WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mike Lee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have a message for Big Government: stop meddling in local education decisions.
“As a U.S. Senator, I’ve seen the federal government make a mess of everything it touches,” Lee, a Republican from Utah, wrote in a recent email sent to supporters through the free market group FreedomWorks.
“And if they’re allowed to stay, Common Core standards will be the ObamaCare of education,” Lee wrote, according to Newsmax. “Common Core is the DC takeover of our school system. It will dumb down standards and cheapen the education our children receive.”
Newsmax reports Lee’s comments come just days after Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal filed a lawsuit last week alleging the Obama administration “is using grant money and regulations to manipulate states into adopting the federal education standards.”
Obama, through his Race to the Top education initiative, convinced most states to adopt Common Core standards as a means of competing for billions in additional federal grant funding for education, though very few states actually received the funds.
The competitive Race to the Top grants, however, are only one of several ways the federal government is incentivizing states to implement the national learning standards. The U.S. Education Department has also awarded states a waiver from former president George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind education standards – and the penalties for not making the grade – if they agree to move forward with Common Core.
Regardless, over a dozen states have introduced legislation to dump Common Core at the behest of parents and educators who oppose the standards for various reasons, from concerns about the loss of local control to issues with left-leaning lesson plans to a perceived overemphasis on standardized testing.
Several states – including Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina – have successfully dumped Common Core.
For many critics like Lee, the fight against the national standards isn’t just about education, it’s about the future of the United States.
All American students “deserve the best education in the world. The only way we can make that happen is to repeal Common Core across America,” Lee wrote.
“They should be learning real American history, and why our sacred heritage makes this the greatest nation in the world,” he wrote. “Common Core does away with that. That’s why it must be stopped.”
Jindal, who tried unsuccessfully to block Louisiana education testing contracts related to Common Core, is equally offended by the federal power grab, and is taking his fight to the next level by suing the Obama administration.
“Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C. in control of everything,” Jindal, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, wrote in a prepared statement, according to Newsmax.
According to the news site:
Two state testing consortia — the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium — received $330 million from the grant program to develop standardized testing material tied to Common Core.
Louisiana received $17 million from Race to the Top and a waiver from certain education standards “in 2011 that Jindal’s lawsuit says was designed to coerce states to use Common Core or risk the loss of billions in federal education funding.
“The lawsuit will seek a judge to declare the Department of Education’s actions unconstitutional and to keep it from disqualifying states from receiving Race to the Top funds based on a refusal to use Common Core or to participate in one of the testing consortia,” Newsmax reports.