Opinion By Mary McNulty
“Common Core is gone. We are getting rid of Common Core. We’re bringing education to a local level. The people in this community—every time I see them, they want education locally. The parents, the teachers. They want to do it—they don’t want bureaucrats in Washington telling them how to educate their children.”
Candidate Trump made this statement almost a year ago. The President still remains diligent in his desire to repeal the Common Core standards that have been instituted. The question however is how much control the federal government has on dictating one of the most fundamental state rights-education.
Education is not Washington controlled
The new Administration continues to complain that Common Core was somehow forced upon the states. That is simply not the case. Each state had the ability to tweak the standards within reason. Despite Trump’s comments, it was not dictated by the Feds and forced upon the states. Instead each state had Representatives develop the program.
The Feds have no say in the curriculum established by the state
While the Trump administration has repeatedly stated that Common Core will be abolished, the federal government has no right to make such a decision. With the state in control of education they establish the guidelines.
According to Edweek.org, “The law says, very explicitly and in a bunch of different places, that the secretary can’t tell states they must adopt—or steer clear of—a particular set of standards, including the Common Core.”
States have reviewed the program and in several instances made revisions. Oklahoma completely repealed common core while New Jersey made a few modifications. Many left the program intact.
Betsy DeVos, Education Secretary, opposes Common Core
President Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, recently reported that she is not a supporter of Common Core, period. She is however, an adamant supporter of alternative education choices. She approves of school vouchers, charter schools and sends her children to a private Christian school. (As an aside she is a billionaire whose family owns Amway.)
The impact of removing Common Core
There is a high financial investment made by the states to fund Common Core. Replacing Common Core would require a complete overhaul of the education system. According to Slate, “It would require rewriting textbooks and purchasing new ones, rewriting tests that the states just spent a bunch of money developing, and spending even more money retraining teachers on the new requirements.”
Common Core and local control
It is interesting that President Trump wants to repeal Common Core because he feels it removes local control. However, he is wrong. It precisely retains control at the state level. Safeguards have been established to insure that the Feds cannot mandate certain curriculum be taught.
Only time will tell how Common Core will evolve. While there may be any number of reasons to modify or even kill Common Core, it must be done at the state level. The Feds cannot dictate the course of an individual state education program.