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I Have a Question…and Need Your Help

I have been doing a lot of thinking of late. When I started Learning Tangent, it was with idea of a publishing a religiously inclusive homeschool magazine. One that focused on quality content, not filling with ads, etc. I also decided against reviewing or taking advertising money from publishers which had aligned their products to Common Core or Next-Gen Science standards (CCSS/NGSS).

I stand by those statements – 100% – that said, there is (I feel) a gray area. Historically, we have also not reviewed/had advertisers where they showed where their product happened to align to those standards. These are publishers/products that fall into another category that we call “Correlated.” It’s important to remember that they did not change anything to align.

That gray area is what I want to discuss today. To some of you, it isn’t gray at all, but starkly contrasting, to others, it may not matter at all. Others may not have even heard of CCSS, and have no idea what I’m talking about….

Here are the two categories, from the Homeschool Resource Roadmap:

Independent (IND) = These companies have not changed anything in regards to the CCS/NGSS/C3 and intend to remain independent of the initiative. They may or may not know of ways in which their materials happen to somehow match some aspects of the CCS/NGSS/C3, but any such connections are purely circumstantial and the providers do not endorse/promote the initiative.

Correlated (COR) = Each of these companies is correlated to – which is different than explicit alignment with – the CCS/NGSS/C3. Correlated providers did not make content changes in order to become “aligned” and, in many cases, have indicated concerns with the initiative. However, they do note (usually on their websites) where/how their materials – as written – correlate with aspects of the CCS/NGSS/C3. In other words, they promote where/how they match the CCS/NGSS/C3, but have not actually changed their content to align.

Why bring it up?

The reason I bring it up is that in the Winter issue, I reviewed Money Munchkids – it really is a terrific product, and the author did not write it to meet any standards but her own.

However, Tina called it to my attention that technically, it would be listed as correlated in the Homeschool Resource Roadmap. Of course, she’s right – but it made me think.

This author had someone tick off some boxes to show schools where it lines up, but she did not change anything, and doesn’t particularly like CCSS.

She did not do it to conform, but because she felt it was a way to get financial education to more kids.

Before I decided to review it, I spoke with her at length – I vetted her the way I would vet any new business relationship, to be sure that she was focused on quality, not some arbitrary set of standards. She is, and does not see any reason to change what she feels is a quality product to suit someone else’s idea of “good education.”

If you want us to look at products in the correlated category, this would be my criteria for deciding to work with a publisher/product:

  1. It can never have been changed to suit CCSS/NGSS. I still feel that grade-level standards were the worst thing to ever hit education, and CCSS/NGSS is just the next in a long line of stupid.
  2. I need to have had a real conversation with the author/publisher. I need to know that they’re ethical, and committed to excellence, not conforming. This is my commitment to you.
  3. It needs to fit a real need in the homeschool community. If it is just another product like many others, I’m most likely going to skip it, because I can find something equally good or better to review in the “Independent” category and skip this gray area altogether.

I feel that the “Correlated” category may have products that could be helpful to a number of readers.

But…before I go down that road, I want to hear from you.

Please share in the comments your thoughts on this. Should we look at reviewing some of those? Should we skip it altogether?

And, just to clarify…this is not a slippery slope. This is an area in which I am unsure. This is me asking if I have been too extreme. There’s no freaking way in this universe or in some alternate one, that I’ll be adding any products aligned to CCSS/NGSS. Ever.