I know it’s fashionable to criticize and mock the "helicopter mom" or the more modern "tiger moms" as women obsessed with making sure little Blake and baby Rand get into Harvard by 16. You know those women famed for waspishly confronting anyone who stands in the way of their child’s perceived path to success. Hell hath no fury like a mom who wants a national merit scholar – by the 8th birthday.
But I think these crazy broads are misunderstood and I kind of like them – mainly because I am one.
Look – what you’ve read about us "helio-tiger" moms is not all true. Do some of us – and by "some" I mean me – find themselves Googling the phrase "What are the Chinese are teaching their four-year-olds about math" when I should be sleeping? Sure. But I like to think us "helio-tigers" just want to make sure we – and not some outside influence — is in charge of our child’s upbringing. Actually – I think, in many instances, helio-tiger mommy-ing can be a good thing – and not to brag – but chicks like us get things done.
Which is why it so distressing that so many of us are woeful unaware and uninvolved in the actual laws, policies and mandates that governor our child’s education, and in fact, in many, many instances now in America – these laws actually thwart the development of an educated mind. It’s beyond distressing to hear Type A’s like me that were once doctors, lawyers and biz whizzes turned SAHM (that’s the twitter handle for we Stay at Home Mom’s) say they are "experts" now in their children but then quickly turn around and say they don’t "understand" or "get into" politics! Please, visualize me right now giving a rather large and highly dramatic shudder.
My fellow helio-tigers moms: you need to wake up, Sisters! If you are not engaging in education policy in America, fom fighting outrageous mandates and pushing for school choice, you are short changing your children more than denying them violin lessons with Yo-Yo Ma (yes, I Googled that too).
Let me give you one example. Common Core Standards have been handed down by the federal government and been adopted in Pennsylvania. Heard of them? They are about to ruin your child’s hope for a brilliant mind and they are coming to a school near you.
In the wake of No Child Left Behind’s failure, there’s been an endless bellow for national academic standards. The argument being states should not have their own curricula; instead there should be one national standard and curriculum to keep up in a global economy.
In 2009, The Common Core State Standards Initiative was created to do just that. It was a bad policy created under President Bush (the second) that President Obama made worse by bribing states with up to $75 million dollars in grants and "relief" from the awful No Child Left Behind" if they adopted Common Core.
Before I even get into awfulness of Common Core – please know – while "national standards" and "keeping up in a globalize economy" sound great – it never works. Never.
Federal educational mandates are an epic fail for our children. Furthermore, the money and so-called "higher standards" supposedly in Common Core, have been proven to have no correlation to student success. The Brookings Institution and National Center for Education Statistics both did studies that failed to find a correlation between high standards and high student achievement.
And isn’t it high achievers we’re looking to create? Don’t you know best about how your children will perform? Shouldn’t we in our town in Pennsylvania be able to have our schools adapt to the needs of our community and our children? Tiger moms – let me ask you – how many of you have taken time to explain your point of view (or, as some accuse us: "raise hell") to your child’s teacher, the principal, the school board? And how many times have you walked away victorious? Ok. And how many of you have made your way down to Washington D.C., gone to the Department of Education, sat with the bureaucrat in charge of mandates for your child’s education and won? Exactly. And guess which group has more control of over your child’s future? (FYI – it’s not the school board).
Right now, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats and wealthy "big education" lobbyists in D.C. are making educational decisions for your baby and you have zero control over it, ladies. That ought to get you moving.
As a true tiger/helicopter mom – you will be hearing a lot more from me on Common Core and education in general. But my fellow moms – You need to wake up! You might not be interested in politics but the political world has stake and an interest in our childrens’ education and very little of it benefits our babies. It’s time to get engaged and involved.
You can learn more by following me, Jennifer Stefano — on twitter @stefanospeaks or go to my organization’s website: Americans for Prosperity.org/Pennsylvania.