Common Core under fire from both the right and left

Jul 14, 2015 by


By Michael Coleman –

Common Core isn’t getting much love on the presidential campaign trail this summer as candidates of both parties remain vague about the education program, backpedal from previous support or denounce it outright.

Meanwhile, sweeping education reform bills pending in the U.S. House and Senate say the feds couldn’t force or entice states to adopt Common Core or any other specific federal standards for public schools.

“Both bills say you can’t bully or bribe states into it,” a Senate aide close to the education bill told me after the House passed its rewrite of the long-expired and much-reviled No Child Left Behind Act last week.

While Common Core and its rigorous – some say onerous – PARCC standardized testing regimen have become a public education lightning rod, New Mexico Education Secretary Hannah Skandera and her boss, Republican Gov. Susana Martinez, keep singing the program’s praises.

In an interview with me on Friday, Skandera said the federal government should mandate that states adopt at least baseline education standards in exchange for federal funding. That’s contrary to the views of some U.S. House Republicans, including Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., who last week backed an amendment that would have given states free rein to adopt whatever public education standards they want – or none at all. That amendment failed when even some House Republicans balked. The original No Child Left Behind Bill, which then-Democratic Sen. Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico helped write, garnered widespread bipartisan support when Congress passed it in 2001, but its testing requirements are now viewed as excessive by Republicans and Democrats. Skandera said that tweaking the requirements makes sense, but that scrapping them doesn’t.

“The requirement that you have a school accountability system is a must, but the state – which New Mexico has done and done well – needs to be able to decide what that school accountability system looks like,” Skandera said.

Source: Common Core under fire from both the right and left | Albuquerque Journal News

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