must pass test to pass grade. There are not as many high stakes tests as you think, and you need to find out which ones are so you can opt your child out. Simply contact your teacher, principal and for good measure, send a copy of your letter to the school board, state school board and state superintendent. If you need some guidance on how to do this, please see and their wonderful resources on how to reclaim what is rightfully yours--your child's education and your freedom to choose it.

Get INVOLVED in your local school boards and see what happens at meetings. Get to know the members and how they feel. Ask questions, ask for black and white proof of what is happening in schools. Call them on their actions, hold them accountable, and show up. At schools, at meetings, everywhere you can. You can’t go to everything, or you’ll stress yourself out and defeat the purpose if you’ve no time for the very babies you are trying to protect. But pick what your passionate about and run with it.

Some will say to just pull your child and home school. I did. Maybe it's right for you. Maybe it's NOT. Maybe you live in a state where home schooling is just as regulated as public school and you are still subject to Common Core and it's many tentacles. Home schooling is NOT the answer for everyone. It's not that it's impossible for everyone, but it just may not be a good fit for some families and I see NO shame in admitting that as a parent. But if you can and feel it's best for your family, do it! Pull your child and home school. This monstrosity that is Common Core, High Stakes Testing, Fed-Ed cannot continue if students are not in the chairs and tests are not being taken. 

There is a slippery slope one goes down in learning about Common Core and all it involves. It's hard to un-learn it. Sometimes I wish I could, I admit. It's nice to live on Denial Street where I can stick my head in the sand. But it's not safe. It's not a free place. When you give them all the control, you lose the power to make decisions, the power to think, the power to LIVE. Don't let them do that to you. Start standing up for yourself, your children, your tax dollars!

You don't have to be loud. Definitely don't be rude. But be firm. I like to look at the powers that be and government as toddlers....would you let a toddler eat all the candy they want just because they asked nicely or made a sweet face at you? No, because it's not good for them and you know it will have bad repercussions. So why do we let them take our children's future because they smile sweetly and spout out statistics that have absolutely no factual bearing whatsoever? We know where it will lead and it won't be a land of liberty and justice.

Take your power back, just a little bit at a time. I'd like you to read the lyrics to one of my very favorite songs, "Freedom" by Amos Lee. I'm not sure his intention of this song because as is in many of his lyrics, it can be widely interpreted. (It is good to note Lee was a former elementary teacher before trying the musician gig full time.) But I listen to this now with new ears. It's a great listen if you wish to look it up.

 Don't wanna be a martyr in this war 
Don't wanna hear the same excuses anymore 
That everything's a threat 
And it's only gonna get worse if we let it 
 Don't wanna blame the rich for what they got 
Don't point a finger at the poor for what they have not 
Though the politician and the priest 
Live in the belly of the beast because we fed it 
 Freedom is seldom found By beating someone to the ground 
Telling them how everything is gonna be now, yeah 
 Now if the tables were turned tell me how you would feel 
Somebody busted up into your house telling you to stay still 
While the leaders will deny defeat Innocents they testify by dying in the street 
 Freedom is seldom found By beating someone to the ground 
Telling them how everything is gonna be now 

Don't let your babies be the innocent dying in the street of this war. Don't let them push you around and convince you that because you're just a parent you don't know what's best. Trust yourself. Trust your instinct. Trust in God.

Amy Dutsch
Founder, Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards in Louisiana
Admin: Parents and Educators Against Common Core Standards