Let’s Make Common Core Dead Again!

President Trump was voted into office with the campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again!”   He said that included getting rid of Common Core.   He selected Betsy DeVos as his Secretary of Education.   Trump hasn’t talked about Common Core since the election.

Much to our surprise and without any evidence, Secretary Betsy DeVos now claims Common Core is dead. Here is her quote from a January 16, 2018 speech:

I agree – and have always agreed – with President Trump on this: “Common Core is a disaster.” And at the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead.”

This quote lacks credibility on many fronts, including Secretary DeVos’s assertion she always agreed that Common Core is a disaster.  Great Lakes Education Project (GLEP), a DeVos funded political lobbying group, advocated heavily in support of Common Core.  I know.  I was there.  I even had the dubious pleasure of debating their primary lobbyist at several grassroots meetings.

Most folks in Michigan know her assertion that “Common Core is dead” defies logic.   Many candidates running for office in 2018 are campaigning on a platform to get rid of Common Core!  Just like they did in many past election cycles.  If it is dead, why would they bother?   Politicians, like parents all across Michigan, know that Common Core is alive and well in our schools….and a “disaster.”  Candidates are, once again, playing on parents emotions and using Common Core to get elected but refuse to do anything once they are in office.

Speaker of the House Tom Leonard has repeatedly asserted his opposition to Common Core.   Never mind that Speaker Leonard has not done anything to get rid of it in his current leadership role.  Clearly, Leonard knows that Common Core is not dead in Michigan. It appears Leonard caved to the pressure from the establishment and special interests and has allowed HB 4192,  an excellent bill to Repeal & Replace Common Core, to languish in committee.   Leonard is now running for Attorney General and is using the education issue to make his case to grassroots Republicans; remember the AG is selected through the party convention process.   Leonard is in a tight spot.   His website boasts that he refuses to “to back down to political pressure from the Lansing establishment.”  That statement is as hollow as DeVos’s claim Common Core is dead.

Senator Tonya Schuitmaker is also running for Attorney General.  She voted for a Common Core Resolution in 2013, but now sees the error of her ways and opposes Common Core.  Senator Schuitmaker rightly points out the lack of action by Speaker Leonard on Common Core including a lack of action on HB 4192.  Senator Schuitmaker has co-sponsored the weaker version of Common Core Repeal in the Senate, so it is our hope she will use her Senate leadership role to bring the House version forward as a replacement.  But clearly, Senator Schuitmaker also knows, Common Core is not dead.

Senator Patrick Colbeck is running for Governor.  He has been consistent in his assertion that he opposes Common Core but his actions are confusing.  He is the sponsor of the weak Senate bill to repeal Common Core that allows politicians bragging rights but provides no substantive change in the classroom.   He supports the “revised”social studies standards that are predicated on Common Core and build upon them.  He supports a digital credential in STEM which is also built around the Common Core and common next generation science standards.  He supported the so called, data Pupil Privacy bills, which do not protect student data built around the data codes in Common Core and other national standards.    But now that it is election time, Colbeck continues to assert his opposition to Common Core.  Clearly he realizes, Common Core is not dead.

Lt. Governor Brian Calley is running to “Continue the Comeback” of the Governor Snyder years.  We all know Governor Snyder is pro Common Core.  In his 2016 support for the appointment of Betsy DeVos to Secretary of education, Snyder said

Common Core is a “good thing” and that his state should “stand up for it,” reported NBC25 News. He added the goal of Common Core is setting higher standards and blamed opposition to it on “politics.”

As LT. Governor, Calley never went on record opposing the governor, except during the Republican Convention of 2014 where he was challenged by a real Common Core opponent, Wes Nakagiri.  Now he asserts that he supports the repeal of Common Core, while claiming to continue to policies of Governor Snyder.  This is confusing.  But what is clearly NOT confusing is both Governor Snyder and Lt Governor Brian Calley know, Common Core is not dead.

AG Bill Schuette has also announced opposition to Common Core as part of his platform for governor.  Previously I wrote more about what AG Schuette could do right now to help fight Common Core.  But clearly, AG Schuette knows, Common Core is not dead.

We sincerely appreciate Representative Gary Glenn’s sponsorship of HB 4192, but unfortunately, he has been silent on the issue for a long time.  In his campaign for Senate, his reference to education policy “Push for the best and safest schools to meet the education needs of all students in mid-Michigan” does not mention Common Core.  But since he has not withdrawn his bill, it appears Representative Glenn also knows, Common Core is not dead.

There are more candidates and elected officials still claiming to fight to Repeal Common Core.  We would sincerely appreciate some real action.  Let’s make Common Core Dead, Again, for real.