By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
At the urging of grassroots conservative activists, just this year, the controversial Common Core standards were repealed in Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Missouri.
On Friday, the Federal government struck back against Oklahoma. As a result of the Common Core repeal, President Obama’s U.S. Department of Education told Oklahoma officials that the Federal government was repealing its waiver from the onerous No Child Left Behind act, making it the second state to lose its reprieve from the law. Also, the Obama administration announced that Oklahoma education officials would lose the authority to direct what to do with $29 million of Federal grant money. Instead, how that money is spent in the state would be directed by federal officials. Also failing schools may be required to replace members of their staff, place the school under state control, or bring in outside leadership.
Under the No Child Left Behind regulations, Oklahoma will be required to provide tutoring and public school choice options to students in failing schools.
Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) said in a written statement, “It is outrageous that President Obama and Washington bureaucrats are trying to dictate how Oklahoma schools spend education dollars. Because of overwhelming opposition from Oklahoma parents and voters to Common Core, Washington is now acting to punish us. This is one more example of an out-of-control presidency that places a politicized Washington agenda over the well-being of Oklahoma students.”
According to original reporting in Politico by Caitlin Emma, Education Department Press Secretary Dorie Nolt said in a written statement, “Having college-and-career-ready standards matters because it provides critical thinking and problem solving skills — skills that students need to succeed in college and beyond. Oklahoma was unable to demonstrate that its students are learning high standards this year, which the state committed to do under its ESEA flexibility request. State leaders still have the opportunity to demonstrate that their standards are rigorous or design new standards to ensure their students are ready for college, career and life — just like Indiana and several other states have done.”
Conservatives are not giving up their opposition to the unpopular education standards.
U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R) from Utah said in a written statement, “it’s time to end Common Core. As a U.S. Senator, I’ve seen the federal government make a mess of everything it touches. And if they’re allowed to stay, Common Core standards will be the ObamaCare of education.”
Sen. Lee said, “Common Core is the DC takeover of our school system. It will dumb down standards and cheapen the education our children receive,” according to a report in Associated Press.
In Louisiana, Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) filed a lawsuit on Wednesday challenging the Obama administration’s use of federal grant money and regulations to force states to force states to adopt the unpopular Common Core education standards.
Gov. Jindal said that the U.S. Department of Education was using a $4.3 billion grant program and federal policy waivers to encourage states to adopt the national education standards and strict testing regimen. Jindal said that that, “Effectively forces states down a path toward a national curriculum.” “The federal government has hijacked and destroyed the Common Core initiative,” Jindal said in a statement. “Common Core is the latest effort by big government disciples to strip away state rights and put Washington, D.C., in control of everything.”
In Alabama, opponents of Common Core are organizing and likely will be back in Montgomery in the next legislative session demanding that the legislature take the education standards out of the hands of the embattled State School Board and repeal Plan 2020, the Common Core compliant Alabama College and Career Ready Standards before they are even implemented.
Alabama State Schools Superintendent Tommy Bice faces a daunting challenge in turning back the momentum against Common Core, as polls show that the Common Core is losing support from both parents and teachers alike.