Carly Fiorina’s Common Core Problem

September 28, 2015

by Brad McQueen


Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Craig Barrett, Arizona’s chief Common Core pusher and Chairman of Achieve Inc., the architect of the Common Core standards, hosted an exclusive private fundraiser for Carly Fiorina near Phoenix on September 10, according to the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) Briefs.

Barrett is the former CEO of Intel and Arizona’s poorer version of fellow Common Core pusher Bill Gates. He routinely supports candidates who, once in office, go on to advocate for his position of supporting Common Core and the suctioning of our kids’ data to his buddies at the Chamber of Commerce.

Craig Barrett would NOT support a candidate in Arizona or nationally who is truly against Common Core in their actions, much less hold a private fundraiser for them.

It’s not just the private fundraiser that is troubling.  In addition to education, Carly Fiorina has a history of advocating for policies that mandate a strong federal role only to change her position when it’s no longer politically beneficial for her.

Ten years before becoming CEO at Hewlett-Packard (HP), Fiorina wrote a masters thesis pushing for a greater involvement of the federal government in shaping our education system.  Her thesis acknowledged that, “The Department of Education, under both Reagan and Bush, has shied away from standards development, fearing a political outcry against the usurpation of states’ authority.”

But, Fiorina posited, the federal government at its best could use its control of education dollars to “encourage state and local (education) organizations to reform their operations” and use its leadership role “for textbook adoption and teacher certification procedures.”

Fiorina also recommended that the federal government play a bigger role in the “development and dissemination of recommended standards” and “curriculum guidelines” for consideration by local school districts.

Common Core’s central command has adopted many of Fiorina’s recommendations.

In 2004, CEOs Craig Barrett and Carly Fiorina advocated before the U.S. Congress for more federal government intervention in education reform to shape their future workers.  Ironically, the two CEOs would also go on to advocate for increasing the amount of foreign workers that U.S. companies could hire to replace American workers using H-1B visas.

Additionally, during her 2010 run for the U.S. Senate in California, Fiorina put out her position paper on education praising and supporting Obama’s Race To The Top (RTTT) program which tied federal funding to the adoption of what would later be called “Common Core,” including federally driven learning standards, tests, teacher evaluations, and NSA-like data suctioning systems which are all in place now.

GOP candidates wishing to gain the conservative vote by professing to be against Common Core, after being on record as being in favor of the now politically toxic program, use the tactic of saying that Common Core started out as a good idea but was “hijacked” by special interests, the federal government, or both.

Presidential candidates and current Governors Bobby Jindal, Chris Christie, and Scott Walker have all tried unsuccessfully to distance themselves from their former support of Common Core by employing various versions of this tactic.

Is Carly Fiorina following this same model?

In response to accusations that she supported Obama’s RTTT/Common Core program in 2010, her presidential campaign now says:

At the time that Race to the Top was proposed in 2009 and when Carly supported it in 2010, it was a funding program based on real performance metrics and opposed by the teachers’ unions. But like so many other government programs with worthy goals backed by flowery speeches, it hasn’t turned out to be what we were promised. Instead, Race to the Top is just the latest example of the federal bureaucracy caving to the powerful interests…

I’m calling BS on Carly Fiorina.

The Obama administration’s original 2009 RTTT/Common Core program announcement clearly reads like a blueprint for the federal takeover of education away from the states while digitally tracking every kid in our country from kindergarten to college.

It ought to have been very clear that the feds would be holding federal money hostage until states adopted Common Core’s federally driven and created education reforms and “changed laws” to make its adoption possible. Read it and come to your own conclusions.

In May 2009, then-Alaska Governor Sarah Palin came to her own conclusions about the Obama administration’s Common Core program and decided not to adopt it, foregoing the federal dollars held hostage to it and keeping Alaska’s control over its education system intact. Governor Rick Perry of Texas, as well as the conservative governors of Virginia and Nebraska, followed suit.

Finally, according to Carly For America news, Fiorina brought on former Arizona gubernatorial candidate, and former Mayor of Mesa, Ariz., Scott Smith to her campaign as Arizona’s state co-chair.  Scott Smith had the dubious distinction of being the only GOP candidate in the last governor’s race to openly support Common Core. His campaign crashed and burned.

When wealthy, influential donors make contributions to a campaign, much less hold private fundraisers at their homes, they own stock in their ‘”investment.” Add to this Fiorina’s history of praise and support for federal intrusion into education before reversing and taking the polar opposite position when it was politically beneficial, and we need to draw our own conclusions.

Anti-Common Core warriors are all too familiar with the deceptive wordsmithing used by those pushing Common Core as a “state-led rigorous set of standards and tests” along with data gathering systems used to “inform teaching” to prepare our country’s kids to be “college and career ready” with the goal of making us “internationally competitive.”

We’ve grown accustomed to seeing through the rhetoric, and we’re not buying it.

Brad McQueen is a public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona and the author of the bestselling anti-Common Core book The Cult of Common Core.


Brad McQueen is a public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona and the author of the bestselling anti-Common Core book The Cult of Common Core.

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