Liberal Comedian Mocks Standardized Testing, Common Core

Slowly, but ever so surely, those in the media are realizing that criticism of No Child Left Behind and the national Common Core system is not limited to the far right and the far left. It is a mainstream movement driven by parents, teachers, and other concerned citizens.

Last weekend, on his HBO show Last Week Tonight, John Oliver spent eighteen minutes taking on standardized testing.  You can view the full video below (warning: NSFW language):

Oliver pointed out President Obama’s contradictions on standardized testing.  When he had his eye on the Democratic nomination, then Senator Obama was quick on the draw to criticize standardized testing:

Don’t tell us that the only way to teach a child is to spend too much of a year preparing him to fill out a few bubbles on a standardized test. We know that’s not true!

Sen. Barack Obama, 2007 in a speech to the National Education Association.

Yet, as Oliver noted, upon becoming President, Obama “didn’t get rid of tests. Instead, he added his own education initiatives like Race to the Top, which encouraged states to adopt the Common Core.”

Oliver tackled how Common Core and standardized testing are unfair to teachers and bad for students, and how American children have actually lost ground on international education metrics since the enactment of No Child Left Behind.  And he noted that waves of children are boycotting the tests.

He could have delved a bit more into the “why.”

Professor of Education Christopher Tienken makes the case here Continue Reading

Will GOP Candidates Oppose the Bill That Gave Us Common Core?

President George W. Bush signs into law the No Child Left Behind Act in 2002 (public domain image)

Clearly, federal education policy is a presidential election issue.  As the candidates make their pitches to citizens in the coming months, we’ll see where they stand on the particulars.  But we already have a sense as to where things are headed.

This past weekend, Mike Huckabee appeared at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition Summit, and came out strongly in favor of ending the Department of Education, stating:

Do you think they honestly can make a better decision about what happens in the classrooms in your community than the people who were elected as your local school board can? Ultimately the best decisions on education and the most important ones are made by mom and dad, so we ought to empower mothers and fathers to make decisions. But we certainly shouldn’t give the government the power to do it at the federal level. We should end the Department of Education at the federal level.

With his comments, Huckabee joins Senators Paul, Cruz, and Rubio in advocating for the closure of the Department of Education.

Even Jeb Bush has walked back his support for a federal role in education.  While speaking to a crowd in New Hampshire, Bush stated:

Here’s what we don’t need: we don’t need the federal government involved in this at all. We don’t need—Lamar Alexander and his counterpart actually, a Democrat, have just passed out of committee the reauthorization of the K-12 law, and in that provision, with my total support and encouragement, they have provisions that say that the federal government should not be involved indirectly or directly in the creation of standards, of curriculum, and of content.

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Jeb Bush Writes Op-Ed Supporting Common Core

On March 6, the Washington Post published an op-ed penned by former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. In the op-ed, Bush implicitly reaffirmed his support for the Common Core despite the growing, bi-partisan opposition to the standards. Bush also argued for a limited federal role in elementary and secondary education, while simultaneously advocating for the re-authorization of federal education programs:

The federal government’s role in elementary and secondary education should be limited: It should work to create transparency so that parents can see how their local schools measure up; it should support policies that have a proven record; and it should make sure states can’t ignore students who need extra help. That’s it.

The reauthorization process can define and clarify this role. Where the federal government maintains the power of the purse — as it does with Title I programs aimed at supporting students from disadvantaged backgrounds — Congress should direct it to let states use that funding in a flexible manner to meet the goal of the programs. For example, states should have the right to decide whether Title I funding should be used to create education savings accounts that parents can use to send their kids to the schools that best meet their needs.


Most critically, we can use the reauthorization process to keep states and local districts in control of making vital decisions about standards, curriculum and academic content. States should also actively protect the privacy of student data; some states, such as Oklahoma, have already found the right solutions to that problem.

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