Common Core vs. Autonomy: It’s All About the Money

Here at FreedomWorks, we….well, we know that freedom works. We know that, if the federal government would leave us alone and let market forces work, the American people would flourish and thrive.  Whether it’s the NSA revelations, the IRS scandal, or the imposing takeover of our health care system, Americans are seeing a grand expansion of federal control.  In the education arena, we are also facing a huge overreach of federal power that will be felt for years to come: Common Core Standards. A new study by the Pioneer Institute further supports arguments that Common Core is harmful to the freedom that states currently enjoy.

This study, entitled A Republic of Republics: How Common Core Undermines State and Local Autonomy Over K-12 Education argues that the Department of Education should not be allowed to include Common Core adoption in any decisions regarding federal funding. This is absolutely true. The federal government cannot be given the authority to determine how children are educated or the ability to pull funding should states not comply. The federal government does not know what’s best for children in every state across America, so why push cookie cutter standards?  Educators, parents, and administrators in local communities have real ties to the children they instruct, and the standards should be left up to them; not a bureaucrat far removed. 

The executive summary of the study states “The United States has a history of state and local control of K-12 education, and that local control has always translated into diverse systems of educational governance and diverse standards.” That being said, why threaten to withhold financing if schools won’t bow to the federal government? U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa writes of letting the federal government make these decisions, saying “decisions that affect a child’s education, these decisions should be made at a level of government close to the parents and students who are affected.” 

Author Robert Scott, former Texas Commissioner of Education, says that “Common Core fundamentally alters the relationship between the federal government and the states.” It is no secret that an entity, like a government, which feeds on power will always be hungry for more. There is a reason that the Tenth Amendment exists, and that is to protect Americans from this encroachment on state autonomy. In this case, it is to prevent the government from gaining unprecedented access to America’s school children.

Of course, if Common Core were so great, the government wouldn’t have to dangle money before the states to get them to adopt it in a hurry.  If the standards truly were raising the bar for America’s children, wouldn’t educators want to implement them to better their student’s outcomes?  As it turns out, Common Core isn’t great, so they have to stoop to these bully tactics.  Therein lies the rub.