Clinton Calls Common Core “Laudable Effort,” Repeats False Talking Points

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Hillary Clinton has once again sounded off on Common Core, and this time, we don’t need any leaked emails to determine where she stands.

Last week, The Washington Post published a bevy of detailed answers provided by the Clinton campaign in response to a number of education policy-related questions. One question concerned the Democratic nominee’s stance on Common Core:

The Common Core State Standards is not a federal program, but the Obama administration and a bipartisan group of governors have backed its development and implementation in numerous states. Do you support the Common Core initiative? Please explain why or why not. What should the federal role be in relation to Common Core?

The question itself betrays a flawed understanding of Common Core by WaPo, given that the standards — while not technically developed by the federal government — would likely not have been implemented in most states at all without the coercive methods used by the Obama administration. And calling the National Governors Association a “bipartisan group of governors” is also highly misleading — the NGA is a private trade group operating largely independent of any oversight and which has taken tens of millions of dollars from the Gates Foundation in recent years.

But leaving those issues aside for now, let’s take a look at the first paragraph of Clinton’s response:

For many years – going back to my work to improve education in Arkansas – I’ve believed that states should voluntarily adopt a set of rigorous academic standards. 

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Obama Administration Wants to Kiss Your Local Schools Goodbye

President Barack Obama visits a pre-kindergarten classroom in Georgia (photo credit: The White House via Flickr)

If the Obama administration and its supporters have their way, the suburban neighborhood school could be headed for extinction. In a veritable symphony of bureaucratic coordination, the administration has figured out how to recruit three cabinet departments, liberal non-profits, and deep-pocketed foundations to this effort. It can be tough even to follow the sophisticated strategy for accomplishing this (and the president prefers it that way), but if we value our liberty, it’s worth a bit of effort to understand this scheme.

The administration is maneuvering to replace local control in education (and in other areas) with school systems that extend across entire metropolitan regions. This effort is bolstered by advocacy groups promoting “economic integration” to force suburban jurisdictions to either admit low-income students from outside their districts or redistribute the tax money that supports their schools to less affluent nearby districts. Lurking behind this plan—as with practically every nationwide education policy—is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The pincer created by Obama’s coercion from coordinated federal agencies on the one hand and Gates’s advocacy of supposedly social-justice taxing and redistribution on the other could squeeze the life out of the suburbs and suburban schools.

We Don’t Like Your Neighborhood

First, let’s have a look at the Obama coercion scheme. This ambitious plan is bound up with a new rule from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) called the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule.

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Why Did These 12 States Betray Their Own Sovereignty?

Most of us are familiar with Stockholm syndrome, a psychological condition in which hostages develop feelings of solidarity with their captors and negative feelings toward others, such as the police, who are trying to liberate them. Apparently Stockholm syndrome can grip not only individuals but also entire states, or at least their leadership.

A case in point is the amicus brief filed by 12 states and the District of Columbia to argue that they and all other states should be subject to the Obama administration’s unlawful transgender mandate. Shortly after the administration decreed that students of either sex be allowed free access to restrooms, locker rooms, overnight accommodations, and probably sports teams reserved for the other sex, Texas and 10 other states sued for an injunction against implementation of the decree. Buzzfeed reports that in a brief filed in that case, Washington state and 11 others are saying, “Not so fast! We like being dictated to by the feds! And you should too!”

Speaking on behalf of the other hostage states (California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Vermont), Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson was quoted as saying, “Anyone whose civil rights are threatened need (sic) to have attorneys general standing up for them (sic).” Note that four of these states — Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New Mexico — have Republican governors who, if they disapprove of this action of their attorneys general, have managed to keep their objections under wraps. Continue Reading

Local and State Officials “Just Say No” to the Department of Education

Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building in Washington, DC (photo credit: IIP Photo Archive via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)

Piercing the gloom of the current educational and political landscape are a few glimmers of hope. One promising development is that some state and local education officials are now openly discussing what previously was never uttered aloud for fear of being struck down by the gods of lucre – the possibility of relinquishing federal funding to regain autonomy over education.

An early sign of light appeared in response to the unlawful decree issued by the U.S. Department of Education (USED) concerning transgender students. After USED threatened public schools if they didn’t open up all restrooms, locker rooms, sleeping quarters, and probably sports teams to both sexes, three school board members (Brian Halladay, Wendy Hart, and Paula Hill) in Utah’s Alpine School District sent a letter to state leaders objecting to a “level of federal overreach [that] is as unprecedented as it is unconstitutional.”

These board members downplayed USED’s probably bogus threats of funding loss but declared that even if the federal dictators followed through, such bullying could have a silver lining — an “ideal opportunity to declare Utah’s sovereignty, and to allow our children to be free from the tyrannical mandates of our federal government.” The board members went on to argue that student safety and privacy should trump any funding concerns, especially when just 8 percent of the district’s budget comes from federal funds.

These members pursued the subject at the next board meeting.

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Progressive Ideology, Meet Parents. Parents, Meet Federalism.

Photo credit: Intel Free Press via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

A significant introduction has been made, but there’s one more that needs to happen.

While a new Quinnipac poll is showing that Americans are still evenly divided over whether a person’s biological sex should determine which public bathroom they use, the majority of residents in key swing states—Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—are opposed to the White House’s mandate requiring public schools to allow transgender students into the bathrooms and locker rooms that “correspond to their gender identity.”

This mandate, though similar to the executive bureaucracy’s attempt to seize control of education by imposing national Common Core standards and testing, is an even more fundamental subversion of parents’ role in educating their children. It’s no wonder there is such a difference in pushback between gender-neutral facilities in public spaces and gender-neutral bathrooms and locker rooms in schools:

  • In Florida, while 48 percent of voters support allowing transgender people to use the public facilities they choose, 54 percent of voters say they would oppose any rule requiring public schools to enforce such a mandate.
  • Opinions in Ohio over public facilities were split 43 percent supporting to 48 percent opposing, but opposition to a mandate for public schools was at 55 percent in Ohio versus 36 percent in favor.
  • In Pennsylvania, the bathroom debate was split with 49 percent supporting allowing transgender people to use the facilities opposite of their gender and 43 opposing, but yet again, the majority opposed a mandate for schools: 53 percent opposed mandating public schools to allow transgender students access to bathrooms not in accord with their biological sex, versus 39 percent supporting.
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