On Education, GOP Platform Ignores States Continuing to Voluntarily Implement Common Core State Standards

The Republican Platform, which was approved by delegates Monday night, denounces Common Core State Standards. Rejecting a “one-size-fits-all approach to education,” we “repeat our longstanding opposition to the imposition of national standards and assessments, encourage the parents and educators who are implementing alternatives to Common Core, and congratulate the states which have successfully repealed it,” the platform states.

Reporting for the Daily Caller, Blake Neff notes the party’s position marks a significant turnaround from only a few years ago when Republican leaders played a major role in implementing the Common Core. Importantly, Neff points out, the platform stops shy of promising a federal repeal of standards, as Donald Trump has indicated he would do, “because Common Core doesn’t exist as a federal statute.”

“Even [leaders] who have signaled they’d employ every available executive power and then some to snuff out Common Core, appear not to understand how Common Core works,” Karen Nussle explained earlier this year. “Because they are state standards, as federal office holders they would have absolutely no jurisdiction to abolish Common Core.”

At the state and local level, leaders continue to support high, comparable education standards. This year, zero states have passed a full-scale repeal of the Common Core, marking the second consecutive year in which policymakers have snubbed predictions of a widespread move away from the standards. “If there were any question, it seems to be firmly resolved: states are sticking with higher standards based on the Common Core,” Jim Cowen wrote recently.

The GOP platform condemns federal overreach and states, “A young person’s ability to succeed in school must be based on his or her God-given talent and motivation, not an address, ZIP code, or economic status.” Support for the Common Core State Standards does not conflict with those positions—in fact, it aligns with them.

The standards were developed by states and as such, states continue to lead implementation efforts. By setting consistent and rigorous academic expectations, the Common Core ensures all students are held to levels that fully prepare them for college and careers, no matter their circumstances.

Hispanic Christian voters are “deeply troubled by the notion that Republicans believe states should be congratulated for repealing higher standards,” Reverend Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, wrote in a letter to Convention Chairman Paul Ryan last week. “Few if any education reforms in my lifetime have done more to produce parity among school districts and educational equity across zip codes than the voluntary adoption of high-quality, comparable standards.”

While the Common Core may still be a point of contention for a small subset of the Republican party, conservative leaders have made clear the standards are here to stay. Instead of continuing to trumpet misleading claims, the GOP can best meet voters and serve students by supporting the work states are doing to continue to improve and build on the Common Core—exactly as the standards are designed.