Opponents Would Love to Have You Believe Common Core Is a Federal Curriculum, But It’s Not 

A Heritage Foundation report, or, really, a compilation of essays assailing the Common Core, makes the baseless allegation that Common Core State Standards are a progressive push to centralize education.

“The trajectory of the Common Core is a direct path to a federal curriculum,” argues Neal McCluskey of the CATO Institute. “Americans do not need centralization at the national level; rather, we need to move to complete decentralization so we can treat children as what they are: unique individuals.”

Such claims are wildly untrue, and they ignore developments by lawmakers to ensure states have full control over what schools teach and how teachers teach it. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports under the Common Core, “the curriculum and teaching methods are decided locally.” Likewise, US News & World Report points out, “School districts design the curricula, and teachers create their own methods for instruction, selecting the resources best tailored to their lessons.”

The “report” continues with another essay critical of the Common Core State Standards. “Common Core has radically expanded its reach, capturing the entire spectrum of the curriculum,” adds Stanley Kurtz of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Common Core advocates have thrown up [evasions] to obscure the federal power grab that has been driving Common Core.”

Four other contributors to the report reiterate the same claim: the Common Core is Big Government’s attempt to centralize education and force a rigid one-size-fits-all curriculum on schools.

Objective analysis has repeatedly dismissed claims that Common Core Standards were forced on states or that they push certain ideologies. A 2014 PolitiFact analysis gave a “False” rating to the idea that the federal government required states to adopt the standards.

Last year, 21 State Teachers of the Year wrote in Education Week, “The Common Core is not a federal takeover of our schools, nor does it force teachers into a rigid model for classroom instruction…In fact, under the Common Core, teachers have greater flexibility to design their classroom lessons—and can, for the first time, take advantage of the best practices from greater teachers in other states.”

Additionally, late last year the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law, which replaced No Child Left Behind. The new law guarantees states have full sovereignty over their education standards—further ensuring local school boards and educators have control over what is taught in their classrooms and how it’s taught.

Republican Congressman John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, called the law a “huge win for conservatives.” He added, “The federal government should not be able to tell states what standards they can or cannot adopt. If states want to use Common Core, it is not the place of the federal government to tell them they cannot do that.”