Costly, weak, and unconstitutional. That’s Lance T. Izumi’s expert assessment of the president’s education policy in his new book Obama’s Education Takeover and video. Touted by Obama as “a re-envisioned federal role in education,” his policies actually amount to what Izumi calls “a large red flag for anyone concerned about the potential nationalization of American education.”
The cost to California alone of implementing the administration’s Common Core national standards is estimated to be $1.6 billion. The most the state could hope to receive, however, would be $400 million in federal funding—the lion’s share of which would have to be spent for other federally directed purposes. The national standards states must adopt in exchange for federal cash are also often weaker than their current standards and standards students abroad must meet because of powerful political pressure to make them as unchallenging as possible. Finally, a variety of experts from across the political spectrum agree that the president’s Common Core national standards will necessarily involve a national curriculum, in clear violation of the U.S. Constitution.
To turn the tide, Izumi recommends a decentralized approach similar to Canada, which has no ministry of education (and consistently scores well on international assessments), as well as the restoration of genuine local control through parental choice.