Promotion of Common Core by the Department of Education is a Violation of Existing Federal Law

Existing federal law [through the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA), Department of Education Organization Act (DEOA), and Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA)] prohibits the Department of Education from supporting, promoting and funding Common Core.

However, under the Obama administration, beginning in 2009, the Department of Education has positioned the federal government to take over elementary and secondary school curriculum, methods of instruction and local culture.

Common Core was developed by two private organizations: National Governors Association’s Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Local school administrators, teachers and parents were not involved.

Common Core Standards were cloaked in the Race to the Top education programs under the Obama administration. States accepting Race to the Top money also agreed to subscribe to Common Core Standards even through those standards had not been written. Even though the Common Standards are untested, forty-five states were duped into accepting the concept through the lure of Race to the Top money.

Two individuals who were members of the Common Core validation committees refused to endorse the standards. Dr. Jim Milgram, Stanford University, was the only

professional mathematician and expert on content on the review committee. He has a background in writing standards and evaluating international standards for leading countries. Sandra Stotsky, Professor of Education Reform, 21st Century Chair in Teacher Quality, University of Arkansas, has extensive experience in development of K-12 standards in Massachusetts, Texas and Common Core.

Both professionals refused to endorse Common Core. Dr. Milgram stated that Common Core standards “ . . . do not even cover all the topics that are required for admission to any of the state universities around the country . . . Realistically, the most likely outcome of the Core Mathematics geometry standards is the complete suppression of the key topics in Euclidean geometry including proofs and deductive reasoning . . .”

Professor Stotsky stated that, “The standards which I have analyzed in detail many times over, do not signify readiness or authentic college level work, at best they point to readiness for a high school diploma . . . Professor Milgram says the same thing about the mathematics standards. We’re talking about the Common Core’s standards. Neither of them makes us competitive with other countries that have high expectations for their high school students . . .

“Common Core’s ‘college readiness’ standards for English language arts and reading do not aim for a level of achievement that signifies readiness for authentic college-level work. They point to no more than readiness for a high school diploma (and possibly not even that, depending on where the cut score on tests based on these standards is set). Despite claims to the contrary, they are not internationally benchmarked.”

It turns out that not only is the Department of Education (and the Obama administration) violating federal law but also they are promoting a program that dumbs-down education for the majority. How does promotion of Common Core violate existing law? The GEPA (20 United States Code § 1232a), DEOA (20 United States Code § 3403b) and ESEA (20 United States Code § 7907a, b) essentially state the same restrictions:

  1. No provision of any applicable program shall be construed to authorize any department, agency, officer, or employee of the United States to exercise any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system, or over the selection of library resources, textbooks, or other printed or published instructional materials by any educational institution or school system.
  1. No officer or employee of the Federal Government is authorized to mandate, direct, or control a State, local educational agency, or school’s curriculum, program of instruction, or allocation of State or local resources, or mandate a State or any subdivision thereof to spend any funds or incur any costs not paid for under this statute.
  1. Notwithstanding any other prohibition of Federal law, no funds provided to the Department under this statute may be used by the Department to endorse, approve, or sanction any curriculum designed to be used in an elementary school or secondary school.

Further, 20 United States Code § 3401, Finding # 4 – Congress clearly stated that, “In our Federal system, the primary public responsibility for education is reserved respectively to the States and the local school systems and other instrumentalities of the States.”

“Race to the Top” originated in the so-called American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009. Nothing in this law superseded the prohibitions delineated in GEPA, DEOA and ESEA. Therefore, the prohibitions against the federal government and its officers and employees taking over elementary and secondary education curriculum, methods of teaching, and local culture still stand.

The Obama administration pushed this federal take-over of education even though the Constitution expressly reserves to the states the creation and development of education curriculum. Common Core Standards takes control of education away from the parents and local authorities and creates a top down one-size fits all educational complex that includes tracking of individual students from preschool through the workforce. Why the need for population tracking and control?

Education is local. Education curriculum, methods of teaching and education culture belong in the hands of local parents, teachers and administrators, not in the hands of big government statists intent on creating government re-education camps in place of local schools.

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