But Common Core also receives bipartisan opposition. The conservative-leaning Heritage Foundation, along with libertarian leaning groups like the Pioneer Institute of Boston, opposes the Common Core effort. But so also does Glenda Ritz, a Democrat who currently serves as Indiana’s State Superintendent of Education.
Ritz’ election in the heavily Republican state of Indiana is often cited as evidence of Common Core’s unpopularity. In November of 2012, Ritz unseated Indiana’s incumbent Republican State Superintendent, Dr. Tony Bennett, in part by campaigning against the Common Core initiative and claiming that Indiana’s adoption of the Common Core standards would result in a loss of state sovereignty. Ritz ended up receiving more votes in that election than did the new (and now very popular) Governor Mike Pence – and herein lies the significance f Pence’s latest move.
But Indiana’s “pause” on Common Core is not merely important for political reasons (it does, in fact, exemplify a sense of cooperation between Democrat Ritz and Republican Pence). It also demonstrates that at least some Americans still have a genuine concern about the federal government taking-over and controlling very intimate areas of our lives. It suggests that some of our fellow Americans still adhere to the wisdom of, say, Thomas Jefferson, who warned of the threat of tyranny from government, instead of buying-in to the naïve and selfish view that President Obama articulated last week in his commencement address to Ohio State University when he admonished graduates to resist those who warn of government tyranny (as if such a thing doesn’t really exist).
But is the Common Core standards agenda to be regarded as “tyranny?” Three separate federal laws prohibit the federal government from dictating educational curriculum content to the nation’s public schools. Yet on President Barack Obama’s watch, there has been a concerted effort within his administration to commandeer the Common Core agenda, and to skirt federal restraints.
Back in 2009 and 2010 when the administration was distributing so-called “stimulus” funds, one of the criteria for public schools to receive funds was for school districts to adopt higher “college and career standards” for students. And it just so happened that, in order to qualify for the stimulus funds, many states chose at that time to adopt the “Common Core” academic standards so they could apply for, and receive the federal funds.
The bipartisan group of Governors and state school Superintendents who support the Common Core agenda undoubtedly has the best of intentions. Yet the inability among elected officials to see how government power can be abused is a problem for both Republicans and Democrats.
The other states’ should follow Indiana’s lead. And after we hit “pause” on Common Core, let’s consider the same for Obamacare.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.