by Paul Dupont
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos just can’t seem to avoid making misleading statements on Common Core.
After suggesting — falsely — on a couple occasions that Common Core is no longer an issue, she repeated this claim yesterday, along with a statement which appeared to imply states which have moved away from Common Core may be setting the bar too low:
“Well, with the implementation of the Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA], in essence, Common Core is not a national program or mandate anymore,” said DeVos. “Power has been returned to state and local entities to be able to decide what standards and what expectations they are going to have of their students. Now I’m very hopeful that every state will set their expectations high. We want them to shoot high on behalf of their students, but the reality is there is no more federal Common Core and it’s not mandated from the federal level.”
Emmett McGroarty and Jane Robbins have already thoroughly debunked the idea that ESSA has somehow done away with federal pressure on states to adopt Common Core. In fact, as they pointed out last week, ESSA has arguably given Washington bureaucrats more power to compel states into embracing the standards.
But what is even more striking about DeVos’ new comments is how similar they sound to comments made by former presidential candidate, and Common Core supporter, Jeb Bush:
“So in my mind, the debate needs to be broader. It needs to be about real accountability, school choice, high standards – if people don’t like Common Core, fine – just make sure your standards are much higher than the ones you had before. We can’t keep dumbing down standards.”
Notice the similar language: both DeVos and Bush emphasize the importance of high standards, contrasting this with the attitude of those who reject Common Core — seemingly implying that, if only every state had Common Core, every student would be held to high standards.
The only problem is that Common Core does not meet the definition of high standards. More information on how both the math and English Language Arts components of Common Core do students a disservice can be found here and here.
President Trump was right to promise Americans during his campaign that he would end federal government support for Common Core. Secretary DeVos needs to help the President follow through on that pledge — and not wrongly pretend it’s already been kept.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore