April 16, 2015
The last several weeks have been encouraging for parents and taxpayers that want to see a presidential candidate stand for the Tenth Amendment regarding education and against the federal over reach of Common Core and the associated tests and data collection system. Three Republican US senators have declared their candidacy for the highest office in the land: Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Marco Rubio of Florida.
Senator Ted Cruz declared at Liberty University in Virginia and said in his speech, "Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core...imagine repealing every word of Common Core.
Senator Rand Paul has always been against Common Core and has been innovative enough to introduce federal budget legislation to de-fund the US Department of Education (2011 - S162) He did not mention Common Core or education during his speech, but many statements at various events including in Florida as well as his co-sponsorship of various bills and amendments have shown that he is strongly against
Senator Marco Rubio just declared at the Freedom Tower in Miami. He also has said on numerous occasions that he is against the standards. His speech
did not specifically mention Common Core, but did talk about school choice and affordable higher education.
"Wow, that is a powerful, touching comment that I absolutely embrace. You know when I think about the really unfortunate argument going on around Common Core it's very painful because the Common Core started off as a bipartisan effort, it was actually non-partisan, it wasn't politicized, it was trying to come up with a core of learning that we might expect students to achieve across our country no matter what kind of school district they were in, no matter how poor their family was, there wouldn't be two tiers of education. Everybody would be looking at what was to be learned and doing their best to try to achieve that," Clinton responded.
Mrs. Clinton does not seem to understand that many New York Democrats oppose Common Core and that opposition is just as bipartisan as the alleged support for the national, federally funded standards and tests.
Photo Courtesy of Truth in American Education
It will be interesting to see how the campaign progresses as both establishment candidates, Clinton and Jeb Bush both strongly support Common Core.
March 8, 2015
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Despite lots of money and trying to project the aura of inevitability, Jeb Bush is having a lot of problems in polls and surveys even here in his home state of Florida. A poll by Gravis Marketing
that came out this past week showed that he is in a dead heat with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker:
Head-to-head, former Florida governor John E. "Jeb" Bush barely beats his acolyte Sen. Marco A. Rubio in the Feb. 24-25 Howie Carr/Gravis poll
of 513 registered Republican voters, but in an open field Bush is in a virtual tie with Wisconsin Gov. Scott K. Walker with Rubio finishing third...
"Pitted against each other, Bush is at 40 percent and Rubio is at 36 percent," said Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Insights, the Florida-based firm that conducted the poll. The poll carries a margin of error of 5 percent. The total may not round to 100% because of rounding.
But, when the field is opened up to other candidates, the dynamic changes, he said. "We are seeing the early stages of two-man horse race between Bush and Walker."
In the open field, Bush still leads with 23 percent to Walker's 22 percent, he said.
"But, Bush v. Walker is, again, inside the margin of error," he said.
"Rubio is popular, but in his home state, he is taking a back seat to Bush v. Walker," he said. "Even among Hispanics, Bush takes 24 percent, Walker 23 and Rubio, a Cuban-American, comes in third with 11 percent--roughly, his same level of support across the state's Republicans in an open field."
By law, Rubio cannot run for both president and for reelection to the Senate, but, he does not have to make that decision until May 2016and by then, the primary season will be winding down anyway.
The other GOP hopefuls offered in the survey fared like this:
This poll comes right after the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) where many attendees walked out on Jeb Bush and he had to bus in many people to attend his speech and vote for him to save face during the famous straw poll by finishing 5th after Senator Rand Paul, Governor Scott Walker, Senator Ted Cruz, and Dr. Ben Carson.
Other polls continue to show that the more they know about Common Core, the less they like it. A Farleigh-Dickenson poll
showed that only 17 percent of Americans support the Common Core standards while 40 percent disapprove and 42 percent were unsure. Support drops to 9 percent for Republicans. None of this bodes well for a Bush presidential run.
The former Florida governor may have a lot of money and establishment/corporate support, but absolutely does not understand the depth of opposition to him because of his support for Common Core and the harm it will do to people' s children as summarized by this Facebook meme:
February 18, 2015
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The US House Education and Workforce Committee amended and passed its Elementary and Secondary Education Act/No Child Left Behind six hundred plus page reauthorization bill on February 11th
. (Video, Bill and amendment language are available here
). It passed on a straight party line vote and is scheduled to be debated on the House floor on February 24th. The Obama White has already issued a paper
criticizing the bill, as well as a veto threat.
Ideally this massive, unconstitutional, ineffective and expensive law would be repealed and the Department of Education would be closed. Sadly, that is unlikely to happen anytime soon. Dr. Sandra Stotsky and other friends and experts in the movement issued a statement
calling for a major elimination of mandates.
The bill, called The Student Success Act (HR5) was described by committee member and former Alabama State School Board member Bradley Byrne as "a step in the right direction, but still has far to go," because the federal government "needs a large dose of humility" when it comes to education. We agree!
However, while we oppose this bill as a whole, before discussing the significant issues of concern, it is important to congratulate and thank Chairman John Kline (R-MN) and the committee members that supported good language and fought off bad amendments. Here are the highlights:
The bill contains language found in an anti-Common Core, anti-Federal interference bill call the Local Control of Education Act, HR 524 by committee member Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) and co-sponsored by Florida Republican Reps. Curt Clawson, Tom Rooney, Ron DeSantis, and Ted Yoho, as well as 43 others. This language prevents the Secretary of Education from "incentivizing" or "coercing" national standards like Common Core or and national test like SBAC or PARCC in any federal law or program like waivers. It is important for preventing future disasters like Common Core.
Rep. Steve Russell's amendment to prevent the transfer of individually identifiable student data to the federal government passed and was added to the bill. That amendment states that "All personal, private student data shall be prohibited from use beyond assessing student performance as provided for in subparagraph (C). The State's annual report shall only use such data as sufficient to yield statistically reliable information, and does not reveal personally identifiable information about individual students."
The Committee fought off efforts to amend in a requirement for "college and career ready standards for all students," i.e. Common Core. Although the Student Success Act does not go far enough, at least the national standards would not imposed for everyone by the law.
All of Title IV of NCLB was repealed. This includes many invasive, ineffective, and expensive education programs that EdWatch/Education Liberty Watch have been warning about since NCLB passed in 2001. These include early childhood mental health programs; federally run civic and community service programs; Ready to Learn Television, which basically contains money for propaganda in PBS children's programs like Sesame Street; and the full service schools idea of Arne Duncan and Lamar Alexander. An effort to put a lot of these back in the bill was defeated.
The majority also defeated an effort to put in universal preschool language. Education Liberty Watch has chronicled the lack of effectiveness; academic and emotional harm; and high cost of these programs for a very long time, including Head Start and the Race to the Top Early learning Challenge. We are appreciative to the committee for their work on this.
Eliminates unworkable Adequate Yearly Progress provisions These requirements would have made nearly 100% of schools failures. These provisions were the impetus behind the federal waivers that coerced Common Core.
Now, here are the major concerns with the Student Success Act and why we urge a NO votet:
Continues the federal mandate that standards "include the same knowledge, skills, and levels of achievement expected of all public school students in the state." This use of cookie cutter standards for every unique child is unacceptable. Local and duly elected school boards in concert with parents and teachers should set their standards the way it was done prior to 1994 the beginning of federal interference in standards and assessments by the George HW Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.
Continues the annual testing requirement - HR 5 continues the federal mandate that states test students every year in reading/English and math from grades 3-8 and once in high school require using "the same academic assessments...to measure the academic achievement of all public school students in the state." According to likely pro-Common Core presidential candidate, Jeb Bush, that is the proper role of the federal government in education, continuing the policies of his father and brother. This denies proper autonomy to local districts and has been ineffective according to much research including a statement signed by over 500 university professors.
Portability provision risks inserting federal and Common Core control in private schools The Student Success Act currently has federal Title I funds follow students to the public or charter (also public schools but with less publicly accountable governance) of the family's choice. An amendment that was offered and withdrawn by Rep. Messer (R-IN) would have allowed that portability to apply to private schools as well. This should be vehemently opposed because it will likely end up requiring the state public school Common Core tests and therefore the standards on private schools as Indiana's voucher plan already has. This idea was pushed in Mitt Romney's education plan authored by Jeb Bush during the 2012 campaign which said:
The Romney Administration will work with Congress to overhaul Title I and IDEA so that low-income and special-needs students can choose which school to attend and bring their funding with them. The choices offered to students under this policy will include any district or public charter school in the state, as well as private schools if permitted by state law... To ensure accountability, students using federal funds to attend private schools will be required to participate in the state's testing system. (Emphasis added.)
WE URGE A NO VOTE ON HR 5 AND OFFER THESE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE BILLS:
This bill does nothing to deal with psychological manipulation, profiling, and data collection rampant in Common Core and numerous other federal education programs These efforts by the US Department of Education, those behind the Common Core standards and tests, preschool socioemotional teaching and testing by the Head Start program, and admissions by major national organizations are extensively documented in our major research paper and discussion of the issues with the major federal data and research legislation. It is bad enough that the federal government is involved in education at all, but to then have them involved in the "social and emotional" needs of any citizen as on pages 426 and 508, much less children is not acceptable.
The data protection statutes and those involved with student surveys are not yet updated The massive amount and frightening extent of student data collection with no real privacy protection due to the Obama administration's regulatory weakening of the Family Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) passed in 1974 and the large loophole in the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA) allowing invasive and psychological profiling through academic curriculum assessments need to be remedied first before any reauthorization.
There is potentially dangerous federal involvement in the parental relationship with schools Although well intended and with efforts to prevent coercion, the parental involvement language in Section 118 is yet another area in which the federal government has no authority to be involved. After all, we have seen how effective federal prohibitions on interference in standards and assessments have been in preventing the whole Common Core debacle.
Students and families need protection against coercion to be labeled and placed on psychotropic medication There has been a tragic trend of labeling children, particularly minority children with behavioral and emotional disorders to improve test scores to make Adequate Yearly Progress and not because of the pressure of high stakes tests for performance pay. This story of a Florida father's loss of his son due to medication induced side effects after being coerced, which a teacher admits as all too frequent, is heart breaking. Rep. John Kline, chairman of this committee actually sponsored the Child Medication Safety Act in 2005-2006 to try to prevent this coercion and it passed the House 407-12, but was blocked in the Senate. Extensive references and testimony are available from EdWatch/Education Liberty Watch.
Cut Federal Financial Strings with the LEARN Act, HR 121, by Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ) - Although clearly better than No Child Left Behind, the Student Success Act still keeps the federal government too much in control of education for which it has no constitutional authority. Rep. Garrett's bill does the following:
"The LEARN Act would give states the option to opt out of No Child Left Behind. In return, the federal government would provide taxpayers of the opt-out state a tax credit, thereby keeping money in the pockets of taxpayers instead of sending it to Washington, D.C. This method immediately cuts the authoritative and financial strings of the federal government so that state and local governments can set their own educational standards while ensuring maximum parental involvement."
This legislation was co-sponsored by twenty members
in the last Congress, including Florida Reps. Posey and Southerland, who clearly understand that the role of the federal government has to be eliminated or at least greatly reduced. This legislation should be amended into HR 5 or substituted for it.
Do NOT reauthorize the ESEA until the massive breaches in student and teacher privacy and data security are fixed.
Eliminate the yearly statewide testing requirement and use the NAEP/TIMMS test on a sample of students or at the very least, decrease the statewide testing requirement in math and reading to once in elementary, once in middle school and once in high school as is done for science currently .
Refuse to fund any program that psychologically teaches, assesses, or collects data on children under the guise of academics.
Amend in an updated version of the Child Medication Safety Act that prohibits federal funds from going to states or schools that allow parents to be coerced via threat of not receiving academic teaching or a child protection referral if they refuse to put their children on any psychotropic medication The language needs updating from the 2005 version so that children are protected from coercion by ALL psychiatric medications, not just Ritalin and Adderall and any others that are on the DEA's controlled substances lists. There has been much research and evidence that all of the psychiatric medications have potentially great, if not fatal dangers for children, including suicide and homicide, strokes and heart attacks.
Remove the parental involvement language in Section 118 Parental involvement is a good thing. Having the federal government anywhere near it is not. The only exception would be the language that prohibits coercion of parents to have their children developmentally screened or to participate in any preschool program. This language should be applied to programs for Alaskans, Native Hawaiians, and Native Americans as well.
August 23, 2014
The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) is once again taking sides in contested Republican primaries. After intervening in the special congressional election primary in CD 19 trying to hide behind multiple donations and many super PACs to make sure that Senator Benacquisto received at least $300,000, now they have openly donated another $130,000 to her senate campaign.
Benacquisto is running against Dr. Michael Dreikorn, a conservative veteran and aerospace engineer, who also was in the congressional primary. That congressional primary was notable for the high level of negative campaigning by super PACs tied to Benacquisto and another candidate, Dr. Paige Kreegel. Ultimately, Curt Clawson went on to win both the primary and the congressional seat in large part due to his sincere articulate position on Common Core, his dedication to the Constitution, his outsider status, and likely as well, as a backlash to the negative campaigning and interference from outside groups in this race.
Former Congressman Gary Lee, who is now serving as committeeman for the Republican Party of Florida expressed concerns about the situation by saying, "If you're doing something that has the perception of not being fair to all candidates then that needs to be addressed in my opinion." Neither Benacquisto nor the RPOF commented on the donations.
If the congressional primary is any indication, this kind of behavior on the part of the RPOF, with its strong ties to Jeb Bush, may backfire on the RPOF and Benacquisto. It is imperative that everyone in all the races for school board and state legislature do their homework on this critical issue and support the candidates that have answered the four important questions on Common Core to your satisfaction.
August 23, 2014
There are three candidates in Congressional District 9 vying for the Republican Nomination to take on Democrat Congressman Allen Grayson in the November election. One of them, realtor Carol Platt, is endorsed by Jeb Bush and seems to be supportive of Common Core. Because of the political unpopularity , she is now backtracking a bit and will not answer the question in a straightforward manner as evidenced by audio from the Carl Jackson Show. Platt goes on for several minutes and still does not answer the question.
This is in stark contrast to both of the other opponents, especially Jorge Bonilla, who clearly oppose Common Core with Bonilla vowing to defund it and Peter Vivaldi:
If Jeb Bush continues to be deceptive
in his portrayals of Common Core in Florida, as he did saying that the standards are gone from Florida and then in the same breath saying that the changes to Common Core were not substantial while campaigning for Governor Scott, it is quite possible that his endorsements will do more harm than good.
August 23, 2014
Of the five candidates that are running in the August 26th primary to take on Democrat Congressman Joe Garcia in Congressional District 26 that runs from Miami to Key West, only Miami-Dade School Board member Carlos Curbelo supports Common Core. And according to his op-ed in the Miami Herald, he supports it in a big way.
In that piece, he used all of the typical pro-Common Core talking points while demonizing the experts and parents that have brought up many legitimate concerns. Here are a couple of the more egregious points:
"However, in order to win debates, and more important, elections, conservatives must brandish facts while ignoring scare tactics that yield irrational paranoia. Skepticism should not devolve into callousness, stubbornness, and the rejection of government in all its manifestations. Ours should be the belief that a limited and responsible government can contribute to the advancement of our nation and its people, and nowhere is that fact more evident or more critical than in the area of education. That is why we should support the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for K-12 education."
Translation Government overreach is bad, just not in education. Curbelo is apparently unaware that the RNC; the National Federation of Republican Women; multiple committees within the Republican Party of Florida (RPOF); nearly 30 Republican Executive Committees (RECs) in Florida; and almost all of the potential Republican presidential candidates except for Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and Mike Huckabee; have all rejected Common Core. Would he say that any of these people are irrationally paranoid?
Miami activist Maria Peiro put it well in the comments for this piece: "The Conservative thing to do is to NOT give up the state and local control over the education of our children. The best form of government is that which is closest to the people. To centralize curriculum and testing and put it in the hands of a few is a huge mistake for which we will all be sorry in the future when all sorts of mandates are forced upon us.
"Neither should it be a surprise that 45 states throughout the country including many like Florida which has been governed by Republicans since the 90s, are voluntarily embracing the CCSS. After all, how could any good conservative be opposed to high education standards for mathematics and English language arts?"
When Curbelo wrote this in June of 2013, he was also not unaware that many Republican governors would reject Common Core like Mary Fallin (OK), the chairwoman of the National Governor's Association; Bobby Jindal (LA), a former supporter; Nikki Hayley (SC); Pat McGrory of (NC); Scott Walker (WI); and ostensibly Mike Pence (IN).
None of the other four candidates Viet Nam veteran, former police officer and Mayor Ed Macdougall; Joe Matinez; Lorenzo Palomares-Starbuck; and David Rivera, a former member of Congress who is not campaigning due to being investigated for corruption charges, but has not formally withdrawn from the race support Common Core. Only Mr. Curbelo does, who is endorsed by Jeb Bush, even though Bush did not talk to any of the other candidates and then half-heartedly apologized to Macdougall
. It is interesting to note, however, that education and mention of Common Core are no longer on the issues page of Curbelo's campaign website. Is he backing off the way Jeb Bush endorsee Carol Platt seems to be when she wouldn't answer a simple yes or no question
, political writer for the Herald said that Curbelo has "deploy[ed] the Jeb Bush bomb" in the race. He went on to portray that "Common Core hasn't appeared to hurt Bush's standing with Florida Republican voters. In a series of Florida polls, Quinnipiac University consistently finds he's most-liked by the GOP in a presidential match-up
against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who nevertheless edges him." What he did not point out was that there is other polling information reported in Sunshine State News
from a Survey USA
poll showing that Bush is now behind Senator Rand Paul here in Florida in head-to-head match-ups against Hillary Clinton.
The other thing that Caputo said that is highly debatable is, "Common Core, though, hasn't really been an issue in this congressional race. After all, Common Core was created and managed by the states. A federal conservative who opposes a states' rights issue has a measure of explaining to do." Mr. Caputo is apparently not aware that nearly the entire Republican U.S. House caucus voted yes on the Student Success Act which contained language limiting the federal Department of Education so that they would not "either directly or indirectly, attempt to influence, incentivize, or coerce State adoption of the Common Core State Standards...or any other standards...or assessments tied to such standards." Common Core IS definitely a federal issue. It played a significant role in the CD 19 race won by Curt Clawson
and is playing a key role in the CD-9 primary
where another Bush endorsee appears to be behind anti-CCSS candidate Jorge Bonilla, and is taking heat about Common Core. Common Core has also been a prominent issue in other congressional primaries
across the nation.
July 7, 2014
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
New polling data continues to show that as more people, especially parents and even business people, find out about Common Core, support for those awful standards continues to decline. This verifies data
we have previously presented.
A June 26th Rasmussen poll
"...just 34% of American Adults with children of elementary or secondary school age now favor requiring all schools nationwide to meet the same Common Core education standards. That's an 18-point drop from 52% in early November of last year.
Forty-seven percent (47%) oppose the imposition of the national standards, compared to 32% in the previous survey. Little changed are the 19% who are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.
And a Pew Research poll
shows that Common Core is strongly opposed both by "Steadfast" (social, Tea Party) Conservatives and "Business" (Establishment) Conservatives.
"The two solidly-Republican groups, Steadfast and Business Conservatives, oppose Common Core by more than two-to-one (61%-25% and 61%-23%, respectively)."
Here is some analysis by writer Libby Nelson on the blog Vox
"Supporters might hope otherwise, but the fight in the Republican Party is over and the standards have lost...
...This is a huge failure for the US Chamber of Commerce. The group spent much of the past year making a case for the standards from a business perspective.
The chamber argued that high, uniform expectations in math and language arts will produce better workers and a stronger economy. They made slick videos. They published op-eds. Yet they failed to convince even their core constituency -- business conservatives...
...This is very bad news for the standards' supporters. Right-leaning supporters of Common Core say the standards are a state issue, created for states and by states (and that they wish Education Secretary Arne Duncan would stop talking about them). Opponents argue that the US Education Department's efforts to get states to adopt the standards are an example of federal overreach.
Pew makes it clear: The opponents won. No matter how much supporters talk about state-led initiatives, the standards have been defined.
Those two results when combined and added to the previous polling data and the continued abandonment of Common Core by Republican governors Jindal, Fallin, and Hayley should provide devastating blows to Common Core proponents like Jeb Bush and the Chamber of Commerce. Nelson was mixed in her review of the effect on Bush:
That doesn't mean Jeb Bush's Common Core support will derail his national aspirations. Pew found the former Florida governor is broadly popular among both business conservatives (63 percent favorability) and steadfast conservatives (60 percent favorability). John McCain and Mitt Romney, among others, could tell you that a candidate doesn't need to agree with his party on everything to win the nomination.
But now Bush's support for the Common Core can't be waved away as picking a side in an active intraparty controversy. Bush is backing an initiative that his party broadly opposes. Jindal didn't turn on the Common Core to burnish his credentials with the most conservative Republicans. He did it to win over the mainstream. (Emphasis added).
and Real Clear Politics
show that no one potential Republican 2016 presidential candidate is standing out right now and there are not many differences in the favorability/unfavorability ratings between Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal or the rest. Time will tell if the Twitter hashtag #StopJebNow and the almost universal opposition to Bush's
presidential aspirations from parents and other activists in the anti-Common Core movement will continue to grow.
May 13, 2014
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The legislative session is now over. The governor and legislative leadership have completed their "Lipstick on a Pig" campaign of trying to convince the electorate that because they have removed references to Common Core in statute, changed the name, allowed parents to comment on and appeal textbook selection (which should have been the norm a long time ago), and pretended to protect personal student data, that things are all better. Our analysis
points out that there are major flaws in all of these bills and that they are merely cosmetic.
The Florida media and the public have never been fooled. Public opinion as evidenced in the Sunshine State News poll
and the Clawson win
in Jeb Bush's home state over his anointed candidate clearly show that Common Core is a major issue in Florida and a major problem for politicians that support it. The governor's struggling poll numbers
are yet another indication of problems, as is the abrupt resignation
of Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry just as the main election season begins. Curry's resignation is ostensibly to run for mayor of Jacksonville, but we suspect it is because he can read the handwriting on the wall about Scott's electoral difficulties and wants to have a job after this election. Those electoral difficulties are due in large part to ignoring his base on Common Core and these feeble efforts he has made to rebrand and distract from the real issues will not help him.
Nationally, unbiased polls not commissioned by pro-Common Core groups show findings similar to the other polls we have reported. The University of Connecticut did a poll
showing that while only about 40% of voters know about Common Core, those that do, oppose it:
"Those who do know about Common Core, though, are generally skeptical of the initiative's ability to boost the quality of American education. Just 33 percent believe adopting Common Core standards will increase the quality of education in their communities, compared to 27 percent who say it will have no effect and 30 percent who say it will actually be detrimental."
"Overall, 38 percent believe Common Core is a good policy, compared to 44 percent who believe the opposite."
"Fifty-four percent of Democrats, for example, say Common Core is good policy, compared to 30 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Americans who've heard of the initiative. The distinction is even more stark along ideological lines: 53 percent of liberals favor the policy, compared to 24 percent of conservatives."
Electorally, there are significant signs that pro-Common Core politicians are in trouble. In Indiana, two legislators that supported the standards lost their primaries
. In Ohio, an establishment supported incumbent who had badly beaten a challenger just two years ago lost by 22 points to that same candidate, because Common Core opposition was the major issue. This defeat has shaken up the Ohio Republican Party and legislative leaders prompting this quote in the Columbus Dispatch
(Hat Tip to PJ Media
Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, said overall the GOP caucus did well, but he lamented the loss of Rep. Peter Stautberg, R-Cincinnati, who was beaten by archconservative Tom Brinkman Jr., a former lawmaker.
Stautberg easily defeated Brinkman two years ago. But this time, Brinkman campaigned hard against the new Common Core standards, and, Batchelder said, that likely played a key role.
"That sucker is a problem. I think we probably should have addressed it," Batchelder said.
Even in North Carolina, winning establishment U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis, despite having the backing of and or millions of dollars Jeb Bush, the Chamber of Commerce, and Karl Rove's PAC (who "joked
" about murdering a sitting US congressman), had to state at least lip service opposition to Common Core
during the campaign.
The primary season is just beginning and establishment, pro-Common Core politicians in Florida and across the nation should take heed.
April 12, 2014
The April 9th debate between businessman Curt Clawson, Dr. Page Kreegel, Dr. Michael Dreikorn, and Senator Lizbeth Benaquisto covered a wide range of topics, but the exchanges on education were particularly revealing. The entire podcast is available HERE. The questions on education start at 45:28. Here are some highlights:
Dr. Michael Dreikorn rightly discussed the tenth amendment and how education is not supposed to be a federal initiative and that Common Core was particularly problematic that way. He also mentioned that he would oppose the data collection under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) that does not really protect data.
Dr. Page Kreegel also clearly stated his opposition to Common Core, decried the federal interference, and spoke about his desire to close down the entire US Department of Education, saving taxpayer about $80 billion per year.
Mr. Curt Clawson, when asked by Daybreak host Drew Steele, what the federal role in education should be stated thate was "one hundred percent against Common Core" and rightly stated that education should be determined by local districts and states. This statement was agreed to by Dr. Kreegel.
Senator Benaquisto, when chiming in on the federal control question, didn't talk about the tenth amendment or getting rid of the US Department of Education. Instead, she just wanted to get the money sent from the feds to the states as block grants. When asked by Drew Steele, "So, a block grant from the federal government, Is that not still federal involvement?" she condescendingly replied (51:57), "Well, we send an extraordinary number of tax dollars to the federal government. They're your dollars. If you want to just let them keep them, I suppose we could do that, but I'd rather have them sent back to us where we control the decision making, we devise the plans." She also talked about the various "lipstick on a pig" measures
the legislature has passed to give the appearance of doing something about Common Core and her co-sponsorship of the SB 1316 even though she has done nothing to move the bill in her position as majority leader.
Dr. Karen Effrem was interviewed by Drew Steele
the next day to discuss the ongoing efforts by the state to cover up issues with Common Core, the debate, and their interaction with Senator Benaquisto.
Voters in CD 19 will have to decide if they want their representative to continue to work within the unconstitutional federal education system or to stand up for state sovereignty and work to get rid of that awful agency and the programs like Common Core, Race to the Top, No Child Left Behind, and other, invasive, expensive programs. We prefer the former and were not reassured by Senator Benaquisto's answers.
March 24, 2014
Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed a bill today that requires the state to develop its own standards. That is indeed welcome news. However, there is concern by activists in Indiana that the same type of "lipstick on a pig" process used in Florida is happening there. According to Erin Tuttle at Hoosiers Against Common Core:
The established negative aspects of Common Core haven't been removed, like lengthy jargon-filled process standards, and any redeeming aspects, such as requiring students to know by memory their addition facts, are gone. It's more of what parents oppose and less of what they want.
The process is moving the standards backwards, not forward. Still, we are told to sit and wait, like good little comrades, and let the powers that be do what they want, which is obviously a Common Core rebrand. After two rounds of drafts, the analyses performed by the IDOE showed that the English standards for grades 6-12 are 90% Common Core. That's not a lot of progress. (Emphasis added).
The powers that be may have millions of dollars for slick ad campaigns, but they will not and cannot deceive the millions of informed and passionate parents and grandparents that refuse to let the education and privacy of their precious children be destroyed.