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.
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:
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.
January 20, 2017
Karen R. Effrem,MD - Executive Director
Betsy DeVos at her January 17th confirmation hearing - Photo Credit to Caffeinated Thoughts
I strongly agree with Shane Vander Hart at Caffeinated Thoughts that Betsy DeVos' confirmation hearing to be Secretary of Education was not terribly informative. Aside from a brief mention of Common Core by Senator Cassidy (R-LA) where she said she wouldn't mandate it from the secretarial level and her answer to a question from Senator Alexander (R-TN, chairman of the HELP Committee holding the hearing) that she wouldn't implement school choice from the federal level, none of the major concerns in our national parent coalition letter about Common Core, privacy, and school choice were asked or answered.
Here is a brief discussion of several issues that did come up and those that should be closely monitored during her control of the U.S. Department of Education:
Common Core Mrs. DeVos answered Senator Cassidy's brief yes or no question, that she would not continue Common Core from the federal level. it is interesting that she said in her prepared opening statement:
And every teacher in America dreams of breaking free from standardization, so that they can deploy their unique creativity and innovate with their students.
If she wants teachers to "break free from standardization" how is it that she has supported national Read more
November 5, 2016
Education and Common Core have received little national attention since the end of the presidential primary, but these crucial issues are making a resurgence in some Florida congressional races. Here are two important examples.
In District 18, that includes Martin and Palm Beach Counties, Brian Mast, a highly decorated munitions specialist who lost both legs in combat, is running on the Republican ticket. He strongly opposes Common Core and federal interference in education, saying on his website:
Washington should not be mandating curriculum for states, which is why I oppose Common Core. Each state should be a laboratory for innovation so that states compete with each other for the best results.
Mast's opponent, Democrat Randy Perkins, has made millions in government contracts for disaster clean-up. He echoes Hillary Clinton's platform of expanding expensive, intrusive government early childhood programs despite the fact that dozens of studies have shown them to be ineffective and or harmful. Perkins, like Clinton, also wants the federal government to provide low-cost college, even though our nation is $19 trillion in debt. His website mentions nothing about Common Core, which Democrat officials have called the "third rail" of politics.
Meanwhile, in District 9, near Orlando, veteran and businessman, Wayne Liebnitsky (left photo above) is also running on an anti-Common Core/EndFedEd platform, Read more
August 31, 2016
Congratulations and thanks to all the candidates, whether they won or lost, for their great efforts in the Florida primary. We are especially pleased and thankful for their strong efforts in the realm of education to stand for academic excellence, parental rights and local control and against federal overreach, mindless testing tyranny, data mining, and psychological profiling.
Education in general and specifically, the Common Core system was a very important issue in the just completed Florida primary. Regardless of their records, politicians clamored to sound pro-parent and to portray themselves as anti-Common Core. Our grassroots voter guides were an attempt to separate the rhetoric from the records. We thank you for reading and distributing them. We thank our partners and allies at The Tea Party Network, Liberty First, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and the Florida Citizens' Alliance for all of their tremendous grassroots work with ratings, endorsements, forums, and interaction on Common Core and other important issues. However, education was not the only issue on the ballot Read more
April 7, 2016
We thank The Pulse 2016 for publishing Dr. Effrem's latest article on the role of education in the presidential election. This article has to do with businessman Donald Trump's answer to a a question about the roles of the federal government. Here is an excerpt:
However, Trump added to his long string of contradictions and dizzyingly rapid position changes during last Tuesday's presidential town hall on CNN. A combat veteran asked, "In your opinion, what are the top three functions of the United States government?" The tycoon responded that after security, the top functions of the federal government were education and health care. He then added housing. Here is the video of the exchange:
As is his pattern when questioned, Trump tried to walk his statement on education back a moment later, which turned into this steaming pile of incoherence:
ANDERSON COOPER: Aren't you against the federal government's involvement in education? Don't you want it to devolve to states?
DONALD TRUMP: I want it to go to state, yes. Absolutely. I want right now...
But then when Cooper followed up again:
COOPER: So that's not part of what the federal government's --
TRUMP: The federal government, but the concept of the country is the concept that we have to have education within the country, and we have to get rid of Common Core, and it should be brought to the state level.
Despite this, as with his idea to expand libel laws to go after journalists that say negative things about him, Mr. Trump again displayed his frightening lack of constitutional understanding. Obviously, government control of education, health care and housing are exactly the big government establishment solutions parents fighting Common Core and Fed Ed, conservatives, and Republicans all Read more