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Moving in the Right Direction

Prohibiting Federal Involvement in Common Core

Common Core. When it comes to education, perhaps no two words are more controversial. What began as a state-led effort to raise student achievement, has now prompted an open revolt against federal intrusion into the nation’s schools. The administration’s controversial waiver scheme and Race to the Top program empowered the secretary of education to push on states a specific set of academic standards – an exclusively state and local responsibility. One school superintendent likened the federal government’s involvement to extortion, using taxpayer dollars to coerce states into adopting Common Core.

The K-12 education proposal advanced by a House-Senate conference committee would stop the federal government’s promotion of Common Core and protect the rights of states and school districts to develop or change their own standards as they see fit. The bicameral proposal:

  • Prohibits any agent of the federal government — including the secretary of education — from incentivizing, forcing, or coercing states into adopting Common Core, or interfering with a state’s standards or assessments.
  • Rejects policies and programs the secretary has used to coerce states to adopt Common Core, including waivers of K-12 education law and Race to the Top.
  • Prevents the secretary from imposing additional burdens on states and school districts through the regulatory process in areas of standards, assessments, and state accountability plans.

It’s time to end the Common Core extortion and get the federal government out of the business of pushing academic standards. The bicameral conference agreement to replace No Child Left Behind will do exactly that, returning responsibility for classroom decisions to the teachers and state and local education leaders who know best what their students need to succeed.

To read the final bill, click here.

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