| Although education has not been a front burner issue in this election cycle, there is some evidence that word about the dangers of and problems with the Common Core national standards, about which we have warned you for a long time, is slowly getting out. In addition to Education Liberty Watch, the group of academics, policy makers and individuals that developed and gained over 100 original signatures on a counter-manifesto against the Common Core, The Cato Institute, The Heritage Foundation, Truth in American Education, teachers, parents, and policy makers are working hard to educate and to protest this loss of autonomy, local control and academic rigor. Stanley Kurtz, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, in interviews on Fox News and the Mike Huckabee show pointed out the constitutional and academic dangers of the Common Core in his new book Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. In it, he said:
The core of the hard-left’s education agenda – a program shared by Obama, Ayers, and Darling-Hammond alike – has three parts: 1) a politicized curriculum that promotes leftist notions of “social justice,” 2) reducing “disparate outcomes” between students in different districts by undercutting standards, and 3) a redistribution of suburban education funding to less-well-off urban schools. Achieving these goals on a broad scale requires the federal government to usurp local control of K-12 schooling.
Obama is half-way there.
How did he do it? Instead of submitting his controversial education proposals to Congress and kicking off a vigorous national debate, Obama quietly marked $4.35 billion of federal stimulus spending for his Race to the Top education initiative. Since the stimulus bill was rushed through Congress with barely any debate on economic policy, much less education, Obama never had to go public with his plans.
By coordinating with outside groups not accountable to the voters, like the deep-pocketed Gates Foundation, the White House then orchestrated the creation of a national Common Core of education standards, with an accompanying curriculum and tests.
Supposedly, these standards have been voluntarily adopted by more than 40 states. In fact, by effectively conditioning eligibility for Race to the Top grants on participation in the Common Core, the Obama administration has forced economically pinched states to surrender control of their school curricula to the federal government. Cleverly, states have been pressed to sign on to the Common Core before the actual standards, curricula, and tests are revealed in a second Obama term. The entire scheme is arguably both illegal and unconstitutional. Yet it is moving forward, and the public knows virtually nothing about it.
In addition, state legislators and governors are also starting to respond to this unconstitutional federal takeover of education curriculum. According to the states listed or not listed on this comprehensive review table by Daniel Thatcher of the National Conference of State Legislatures, the breakdown of how states are dealing with the Common Core is as follows:
- Twelve of the 46-1/2 states and Washington DC (Minnesota has accepted the English and reading standards) or almost 25% have actively sought through legislation to withdraw from, disapprove, require legislative input or other negative measures regarding the Common Core. Four of these measures were enacted.
- The strongest of the four measures that passed was enacted in Utah which allows the state to withdraw from any kind of arrangement that cedes Utah’s control over its own standards and curriculum.
- Indiana enacted a resolution to urge a state board review of the CCSS.
- Kansas requires a cost analysis and formal review before implementation
- South Dakota implemented a requirement of four public hearings before enactment of the standards.
- Other states had bills disapproving or rejecting the Common Core or future adoption fail in the legislature (Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Washington)
- Minnesota’s bill to require legislative approval of new standards passed both chambers of the legislature but was vetoed by the liberal governor.
- Four other states have required a formal review of the curriculum or cost analysis. (California, Iowa, Maryland, and New Mexico).
- Twelve states (Alabama*, Arizona, California*, Hawaii, Indiana*, Kansas*, Minnesota*, Missouri*, New Jersey, New Mexico*, Pennsylvania, and Vermont), including seven on one of these other lists (*), have rejected, either by failure in the legislature, by gubernatorial veto, or by failure to introduce a bill, any legislative implementation of the appropriation, enabling, or alignment of the Common Core in their states.
- Five other states (Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Wisconsin) and Washington DC were not listed in the review as having even introduced any kind of Common Core related legislation at all in 2012.
That brings the total to twenty-six out of forty-six and one half states that have accepted them or 56% who are rejecting or showing some kind of hesitancy or concern with implementing these unconstitutional, illegal and dumbed down, politically correct standards and their accompanying tests. This is very important good news for state and local autonomy, academic excellence, constitutionality and state budgets It is also very important for the the maintenance of private and home schooling as viable alternatives to government education. (More new details on the dangers to private school autonomy via the Common Core and how the Romney education plan affects this issue will come next week. In the meantime, please see Imposing a Federal Curriculum on Private Schools – Why Voucher Programs that Require State Tests Are So Dangerous)
After speaking at Phyllis Schlafley’s Eagle Council along with Education Liberty Watch’s Dr. Karen Effrem, The American Principles Project’s Emmett McGroarty, and Heather Crossin, the Indiana mom who led the rebellion against the Common Core in that state, Kurtz wrote more about the problems with the Common Core and the coming parental revolt in National Review Online:
Crossin has successfully galvanized Indiana’s tea-party groups into fighting the Common Core. It’s a taste of what’s going to happen across the country once Obama’s new national school curriculum hits the ground. Angry parents like Crossin will be multiplied many times over, and they won’t just be making funny protest videos. They’ll be marching on state legislatures and giving the federal government an earful as well.
The resistance to the Common Core seems to be following the same state level resistance or inertia that is happening with the health insurance exchanges that unless stopped will serve as the implementation portals for the life robbing, health endangering, tax increasing and economy wrecking mandates of Obamacare.
It is therefore critical to make education freedom part of the consideration as we choose not only a new president, but members of Congress, governors, and state legislators. Please do not be shy about asking candidates where they stand on the implementation of the Common Core and what they will do to stop it at both the state and federal levels. If officials or candidates are not interested in discussing the lack of constitutionality or terrible quality of the standards, remind them that Common Core implementation cost estimates vary between $16 and $60 BILLION dollars that will not be available from the federal government given current debt levels of $16 TRILLION dollars and the state deficits that many states have accumulated. Please also consider a generous donation to Education Liberty Watch as we join with groups and individuals across the nation to try to stop this other major usurpation of rights. The future ability of our children to be the thinking, reasoning citizens that will know how to maintain our heritage of freedom depends on being able to stop this Obamacare for education gambit. -Donna Garner