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