Does Trump Even Understand the Problem with Common Core?

Donald Trump (photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)
Donald Trump (photo credit: Disney | ABC Television Group via Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0)

Donald Trump demonstrated again at Tuesday’s CNN town hall that he simply makes it up as he goes along. Asked to name the three top functions of the United States government, he replied: “The greatest function of all by far is security for our nation. I would also say health care, I would also say education. There are many, many things. But I would say the top three are security, security, security.”

We won’t go into his claim that health care is a proper function of the federal government, but his inclusion of education in the top three is, well, startling. For months, Trump has spoken against the Common Core national standards as an offense against local control over education, but skeptical observers have suspected he uses Common Core as a reliable applause line, not that he really understands the issue.

His statement last night would seem to confirm this suspicion. If he knew anything about Common Core, he would know the federal government has enforced it as a means of obliterating local control. If he knew anything about the anti-Common Core movement, he would know one of its main rallying cries is that the federal government has no constitutional role in education. If he knew anything about the Constitution, he would know that it leaves all authority over education to the states and to the people.

He apparently knows none of this. And although under further questioning he tried to resurrect his previous anti-Common Core rhetoric, the damage was done. Voters looking for a candidate who understands the Constitution and the problems with federal involvement in education should be alarmed that this man may end up in the White House.

Jane Robbins is an attorney and a senior fellow with the American Principles Project.