“Common Core” is shorthand for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a set of educational standards now widely used throughout the United States – in fact, as of 2014, no fewer than 45 states and the District of Columbia had begun to implement them.
Teachers, principals, parents, and local school boards had no role in developing the standards – they were developed by education bureaucrats and “experts” from the National Governors Association, the Council for Chief State School Officers, and Achieve, Inc., each of which had been funded by a private organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for the specific purpose of writing the standards.
And while federal law – the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) – already contains specific injunctions prohibiting the federal government 1) from “mandating, directing, or controlling” curriculum, resources, or allocation of resources (Section 9527) or 2) from “funding the development, pilot testing, field testing, implementation, administration, or distribution of any Federally sponsored national test in reading, mathematics, or any other subject … “ (Section 9529), the Obama Administration’s “Race to the Top” grant program expressly uses the carrot of federal education funding as an inducement to lure states into adopting the national standards.
Thus, Common Core threatens the growing school choice movement, private schools, and home schools by creating a national market in which virtually all tests are structured according to the one national system.
This is wrong.
Instead, Congress should amend the ESEA to prohibit the federal government from mandating, directing, or controlling specific instructional content, academic standards, assessments, curriculum, or program of instruction.