Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
When criticized by Florida Senator Marco Rubio during the Republican Presidential Debate on January 14th for supporting Common Core, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie said, "And on Common Core, Common Core has been eliminated in New Jersey."The evidence on the New Jersey Department of Education website and in the state media, however, tells a completely different story. Although Christie should be commended for signing two bills that pare back testing for grades K-2 and does not penalize districts for having high numbers of students that opt out, the Garden State is still a member of PARCC, the national Common Core testing consortium:
The review panel reviewing the standards wants to keep the PARCC and actually make it a graduation requirement, which would negate the bill described above, that does not penalize districts for opting out. It would greatly harm the possibility for parents to actually use their inherent, God-given right to direct the education of their children, including by opting them out of state tests. The axiom that what is tested will be taught holds true. If New Jersey is testing Common Core, they will be teaching Common Core.Regarding the standards themselves, the department seems poised to keep 84-85% of Common Core. This is the magic number that is required in the Race to the Top contracts each state signed that clearly required Common Core. The relevant text from Florida's contract says: "The goal is to have a common core of state standards that states can voluntarily adopt. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state's standards in English language arts and mathematics." (Race to the Top Contract, p. 92, emphasis added)
So, as in Florida, the review panel is recommending that New Jersey still keep the bulk of the Common Core standards to remain within the RTTT Read more
PHOTO CREDIT - 2016 THE PULSE
As Senator Marco Rubio moves up in the polls after three strong debate performances, his own record, as well as the financial connections of the major donors for his campaign are starting to undergo significant review. For those that care deeply about downsizing the federal role in education, that means examining monetary ties to Common Core, testing and data mining.Rubio has done very well in his speeches, the one debate where he or anyone was able to talk about Common Core and votes related to Common Core and the overreach of the federal government via the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) currently known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB). He is to be thanked for voting against the final ECAA/No Child Left Behind rewrite and for Senator Cruz's amendment on state sovereignty in testing in that mammoth federal bill. He received a solid C, but not higher, on the Pulse 2016 Common Core report card because of his "Know Before You Go Act" which will require a boatload of student data mining, but has room for improvement.Unfortunately, the bloom may be coming off his anti-Common Core rose due to significant donations from two of the largest funders of Common Core in the nation and the world. The first are two donations totaling $3000 from Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. Gates recently said in an Atlantic interview that " representative democracy is a problem" in regard to climate change. Rubio is the only one of the seventeen Republican candidates that received any political contributions from Gates in the period covered in this chart. PHOTO CREDIT - RAMIN TALIE/GETTY IMAGES
The other major donor and perhaps more influential for Rubio, is Wall Street billionaire Paul E. Singer. The following excerpts from an excellent Breitbart article by Dr. Susan Berry explain Singer's foundation: Singer "founded the Paul E. Singer Foundation, whose work thus far has 'focused on supporting research and scholars in the areas Read more
Republican Senators Ted Cruz (TX) and Rand Paul (KY) earned the best grades of A- while not surprisingly, former Governor Jeb Bush and current Ohio Governor John Kasich received failing grades for their positions and actions on Common Core. The graded review of 16 Republican candidates was done by the American Principles in Action group. The full report card is available HERE.The report was based on how well candidates by their statements and actions have answered three questions: 1.) Have they spoken out and acted against Common Core?Statements opposing Common Core must acknowledge that the standards are of low-quality, fail to meet the expectations of high-performing countries, and contain language that controls the curriculum and instructional methods used in the classroom. Recognition of these deficiencies is central in determining whether a candidate's actions have been a sincere effort to replace the Common Core with high standards or to simply rebrand it under another name.2.) Do they understand and have they made a specific commitment to protect state and local control of education from further federal intrusion?In particular, we are looking for candidates who understand how the federal government intrudes onto state decision-making and who advocate for structural changes to prevent such intrusions. Moreover, the candidate must understand that the intended division of power between the federal government and the state is meant to ensure that people can shape state and local policies. He must understand how the breakdown of that division destroyed the safeguards that could have, and likely would have, prevented Common Core.3.) What efforts has the candidate made to protect student and family privacy interests against the rising demands of industry and central planners for more personal student data?Such interests include the right of parents to control what type of information is collected (e.g., social and emotional information, behavioral history, Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
The wind may be leaving the sails of Jeb Bush's ship Air of Inevitability. His big lead is eroding in poll after poll as parent and taxpayer outrage about his involvement in and undying support of Common Core and the accompanying invasive, punitive, and invalid tests. As other candidates truly enter the race, instead of pretending to be "strongly considering" it, there is more anger about his perceived skirting of campaign finance laws, the appearance of his continued iron fisted control of Florida Legislature and GOP, his testing policies that have metastasized to other states and to federal law, and continued scrutiny of his past financial dealings.Adam Smith of the Tampa Bay Times said this about Bush and Common Core in his recent article about how Jeb's claim to still be considering a presidential run so as to be able to skirt campaign finance laws and gather more money: At some point this year, however, Bush may find his non-campaign campaign makes primary voters start to doubt his honesty as much as they do his positions on Common Core and immigration reform.
That was a follow-up to Smith's note about Bush's Common Core position in relation to Florida Senator Marco Rubio's now officially announced run: He [Rubio] must have sufficient money to communicate. This may be the first election in which billionaires pick a presidential nominee and that's good news for Rubio. Bush is likely to raise far more money than any other Republican candidate, but he faces so much hostility and skepticism in the base due to his last name and his support for Common Core education standards that he may need all that money.
During that speech, Rubio also took a shot at Bush's air of inevitability RUBIO: I've heard -- I've heard some suggest that I should step aside and wait my turn.AUDIENCE: No. It's your turn.RUBIO: But I cannot. Because I believe our very identity as an exceptional nation is at stake, and I can make a Read more
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 the standards.
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.
And opposite the three Republicans, Hillary just days after announcing her candidacy, defended Common Core in Iowa, saying:
"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, Read more
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:
Michael Huckabee 10 percent
Dr. Benjamin Carson 8 percent
Gov. Christopher J. Christie (R.-N.J.) 6 percent
Sen. Randal H. "Rand" Paul (R.-Ky.) 5 Read more
Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director
Former governor and potential presidential candidate Jeb Bush will be holding a closed fundraiser and an open education forum tomorrow in Tallahassee. Many on both sides of the aisle have concerns about that candidacy. He has been protested by anti-Common Core groups and Republican activists. The Florida Bad Ass Teachers (BATs) and the Democrat Party will be protesting the event tomorrow. Other potential Repbulican presidential candidates are criticizing Bush's support for Common Core: Ted Cruz was on ABC's This Week and said:
"If he [Bush] chooses to run, it certainly looks like he's going to, he's going to have to make the case to Republican primary voters concerning his record, concerning certainly his support for Common Core, concerning his policies on immigration. And I think we'll have a debate on that," Cruz added. "But at the end of the day, I think Republicans are looking for a leader. What I would urge every Republican thinking about running to do, and this is true of senators, of governors stand up and lead. I'd be thrilled if six months from now we have a half-dozen Republicans standing and leading and making the case that there is a better way we can get back to the free-market principles and constitutional liberties that built this country and made this country a shining city on a hill."
Bobby Jindal said in a speech to the American Principles Project:
"Local parents, local teachers, local leaders need to make these decisions," Jindal said at a luncheon sponsored by the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has rallied opposition to the Common Core nationwide. "In our entire history as a country, we've never allowed the federal government to make these decisions for us. Now is not the time to start...."..."Trust these moms," Jindal said. "I have more confidence in the moms in this room than I do in any collection of bureaucrats."
Multiple exposes Read more
Photo Credit - Breitbart New
During an interview with Breitbart News at a North Carolina campaign stop, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul explained his opposition to Common Core: "I don't think there's really a constitutional role for the federal government in education. So I'm not for a national curriculum," Paul said, adding:"I think the danger of having one central governmental authority deciding curriculum is what if we get some people who decide we really need to treat Karl Marx fairly, we need to make sure he gets a good writeup in the history and Adam Smith, oh gosh, he was terrible. You can see how once it's nationalized, one person can insert a bias into the curriculum, and it goes everywhere, and then you have to fight it. Should your local school district have to fight Washington, or shouldn't you have to go to a school board member and say, "Should we have that in our textbooks?" So more local control is better. And different parts of the country might choose different curriculums--and North Carolina is more conservative, so my guess is they might have a little bit different curriculum than San Francisco."
While not mentioning Jeb Bush by name, he had a harsh warning for potential 2016 presidential contenders on Common Core
"I don't see Common Core being--if you're for Common Core and you're for a national curriculum, I don't see it being a winning message in a Republican primary," Paul said in an interview backstage at an event where he endorsed Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC) for reelection. "If there's a Republican candidate out there--let's just say there's a hypothetical one that's for Common Core. I'm saying that that hypothetical candidate that's for Common Core probably doesn't have much chance of winning in a Republican primary."
The article went on to describe Jeb Bush's awkward campaign appearance for Thom Tillis related to Common Core and immigration where Tillis had to distance himself from Bush that we have also reported. Read more
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 shows: "...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 Read more