Can Rubio Be Trusted on Common Core?

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Breitbart’s Dr. Susan Berry has rightly raised the alarm about Sen. Marco Rubio’s presidential candidacy.  His statements and actions on education invite concern and doubt.

Rubio speaks about America having to prepare children for the “global economy” and thereby parrots Common Core talking points.  He talks about the wonders of vocational education without really saying what he means by that.  He ambiguously declares, “There is no reason for the federal government to be involved in K-12 education through Common Core.”

Does Rubio recognize the qualitative defects in the Common Core?  In particular, when he speaks about vocational education, is he referencing an authentic education that expands students’ horizons, that prepares them for jobs while also preparing them, if they should choose to pursue it, for authentic university studies?  Or does Rubio mean a dumbed-down Common Core-based curriculum that locks children into an inferior education?

And what does Rubio intend by his reference federal involvement in Common Core?  What systemic changes does he propose to prevent another federally induced education train wreck?  What specifically will he do to make it clear to states and localities that they are free to jettison Common Core and adopt their own standards?  Does Rubio favor lifting the federal testing and standards requirements?

We’ve previously written that Rubio is fence sitting on the Common Core.  His latest statements cause more concern.  On top of that, as Dr. Berry writes:

Recently, however, Rubio received the endorsement of billionaire Paul Singer, a supporter of Common Core and a donor, through his foundation, to Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education, a pro-Common Core nonprofit.

Normally one would not scrutinize a candidate’s donors, but Rubio’s policy vagueness invites such scrutiny.  Rubio has the makings of an establishment candidate—someone who throws out guarded applause lines during the nomination process but, once in office, sidles back up to elitists.

Emmett McGroarty is the executive director of APP Education.