Some Candidates Continue to Harp on the Common Core, Even Though States Are Moving Forward
Late last month during a campaign stop in Iowa, Senator Marco Rubio trotted out a recycled criticism of the Common Core, calling the standards a federal overstep on control of education, despite mounting evidence to the contrary.
The federal government “has tried to take over our schools with Common Core,” Sen. Rubio proclaims in a video published by Education Week. “I will repeal every single one of [President Obama’s] illegal, unconstitutional executive orders…That means we are stopping any and all work on imposing Common Core on this country.”
On the campaign trail, other candidates have perpetuated similar claims, insisting that Common Core State Standards are the work of the federal government—some even reversing their prior support. (See Education Post’s list of “shameless flip-floppers” here)
As Karen Nussle wrote last summer, “Support for the Common Core has proven a rallying cry for some conservatives, but for most voters, and certainly for families who want the best for their children, the standards are not a disqualifying issue. In fact, for candidates who are able to articulate the value of high, comparable academic expectations, they may prove to be an important asset.”
Objective analysis has repeatedly disqualified claims that Common Core State Standards are the work the federal government. Moreover, lawmakers delivered a “huge win for conservatives” in the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which prohibits federal officials from incentivizing certain education standards.
In a memo last month, Nussle explains the Every Student Succeeds Act “forever ends what has long been an Achilles Heel of Common Core: federal entanglement through Race to the Top and secretarial waivers in state decisions surrounding the adoption of standards and the selection of aligned assessments.”
Meanwhile, while some candidates may still court a small subset of conservative voters who bristle at the term “Common Core,” most states continue to refine and build on the framework laid by the standards. All but one of the 45 states to initially adopt the standards continue to implement them, or some nearly identical set of learning goals.
Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett has some advice for candidates: “The political shifting on the part of…Republicans is certainly not laudatory and, more importantly, is not politically necessary.”