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Federal Educa-shun: Common Core’s Growing Resistance

From an email sent by Tony Perkins / Family Research Center

The cheerleaders of Common Core didn’t do themselves any favors during last Friday’s education roundtable at the far-Left Center for American Progress (CAP). The event, which was supposed to help drum up support for the President’s hugely controversial classrooms standards, only gave Americans greater cause for concern. Unfortunately for the White House, the wheels were already coming off its push to centralize more education power in Washington — and away from local schools and parents.

Last week, Massachusetts Education Secretary Paul Reville only confirmed families’ fears that Common Core is just another way for the Left to seize control of the classroom and use it as yet another laboratory of social indoctrination. Reville, who shrugged off the opposition as “a tiny minority,” raised plenty of eyebrows with his it-takes-a-village approach to Common Core. “Why should some towns and cities and states have no standards or low standards and others have extremely high standards when the children belong to all of us?”

As if parents weren’t angry enough, now liberals are equating their kids to government property! (If children belong to all of us, I wish I’d known that when I was changing diapers!) Unfortunately, this is just the logical progression of extreme liberal thinking. Everything — and everyone — belongs to the government to use or control how it sees fit. But if that was supposed to be a persuasive argument for nationalizing education standards — the government’s supposed ownership rights over our sons and daughters — then Common Core is in more trouble that we gave it credit for.

Already, the White House is dealing with a firestorm of criticism — even from its loyalist allies. There was a collective gasp a few weeks ago when one of the country’s largest teachers unions pulled its support from the policy. To the shock of everyone, the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) — representing 600,000 current and retired school teachers — blasted the concept and voted unanimously to pull its endorsement from Common Core. “We’ll have to be the first to say it’s failed,” said Richard Iannuzzi, President of NYSUT. “[O]ur members don’t see this going down a path that improves teaching and learning. We’re struggling with how to deal with it.”

And they aren’t the only ones. States from coast-to-coast are hearing from angry parents who want officials to reconsider their involvement in a program that hasn’t been thoroughly tested or researched. George Will, who recently wrote a scathing column on Common Core, knows that the President’s pet project “will take a toll on parental empowerment, and none of this will escape the politicization of learning like that already rampant in higher education.” Even if Americans could trust the federal government with education (a big “if” considering its inability to deliver a simple health care website), any nationalized standards will “extinguish federalism’s creativity,” Will points out. The withdrawal of key proponents — like New York teachers, who may have helped reassure parents — only adds fuel to the fire.

That bonfire blazed even brighter today with the introduction of Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-S.C.) resolution. In it, the South Carolina Republican takes Common Core to task. “National standards,” it reads, “lead to national assessments — and national assessments lead to national curriculum.” The President knew this when he started pushing states toward the standards using federal money as incentive. Like us, Sen. Graham objects to the administration buying off governors with $4 billion in “Race to the Top” funds, which Washington is dangling in front of states to entice them to approve the standards. As part of his draft, Sen. Graham calls on Congress to: put state and local officials in charge of education; stop the government from financially bribing states to adopt Common Core; and making federal education grants contingent on a state’s Common Core status.

“We don’t ever want to educate South Carolina children like they educate California children,” South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said recently. Education is an important job — one the federal government has never proven itself qualified for.

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