SIMMONS: Critics join common cause to block Common Core school standards

Question of the Day

Is it still considered bad form to talk politics during a social gathering?

View results


Education Secretary Arne Duncan would be a very wise man if he started paying close attention to the sticks being poked in the eyes of the Obama administration regarding those one-size-fits-all Common Core State Standards.

Not all states and localities bought into his “absolute game changer” claim — and for absolutely good reasons, including a “very large, very permanent federal footprint.”

Common Core was and is being sold as a set of academic standards that would improve teaching and learning and better prepare young people for college and careers.

Supported by the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers, Common Core was adopted in dozens of states, territories and the District. The buy-in came courtesy of new federal money and many of the jurisdictions have already begun implementation.

While Virginia rightly opted out early on, preferring its own rigorous standards and testing policies, Maryland officials looked at the potential tax dollars and started rubbing their hands. The state is planning to begin implementing the Common Core standards in K-12 classrooms this fall and begin testing students the following school year.

D.C. school officials, ahead of both their neighbors, began gnawing on the carrots so soon they started implementing Common Core during the 2011-12 year in grade schools and transitioned all grades this school year. They, too, are slated to launch assessments during the 2014-15 school year.

But after taking a closer look, parents can be found calling the Obama administration’s carrot-dangling approach to national standards “un-American” and a “very large, very permanent federal footprint,” as two opponents in Idaho characterized them in a school meeting last week, and grass-roots organizations and lawmakers in Florida, Indiana, Utah, Michigan, Illinois, Arizona, Kansas, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Georgia and South Carolina, among others, are mounting opposition.

Organizations positioned to push back Common Core include the Home School Legal Defense Association, American Association of Christian Schools, Cato Institute and Campaign for Liberty and Heartland Institute.

Late Friday night, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation to backtrack Common Core. This after the state education board adopted the standards three years ago and began implementing the new standards on kindergartners in 2011, first-graders in 2012 and has set plans to bring in second-graders this year.

Obviously moving way too fast, Indiana school officials want to expand to all grade levels in 2014 and begin testing students the same year.

Small wonder Hoosier lawmakers voted to slow the state’s roll.

One of opponents’ chief arguments is that by accepting the feds’ carrots (money) their sovereignty will become a pawn in a game of federal control, even though Mr. Duncan constantly argues that Common Core participation is voluntary.

But one of the spotlights of truth shines brighter. Again, here is what an Idaho opponent, Susan Frickey, said: “Look hard at the intended and unintended consequences of this path, particularly the very large, very permanent federal footprint evidenced in compliance with these standards and what they would mean to our local education and state sovereignty in Idaho.”

Translation: Bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., are stomping on states’ rights and our children’s futures and school choice and parental concern and well you get the picture.

Story Continues →

View Entire Story

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

About the Author
Deborah Simmons

Deborah Simmons

Award-winning opinion writer Deborah Simmons is a senior correspondent who reports on City Hall and writes about education, culture, sports and family-related topics. Mrs. Simmons has worked at several newspapers, and since joining The Washington Times in 1985, has served as editorial-page editor and features editor and on the metro desk. She has taught copy editing at the University of ...

Latest Stories

Latest Blog Entries

blog comments powered by Disqus
TWT Video Picks
You Might Also Like
  • The District of Columbia has decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

    D.C. police quietly prepping for change in law on marijuana

  • D.C. Council member and mayoral candidate David Catania, at large independent, said that although he had some concerns with the city's fiscal 2015 budget, namely the 'yoga tax,' he said issues could be addressed in next year's budget discussions. (Associated Press)

    Council overrides mayor’s veto of fiscal 2015 budget

  • 3 killed, 4 wounded Sunday in three D.C. shootings

  • D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser, one of seven Democrats trying to unseat the incumbent District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray in next week's primary, campaigns on Capitol Hill neighborhood in Washington, Thursday, March 27, 2014. Loyalists are rallying around the mayor, and few are writing him off. But his troubles have provided an opening for one of his challengers, and D.C. Councilmember Muriel Bowser appears to be taking advantage. Two polls released a week before the primary showed Bowser in a statistical tie with Gray.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

    Crime hits close to home for D.C. mayoral candidate

  • Gray

    D.C. Council to vote on Gray’s budget veto