Last week I wrote this column here, arguing that the Common Core education standards are, predictably, being misused by the Obama adminstration in a dangerous way. Key line: “Control of educational content by the national government risks creating a national system of indoctrination, without local recourse to diversity of thought.” Today at the Weekly Standard comes this report along the same lines. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is trying to repeal her state’s participation in Common Core: “Just as we should not relinquish control of education to the Federal government, neither should we cede it to the consensus of other states,” Haley wrote. “Our children deserve swift action and the passage of a clean resolution that will allow our state to reclaim control of and responsibility for educating South Carolinians.”
It is now a hot topic here in Alabama. I served as MC for a candidates’ forum last night at the University of Mobile, and the hottest dispute involved just this issue, which is the central battle in a state school board race. I was interviewed on it here.
And at Education Week, Rick Hess also blasts Obama’s end run around federal law on this issue:
Prominent Common Core proponents have been telling Duncan’s team, literally for years, that its ham-handed tactics were doing more harm than good. It’s ludicrous for Duncan to pretend otherwise. Race to the Top, the administration’s “ESEA blueprint,” and the waivers all reward the adoption of Common Core, while RTT included $330 million to develop Common Core assessments–funds that, with little concern for the niceties of statutory prohibitions, are helping to develop curricular and instructional “materials.”
Three takeaways: First, given the likelihood that this administration will have five more years to run, but may never reclaim unified control of Congress, there will be increasing temptations for the administration to bypass Congress and rule by fiat. The prospect of an endless series of state’s petitioning to amend their waiver and RTT plans means we’re already closer to this state of affairs than I’d have thought possible a year ago. This is bad for democratic government; for education policy; and for students, teachers, and schools.
Conservatives have every reason to fight back against this administration’s lawless centralization of education.