WikiLeaks emails reveal that Hillary Clinton is either as ignorant of, or as deceptive about, the Common Core scheme as most politicians are. Susan Berry of Breitbart News reports that in July 2014, the creepy, mind-mapping project Knewton, Inc., paid Clinton $225,500 to spout nonsense about Common Core. Imagine what the going rate must be for the truth.
Clinton first repeated the usual claim that the standards were “negotiated by a bipartisan group of governors” (But could she even name one of these governors?). The problem, in her account, was that this imaginary group of governors “had no real agreed-upon program for explaining it and selling it to people . . . .” She especially identified as misguided the decision to evaluate teachers based on Common Core test results “when everybody knew it was going to be complicated to implement” (And whose idea was that? Perhaps Arne Duncan, her co-conspirator in the Obama administration?).
So Clinton claimed the problem with the national standards isn’t that they replace genuine education with workforce training, or that they gut classic literature, or that they focus on “empty skills” rather than academic content, or that they confuse young children with “alternative math” rather than establishing the foundation of standard algorithms, or that they delay Algebra I until high school, or that they stop with an incomplete Algebra II course, or that they fail to prepare students for further STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) studies, or that they were created by unknown, unaccountable, unqualified people with no input from parents and other citizens, or that they’re part of an ominous system of student data-collection and governmental data-sharing, or that they were pushed onto the states through federal bribery, or that they make a mockery of the Constitution — no, the problem is that implementation was poorly planned.
Clinton’s adoption of the socialism argument (“There’s nothing wrong with socialism — it’s just never been implemented properly!”) was apparently built on disdain both for conservative constitutionalist citizens and for the governance structure of American education. She claimed the imaginary governors’ failure to map out Common Core implementation left the scheme open to challenge by “people who don’t think anybody should be told anything about what to study, even if it’s the multiplication tables. You know, that that should all be left to local control.”
Her sneering reference, of course, was to the people who are so stupid they won’t know to teach the multiplication tables unless someone tells them to — people who obviously should never be given local control. Surely Washington and Madison didn’t intend to go that far.
Then Clinton turned to the American system of K-12 governance that makes it so darn hard for the luminaries in the federal government, like Hillary Clinton for example, to impose their will on education policy. “Unless you’re a governor [imaginary or real?] or maybe a mayor who has authority over your schools, there’s not really very much that most politicians can do because of the way our system of education is governed. Obviously, local school boards, colleges and universities, they have separate governance. And we don’t want politicians interfering too much in the independence of the governance of education.”
That last sentence could be read as an affirmation of educational independence. On the other hand, given the general tenor of her remarks, it could be read as a sarcastic critique of the local control she had just ridiculed. You make the call.
So Clinton made a cool quarter of a million for a fantasy version of Common Core. She didn’t even have to prepare much for this speech — simply review the standard talking points from the floundering Common Core proponents, have Huma transcribe them during a break in the FBI interviews, and then toss in the visceral revulsion for ignorant, Constitution-spouting rubes that comes so naturally to all elite leftists. Easy money, and lots of it. Is this a great country or what?
Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project.