Candidates Respond to Pledge

The Stop Common Core in Michigan pledge is generating quite a few discussions on social media thanks to constituents who are posting and asking candidates to sign. Printable pledge available here pledge 2016 (PDF)  Candidates who sign pledge to:

  • Restores parents’ rights to direct the education of their children.
  • Rejects all federal mandates tied to federal funding.
  • Reduces Michigan’s reliance on Federal education funding.
  • Prevents federally mandated curriculum, standardized tests, and Repeals & Replaces Common Core (math, ELA, science & SS) with proven pre-CC MA. standards & assessments
  • Eliminates P-20 Workforce Development influence and data collection.

I would like to highlight two contrasting responses we received.  The first  from Mathew Nilson who is also in a three-way primary race for State Representative in the 66th District.   The second  from John Reilly who is in a very competitive race against Joe Kent for State Representative in Oakland County.

Mathew Nilson posted a comment in the post where he is listed as refusing to sign the pledge.  Nilson wrote,

Yes, I do worry about the loss of federal funds. We need a plan to replace that money. How can someone sign a pledge to repeal common core if they don’t have a plan to replace the lost dollars? When I sign a pledge, I give my word. I can’t do that at this time because the math doesn’t work. I may agree with all the stated principles. However, there is a real cost when we look at lost revenue. It has to come from somewhere. Thank you for making this post. I think this is a very important subject to discuss. Sincerely, Republican Candidate Matt Nilson

His response is telling and unfortunate.   It appears that Nilson puts the loss of federal funding higher than the loss of local/parental control in education.  That’s the thinking that got us in the common core mess in the first place.  Michigan did NOT receive any Race to the Top funding but the potential for funding was enough to adopt the standards.  Six years, later the loss of federal funding is now the reason lawmakers in the Senate is using to water down repealing and replacing Common Core, science, and social studies (SB 826).   Federal funding is clouding lawmakers perspective in education and destroying Michigan’s ability to decide what is best for its students.

It’s not just federal cash that entices lawmakers to surrender control.  Special interests like Great Lakes Education Project use endorsements and cash to gain favor with lawmakers to compromise on principles in favor of more control for the state and less for parents.

Here is an excerpt of the response we received from John Reilly via email.

Any politician can claim to support one policy or another.  It’s common for politicians to take the popular positions.   I’ve heard from many voters that my opponent and I seem to be campaigning on the same issues. But scratch the surface, and you can find clear differences between me and my opponent:

-We both say we oppose Common Core, but I signed the Stop Common Core in Michigan pledge.  My opponent refused to sign.

Joe Kent says that he is for “less government, more liberty” while standing with organizations that want more government and less liberty.

Joe Kent tells us voters that he will fight against Common Core while mailers from the pro-Common Core “Great Lakes Education Project” food voters mailboxes  

I would submit that most parents are VERY willing to reject federal funding if it means continuing common national standards and federal oversight.   “Replacing funding” as Nilson suggests is a misguided perspective.   It makes money the priority and allows the federal government to continue to push for mandates because Michigan lawmakers don’t want to give up the cash.  Regaining control is the priority for voters.

Michigan parents and citizens are looking for candidates who will put parents NOT the feds first and not bow to pro-Common Core  GLEP or other special interests in exchange for campaign cash or endorsements.

Federal “revenue” and lobbyist cash are the reason Michigan parents and communities are losing control.

It’s time for parents to vote FOR candidates who understand that they serve the people of the state of Michigan not DC or Lansing lobbyists.