Are Trump and the GOP Finally Listening to Parents on Common Core?

March 24, 2017

by Karen R. Effrem, MD

It seems that all of the grassroots efforts to reach the Trump administration with Common Core-related concerns are finally starting to bear fruit. These concerns include Betsy DeVos’ pro-Common Core record, the disturbingly large number of Jeb Bush foundation employees and alumni staffing the U.S. Department of Education (USED), and the prominent decrease in the president’s discussion of Common Core since assuming office after he discussed it at nearly every campaign stop.

In news just released by Politico yesterday in their Morning Education update, it appears that pro-Common Core New Mexico Education Secretary Hannah Skandera has been rejected for the Deputy Secretary position precisely because she supports the standards:

SENATE GOP SCUTTLES SKANDERA NOMINATION: Wondering when those Education Department vacancies will be filled? Well, the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education may still be up for grabs after the Trump administration recently reversed plans to nominate New Mexico Education Secretary Hanna Skandera for the assistant secretary job, POLITICO has learned. The administration’s decision to pull back an offer came after Republicans raised concerns about Skandera’s support for the Common Core standards. The offer appears to have been extended before Hill Republicans were consulted.

“About a dozen Republican offices were skeptical that they could ever vote yes” on Skandera because of her embrace of the standards, said a senior GOP aide. Those English and math standards are reviled by conservatives as a symbol of federal overreach. Republicans also weren’t interested in another fight over an education nominee after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ bruising confirmation process. Skandera, who sits on the governing board for the Common Core-aligned PARCC test, declined to comment.

While it is too bad that Republican senators did not take more notice of Betsy DeVos’ support of Common Core and other problems of grave concern to parents, it is heartening that they and the White House are finally beginning to respond to all of the concerns that arose during her contentious nomination fight when she was opposed by activists, parents, and teachers from all points on the political spectrum.

Let us hope this means that the positions under Mrs. DeVos will be filled by genuine opponents of both the standards and the ever metastasizing role of the federal government in education. Here are several great candidates:

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.

Other encouraging signs that both the administration and Congress are starting to listen to grassroots parents include:

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Dr. Karen Effrem and her husband have three children. She is trained as a pediatrician and serves as national education issues chairman for Eagle Forum and president of Education Liberty Watch.

Archive: Karen R. Effrem, MD

5 comments on “Are Trump and the GOP Finally Listening to Parents on Common Core?”

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  • Patrick Carlin says:

    Yes, the nominees are excellent, especially Dr. Sandra Stotsky and Peg Luksik. Most positive I have felt about Education and our children since 2010!

  • Brian Polet says:

    I am from Michigan and very familiar with B. DeVos. While her track record with CC is very long and easily traceable, I don’t think she is an ideologue. Her promotion of CC in our state was more out of practical nature than a belief in the core assessments of CC. She manipulated CC as a way to bust unions and help the charter movement grow. Trump picking her was because she is a mover and a shaker, not because she believes in the CC mantra.

  • Adrian W. Metz says:


    I grew up and schooled under the New York State Regents exam standards.

    Common Core is NYS Regents on steroids.

    We were educated for 11 weeks per semester learning and then 9 weeks learning how to pass the “Regents”. There were books published on same teaching not math or English but rather how to pass the exam.

    It’s bad enough that liberal “indoctrinators” teach our students their one-sided agenda; it’s so much worse to imagine that a federal program can mandate the same.

    • jill nickerson says:

      I am 67 yrs old. New trends in education are not new. In the 50’s it was decided that phoenics was not the way to teach children reading and spelling and my older brother was unfortunate enough to be part of this experiment which luckily only last for two ye ars before the advocates realized what a blunder they had made. My brother had difficulty with reading and writing for the remainder of his schooling. Being two years younger with phoenics back in place, I excelled in this area. When I was in college and beginning my student teaching the new thing was the “open classroom”. This was a colossal failure and even I at that age could see the flaws. Shouldn’t real day to day teachers have the say in improving or advancing teaching techniques and not so called “educators” who are pushing an agenda that does not benefit the students and in fact causes great harm. My grandchildren are just starting school and common core is the basis of the curriculum. From what I have been told, the majority of teachers oppose it but if they voice their opposition their school and district will lose federal and state funding. When I visited them in California last year I saw my granddaughter’s Kindergarten home work – one part was for her to write 10 ways that we can make our planet green – Not only can a kid in kindergarten not write, but I would challenge a 5th grader to come up with 10 ways. I discussed this with my granddaughter and she on her own came up with a few things we could all do but not 10 and she certainly couldn’t write them. Don’t these people realize that the parents will have to do the homework or return it incomplete? Common Core is ridiculous and a frightening trend. I am moving to California and we are planning to home school to get away from this indoctrination!

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