by Karen R. Effrem, MD
Prominent Indiana businessman Alan Hubbard just recently announced his withdrawal from consideration as Deputy Secretary of Education, the number two position under current Secretary Betsy DeVos. In his statement, he cited the significant financial sacrifice his family would need to make as far as selling assets for him meet ethics requirements in order to take the job.
This is fabulous news for parents, citizens, and activists fighting against the Common Core/Fed Ed machine. Hubbard is a strong ally of both Betsy DeVos and the pro-Common Core American Federation for Children, as well as working closely Jeb Bush and with disgraced former Indiana and Florida Education Commissioner Tony Bennett.
He is strongly in favor of the Common Core agenda. He and his wife Kathy have worked closely with DeVos-led (before her nomination) American Federation for Children (AFC), with Kathy serving on the board, to fund candidates to the tune of $1.3 million that were ready to impose voucher and charter school programs in the Hoosier state. In fact, Hubbard took a lead role in working with Governor Mitch Daniels and GOP establishment power brokers, including Jeb Bush, to do the behind-the-scenes crafting of Indiana’s 2011 voucher law that imposes Common Core testing — and therefore the standards — on Indiana’s private schools:
What had been years of informal talks quickly shifted to action—initially without state lawmakers’ involvement.
According to the emails, the group was led by Al Hubbard, a skilled fundraiser who once served as a top economic adviser to Bush, and Huston, now a state lawmaker. The group tasked Hubbard with reaching out to former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for model legislation. Bush’s group has had a hand in drafting education measures in other Republican-led states including Maine.
Hubbard pitched Daniels at a Pacers game that the timing was right, while Huston drew up a draft outline of legislation.
Legislative leaders weren’t brought in to the discussions until months later.
We have long described the problems and dangers of Indiana’s voucher law. Education Liberty Watch gave that program an “F” grade on our School Choice Freedom Grading Scale. And even the Bill Gates-funded, pro-voucher Center for Education Reform called Indiana “the second-worst in the country on infringing on private school autonomy” because of that and other onerous requirements in their 2014 report.
Hubbard’s Lumina Foundation that promotes higher education goals is supporting the concept of life-long data gathering on students. The American Principles Project and Education Liberty Watch have been especially vocal in their opposition to this federal surveillance of innocent American citizens.
The Hubbard withdrawal follows the withdrawal of the offer for the same deputy secretary position from New Mexico Education Commissioner Hanna Skandera because her strong support for Common Core was unacceptable to at least a dozen Republican Senate offices. Skandera served as assistant commissioner of education under Jeb Bush, is on the board of the Common Core aligned federal PARCC test and just announced her resignation for no apparent reason from the New Mexico job.
One can only wonder if Skandera is getting out ahead of some looming scandal as plagued former Indiana and Florida commissioner and Bush ally Tony Bennett. Bennett was voted out of office in Indiana because of his Common Core support and then resigned in disgrace from Florida after being found to have adjusted the school grade of an Indiana charter school owned by a major GOP donor.
We will reiterate our list of excellent potential choices for the deputy secretary job that will fight Common Core and federal overreach in education:
Dr. Stotsky is a professor emerita of the University of Arkansas, who has said, “I would serve only to develop and implement a long-range plan for dismantling the USED.” She served on the Common Core validation committee and refused to sign off on the English standards. The standards she wrote while serving as an assistant commissioner of education in Massachusetts helped that state go from the middle of the pack to leading the nation on the NAEP test.
Dr. Evers is a Hoover Institution education expert who has been vocal in his opposition to Common Core as far back as 2011, helping to organize this national anti-Common Core manifesto. He has experience writing standards, federal policy experience, and a great understanding of competitive federalism.
Dr. Luksik has taught for over 35 years, in both regular and special education at all levels from preschool to college. She has written and evaluated curriculum and trained teachers in how to teach curriculum and in classroom management. She was an adviser to the Reagan administration and served in USED where she reviewed and evaluated education reform initiatives. She has presented all over the nation on the problems with Common Core and understands what needs to be done to unravel it.
Dr. Arnn is the president of Hillsdale College, one of the very few colleges in the nation not to take federal funds in order to avoid federal regulation and strings. Hillsdale also requires all students to study the Constitution.
Dr. Jeynes is a University of California Long Beach education professor whose research has shown that if poor and minority children come from two-parent homes, have religious involvement, are taught to read with real phonics, and are supported with real parental involvement in their schools, the achievement gap is not just lessened, it is erased, something that $2 trillion and 50 years of federal power grabs in education have failed to do.
These developments are very encouraging for parents across the country hoping to see the Trump administration follow through on major campaign promises to fight Common Core and greatly decrease or eliminate the federal role in education. This is especially helpful to stop the implementation of the terrible Every Student Succeeds Act and the federal school choice plan that will inject Common Core into private and potentially home schools, as well as expand charter schools that already require teaching and testing to the Common Core standards. Let us congratulate, as well as continuing to work and raise our voices to, the administration and Congress so that these great trends continue.
Photo credit: IIP Photo Archive via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0