Feb. 23, 2014
By Fred Lucas
Common Core state education standards are not federal-level coercion, as some Republicans in Congress have characterized it, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told TheBlaze.
Duncan spoke Sunday at the gathering of the National Governors Association. Afterward TheBlaze asked him about a resolution proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and co-sponsored by eight other Republican senators. The resolution opposes tying federal education dollars with adoption of Common Core standards, which the resolution says could create a de facto “national curriculum.”
“I’m not familiar with that, but that’s simply not true,” Duncan told TheBlaze.
More than 40 House Republicans signed on to a similar resolution saying the Common Core standards were federal coercion.
Recently the National Education Association, the nation’s largest teachers union, has been critical of the implementation of the standards.
The Obama administration has supported the Common Core K-12 math and English standards developed by the governors association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. But Duncan said whether education standards are Common Core or something else, the administration backs high standards.
“We’ve always supported high standards,” Duncan said. “That’s the key thing…almost 20 states dummied down standards on No Child Left Behind to make politicians look good. It’s one of the most silly things to happen to education. What you see here is governors showing tremendous leadership to their approach in raising standards.”
“You see again across the country 38 percent of kids…going to universities taking remedial classes,” he said. “That’s not a good thing. The vast majority of states…are doing a good job of raising standards.”
Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, the chairman of the NGA Education and Workforce Committee, praised Common Core.
“Kentucky was the first state to adopt the Common Core standards,” Beshear, a Democrat, told TheBlaze. “We’re excited about it. We’re implementing it. Our whole education community, including our administrators and teachers have bought into it. We are already noticing a very positive effect of implementing those standards. So we’re going to be charging ahead.”
He stressed, however, that Common Core isn’t a national one-size-fits-all policy.
“You have a set of standards…then your local school districts take and develop curriculum and…their own ways of addressing those standards. So its working very well in Kentucky,” Beshear added.