Attacks on the Campaign Trail Continue to Mischaracterize the Common Core

In a new campaign video, Senator Ted Cruz continues to falsely claim that Common Core State Standards are a tool of the federal government to take control of local education. “I will direct the U.S. Department of Education that Common Core ends today. Instead I will restore power back to the states and to the local governments and ultimately back to parents,” Sen. Cruz says.

Such mischaracterizations have not been uncommon among the crowded Republican primary field. “A crowded field of Republican presidential hopefuls has some candidates doing cartwheels to appeal to voters, shamelessly recanting past beliefs to curry favor with some of their base,” Karen Nussle wrote last summer.

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.

While some candidates may still try to curry favor with a small subset of conservative voters who bristle at the term “Common Core,” most states are refining and building 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.

In an opinion article last fall, former Education Secretary Bill Bennett put forward some advice for Republican candidates: “The political shifting on the part of…Republicans is certainly not laudatory and, more importantly, is not politically necessary.”