PCA and Common Core

If you are passionate about education, then the phrase “Common Core” is probably not a new one to you.  There is a lot being written about Common Core these days, and depending on whom you are listening to, it can sound like either the best thing or the worst thing ever to happen to schools across the U.S.  So what is Common Core, and, more importantly, how does it affect education at Pinnacle Classical Academy? Let’s tackle that second question first.

Common Core has absolutely no influence or authority regarding education at Pinnacle Classical Academy. That’s right. Because PCA is 100% privately funded by tuition and gifts, we are under no obligation at any state or federal level to adapt or conform our curriculum to the Common Core standards.  The same cannot be said for public schools, charter schools or any school that accepts government funds.

Some forward thinking individuals will point out that if Common Core gains more influence over time, that eventually standardized tests (such as the Stanford-9 and SAT) will be geared toward information emphasized in the Common Core curriculum. Moreover, they suggest that such emphasis may have an adverse effect on students’ ability to perform well on these tests if they have been educated outside of Common Core controlled schools.

At PCA we like to think of ourselves as being even more forward thinking than that- that is, with our sights set on nothing lower than Christ’s eternal kingdom, we attest along with I Timothy 4:8 that “godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” Our educational standards are rigorous, and our moral and intellectual compass is tuned to the Bible. Earthly standards will come and go, but PCA has never been primarily concerned with the applause of men. Our vision has always been to “graduate students instilled with a lifelong love of learning, equipped for service in love to God and man.” And, we suspect that even if standardized tests change over time that PCA educated students will continue to excel on them. More importantly, though, we aim for them to excel in living a life in obedience and love to the Maker of Everything.

But back to that first question, what exactly is Common Core? We’ll let you decide for yourself in the end, but as the very name “Common Core” implies, it is at its core an attempt to standardize curriculum across all K-12 schools in the U.S. Why was it undertaken? Largely because of the general consensus that many public schools are failing our children. Though it may have initially begun as a consortium of states attempting to adopt similar standards for their public schools, Common Core is now incentivized with federal “Race to the Top” government dollars. And this raises several important questions: if the federal government is going to influence curriculum at every institution of K-12 public education, then who will determine that curriculum, how rigorous will it be, what will be the dominant worldview taught through that curriculum and to what ultimate purpose will the curriculum be crafted?

To say that Common Core is an issue that has potentially far-reaching consequences is a bold understatement, and we encourage everyone interested in K-12 education to learn more about it.

To hear praise of the Common Core from its official website, click here.

To hear criticisms of the Common Core from a group of concerned mothers, click here.

We also recommend the following for more information about the classical, Christian approach to education. What indeed is the goal of education?

Why Classical Education? -by Luke Nieuwsma

The Classical Education of the Founding Fathers  -by Martin Cothran