June 4 2013
Vicki E. Alger
Based on recent headlines it appears that the ranks of those who think the feds are capable of schooling American children are dwindling.
As part of the 2009 stimulus package, the Obama administration and special interest groups began pushing for nationalized Common Core standards. Obama’s Secretary of Education Arne Duncan basically made the states an offer he knew they wouldn’t refuse: if you ever want to see your part of the $4.4 billion in Race to the Top funding (paid for by state citizens via taxes), then adopt “voluntary” nationalized Common Core standards.
Previous Common Core implementation cost estimates peaked at a measly three times more than the entire Race to the Top pot at around $12 billion. Now it appears states will have to spend close to $4 implementing nationalized standards for every $1 dollar they took as part of this federal Faustian deal, now projected to cost $16.7 billion.
Forget Race to the Top. States are now racing for the nearest exit, as the Pioneer Institute’s Jim Stergios and Jamie Gass explain in the Weekly Standard :
By last year, most states had adopted the standards, known as Common Core, and it seemed a foregone conclusion that the United States would join countries like France in having a uniform curriculum. But what a difference a year makes. Today, a full-blown epidemic of buyer’s remorse has taken hold. Popular resistance is rampant and bills to pull out of Common Core are making their way through multiple state legislatures. … In just the past few weeks, Indiana lawmakers agreed to pause implementation of Common Core. Ditto in Pennsylvania. Michigan’s House of Representatives voted to defund the effort. And the national standards are under fire in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Folks like former Obama senior advisor David Axelrod are fond of disparaging Common Core criticisms as highly partisan and “idiotic.” In reality there is growing bi-partisan consensus that nationalizing academic standards is a bad idea.
In April the Republican National Committee approved a resolution against Common Core for being an “inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived ‘normal.’”
New York and Kentucky were the first states to administer Common Core assessments this year. Commenting on New York’s dismal experience American Federation of Teachers president Randi Weingarten said, “The Common Core is in trouble…There is a serious backlash in lots of different ways, on the right and on the left.”
Which leaves one last question: Would the last state to leave Common Core please lock up?