Former presidential candidate and Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul is telling parents to ditch Common Core, and try out his vision of homeschooling instead.
In his essay written for Campaign for Liberty, Paul derides Common Core as a “curriculum developed by federal bureaucrats and education ‘experts.'” He complains that the new standards replace conventional math with “reform math” and classical works of literature with “‘informational’ texts, such as studies by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.”
“Those poor kids!” Paul laments.
“The devil with Common Core lies not in its details but in its underlying principle,” Paul says in the piece. “The idea that government ‘experts’ can centrally plan a nation’s educational system is just as flawed as the idea that government can centrally plan the economy.”
The description of Common Core as a centrally directed national curriculum is one that rankles supporters, especially on the right. The conservative Fordham Institute, for instance, has worked hard to emphasize that Common Core’s standards are not the same as a curriculum, and that its national scope was created through the collaboration by state governments rather than by Department of Education bureaucrats.
That defense has not been enough for many, though, including Paul, who praises Oklahoma for moving to “protect” the state’s children by abandoning Common Core. Last month, Paul said in an interview that Common Core was the “last straw” for many people regarding public education.
As an alternative to Common Core, Paul promotes his own curriculum, fittingly titled the Ron Paul Curriculum. The Ron Paul Curriculum, launched last fall, is designed to be used by homeschoolers, and takes a unique approach to education that reflects Paul’s libertarian-leaning political values.
The Curriculum includes lessons on Austrian economics and libertarian political theory, and teaches students how to start their own business on the Internet. It almost totally eschews social studies until students are at the high school level, taking the view that early childhood social studies education mostly promotes statism. The Curriculum also reflects a Christian worldview, with early history education putting significant focus on the Book of Genesis, Biblical Israel and the Reformation.
Paul’s program is also designed to be relatively cheap, as it uses no textbooks and is mostly self-taught, meaning there is little need for costly teachers. High school learning builds up to students taking CLEP exams that can provide students with college credit, thereby allowing them to graduate earlier and at a lower cost.
The program is free for kindergarten through fifth grade materials, but accessing later materials costs $250 per year plus $50 per individual course. In an effort to attract more participants, Paul is offering a special online summer school program where parents can buy in for three months for just $25.
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