Common Core and the Republican State Convention

The “primary” for some Republican candidates is conducted at the State Convention where convention  delegates vote. Convention Delegates are selected from all Republican Precinct Delegates elected August 5, as part of the County Convention process, Thursday, August 14. Here is a list of the positions and the candidates to be voted on education is part of their position and where Common Core is an issue:

– Lt. Governor:  Brian Calley, Wes Nakagiri

– Michigan Board of Education (2) Maria Carl, Joshua Cline, Linda Lee Tarver, Jon Williams

– University Board of Regents (2) Dan Horning, Carl Meyers*, Rob Steele, Ron Weiser

– Michigan State University Board of Trustees (2) Melanie Foster, Jeff Sakwa, Scott Shultz

All of us who are fighting Common Core in Michigan should care about who wins these elections. In addition to our Michigan Representatives and Senators, all these people will have the ability to influence whether Michigan continues down the disruptive path of CC or returns to sanity, like Oklahoma.   Below is a look at each office, the candidates, and the potential impact on stopping  Common Core.

Lt. Governor

The Lt. Governor is a policy partner of the Governor and President Pro-tem of the Senate. As such, he has the ability to influence both the administration and the legislature. Since Governor Snyder is a Common Core supporter, a Lt. Governor strongly opposed to Common Core will provide balance in those “closed room” conversations of leadership. Remember, the Michigan legislature was poised to Stop Common Core when, all of a sudden, Republican “leadership” voted against the majority of the Republican caucus, against the platform of the Michigan Republican Platform, the National Platform and the will of the majority of grassroots Republicans! The leadership voted with ALL the Democrats to continue using Common Core and Michigan’s education standards.

Brian Calley has been silent through this whole process we believe we must change leadership to defeat Common Core.

Wes Nakagiri is challenging Calley and opposes Common Core.

Michigan Board of Education

The Michigan Board of Education is the organization most responsible for getting Michigan into Common Core. Even the two Republican members of the board, Eileen Weiser and Richard Zeile voted for CC. And, over the last two years as public opinion for CC has declined, these two “Republicans” have continually argued in support of CC, very publicly.  If we are able to elect two people who are willing to fight against CC on the State Board, they will have a very difficult job, because the other 6 members will oppose them. But two “friends” on the board could help prevent further stealth implementations, such as the one underway to impose the Next Generation Science Standards and  C3 Social Studies Standards.

Maria Carl has published a clear statement against Common Core. If you check her website, you will see she is a mom and a tutor who understands the value of classical education.

Joshua Cline is a young candidate who was home schooled, he knows the value of retaining that right for parents in
Michigan. We have heard he is opposed to Common Core.

Linda Lee Tarver, has no experience in education, has not published any statement about Common Core and is close with the Republican leadership which supports Common Core. She would probably not be a friend to our cause.

Jon Williams’s position is less clear. He is an advocate for school choice and “Parent driven education”, but he has not published a position on Common Core but has made comments that he is opposed. Refer to our recent posts about GLEP, a well-funded lobbying group that is pro-charter schools, pro-common core and pretends to believe in parent choice. He is using the same words they do, so it is unclear where he really stands on Common Core.  If you would like to see his flyer, please contact us and we will forward it to you.

UM Regent and MSU Trustee

There are three very critical roles the Michigan universities play in Common Core:

– defining entrance requirements

– retaining credibility of degree programs

– teacher degree programs.

If AP, ACT and SAT all align to Common Core, the few CC-free K-12 educational options, homeschool and private school,  are pushed further into CC compliance.  Parents want their children to attend the best universities and if the entrance requirements include AP courses and good ACT or SAT scores, they are forcing compliance to these bad standards.

The lower expectations for high school do not properly prepare students for STEM careers.  And, the agreements between CC groups and universities require that remedial classes no longer be called remedial.  The lack of preparation will become “invisible” and STEM degrees will go from an average of 4+ years to complete to 5+ or more.  Universities are inclined to accept this change as it results in more tuition money, but parents, students and taxpayers will bear the brunt of this change.

If teacher degree programs are designed to “educate” teachers to teach to Common Core standards, new teachers will not understand the value and effectiveness of proven educational practices, like those used in Classical education models.  Teachers will be taught to be compliant to the model, not to be inspiring professionals who seek to help each child find their own motivations for a love of learning.

Leaders in the big universities, who understand these issues and, importantly, are willing to fight to stop the encroachment of the Common Core mentality, are critical for our success in Stopping Common Core in Michigan.

Rob Steele, Dan Horning, Jeff Sakwa and Melanie Foster ran two years ago.  They have taken very strong and visible positions opposing Common Core and have used the last two years to develop their understanding of the issue.

Carl Meyers and Scott Schulz have taken a stand opposing Common Core in their campaign material.  They are new to the stage, and they are to be commended for their stand.

Ron Weiser is troubling. He only recently issued a public statement on Common Core. His wife, Eileen Weiser, is on the State Board of Education and works diligently in support of Common Core. Recent appearances with Ted Cruz or Pat Colbeck have persuaded some he does not support CCSS. However, his political allies are insufficient evidence that he truly opposes Common Core or will fight to defeat it if elected. After all he may be friends with the anti-CC position but he is married to the pro-CC position!   And, he is one of the biggest contributors to GLEP, as previously mentioned, ardent lobbyists in support of Common Core. 

Weiser has a lot of money and could be an asset if he were really on our side.  He was a big fighter for Right to Work.  But he fits the model of Jeb Bush, John Engler, and Bill Gates.   He is to be commended for his political skills, his obvious commitment to “putting money where his mouth is,” and his ability to skirt an issue!

Thank you all for your continued efforts to fight common core.  If you have any questions, corrections or comments please let us know.

STOP Common Core in Michigan                                 
STOP Common Core in Michigan is offering insight on the candidates up for election during the Michigan Republican Convention and their positions on Common Core.  This is an opinion piece based on the information we have been able to collect.  Clarifications by candidates are welcome.  If we find the corrections to be valid, corrections will be published.

Prepared by:
Melanie Kurdys
Karen Braun