Reminder: New Education Law Forbids Federal Government from Mandating Common Core

During the February 6th Republican presidential debate, Senator Ted Cruz reiterated a pledge to repeal Common Core State Standards on his first day in office. “The reason I can end Common Core at the federal level is because Obama is abusing executive power using Race to the Top funds and the Department of Education to force it on the states,” Sen. Cruz claimed.

But while Sen. Cruz offers to use executive power to end the very executive power he suggests has pushed the Common Core on states, lawmakers have already addressed concerns about federal involvement in the issue. In December, the Every Student Succeeds Act was signed into law, ensuring state and local officials have full control over academic standards.

Congressman John Kline, chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, calls the law a “huge win for conservatives.” When asked whether the law should put to rest claims of federal involvement in states’ decisions to use the Common Core, he added: “That is exactly correct…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.”

In a recent memo, Karen Nussle explains: “Common Core may be a convenient punching bag for candidates on the stump, but the standards remain firmly established in 43 of the original 46 states that adopted them…Campaign trail rhetoric notwithstanding, the next President will ultimately have very little ability to influence state and local decisions pertaining to standards and testing – unless, of course, he or she engages in federal overreach. States today – more than ever – remain in complete control and have overwhelmingly chosen to adopt higher standards that are the Common Core State Standards or are based on them.”