Mike Pence’s Relationship with Common Core? It’s Complicated.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

If your only knowledge of Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s stance on education policy comes from articles written in the past week, you can be forgiven for believing that the GOP vice presidential nominee is a staunch opponent of Common Core.

Education Week writes that Pence is “anti-Common Core” and that “Indiana, under Pence, was the very first state to ditch” the standards. Education World similarly reports that the Hoosier State “decided, under Pence’s authority, to scrap the standards and develop their own.” And The74Million.org echoes both, trumpeting Pence’s “anti-Common Core education legacy” and writing that “Pence signed a bill in 2014 making Indiana the first state to back out of the Common Core State Standards.”

There’s only one problem: Pence’s repeal of Common Core was really an illusion, designed to placate conservative activists while changing little to nothing.

National Review’s Stanley Kurtz helpfully documented the entire affair in 2014:

Pence did preside over Indiana’s withdrawal from Common Core, yet he quickly turned this triumph into a charade. Instead of returning to Indiana’s superb pre–Common Core standards, Pence stacked the replacement committees to ensure the return of Common Core. Indiana’s new standards are nothing but a slightly mangled and rebranded version of what they supposedly replace.

Common Core opponents are deeply disappointed by this outcome. The plucky Indiana mothers who ignited the national rebellion against Common Core are wondering why Governor Pence seems to have betrayed their trust.

So, in other words, Pence took credit for repealing Common Core in Indiana when in fact he merely replaced it with a rebranded version of the same standards — nay, standards that might be even worse:

Indiana native and Hillsdale College professor Terrence Moore, who reviewed the “new” English standards, concluded that if the proposal were turned into him as a college paper, he would give it an F and write “plagiarism” across the top.

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Picking Mike Pence Really Was a Grand Slam for Donald Trump

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence with his wife Karen Pence (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Mike Pence? Full disclosure: I served as head of the Super PAC seeking to draft Pence into the 2012 presidential race. Having long been persuaded of Pence’s superior leadership qualities, I’m even less objective than usual.

We called Pence “The Conservative Champion” and for good reason. Then, in 2012, Pence made the right decision: to run for governor of Indiana. That was an opportunity for distinguished public service. As it happened, it was also a perfect boot camp for the vice presidency.


One of the reasons that Pence showed himself extraordinary may have faded from general memory. It has not faded from mine. Nor has it been forgotten, or forgiven, by the left, who are now highlighting this, much to my delight. In 2010 Pence gave a major speech at the Detroit Economic Club. As the center-left ThinkProgress.org then reported:

The first item of Pence’s five-point for the economy is a “sound monetary policy.” Pence elaborated that he believes a return to the gold standard could create such a policy:

PENCE: Before I move on, I’d like to note, in the midst of all that’s happened recently — massive borrowing and spending, QE2 — a debate has started anew over an anchor to our global monetary system. My dear friend, the late Jack Kemp, probably would have urged me to adopt the gold standard, right here and now in Detroit. Robert Zoellick, the president of the World Bank, encouraged that we rethink the international currency system including the role of gold, and I agree.

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Three Things Donald Trump Needs in a Running Mate That Mike Pence Lacks

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump has ended the speculation. Indiana Governor Mike Pence will be Trump’s running mate. Trump’s choice of Pence was a safe, but unimaginative choice. Pence has the legislative and governing experience Trump lacks, but Pence lacks three essential ingredients that Trump needs.

It may not be possible to find a running mate who delivers all three and who is qualified to run, but Trump could have selected someone who could deliver at least one or two out of the three.

1. Diversity

Agree with it or not the Republican Party has been pegged as the party of old white men. This ticket unfortunately perpetuates that. Donald Trump at the top of the ticket has seriously undermined efforts to reach out to different voting blocs. His approval rating with blacks, Hispanics and women are abysmal. The right pick could have made some inroads.

I would be the first to say that a vice presidential pick should not be made based solely their demographics, but we shouldn’t ignore it either. There were prospects who are experienced who could have been on Trump’s list to choose from. Here are some names that come to mind:


Read the full article at The Daily Caller.

Shane Vander Hart is the online communications manager for American Principles Project, a frequent contributor to TruthInAmericanEducation.com, and the editor of Iowa-based CaffeinatedThoughts.com. Continue Reading

Is Mike Pence the Right VP Pick for Trump? Opinions Vary.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence with his wife Karen Pence (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

When reports began to trickle in yesterday that Indiana Governor Mike Pence would be chosen to be Donald Trump’s running mate, many conservative leaders rushed to give their stamp of approval.

“It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Mike Pence’s,” gushed Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. “We’re very good friends. I have a high regard for him. I hope that [Trump] picks a good movement conservative. Obviously, Mike is one of those.”

“Mike Pence is a pro-life trailblazer and Mr. Trump could not have made a better choice,” praised Marjorie Dannenfelser, a top pro-life leader, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, and contributor to The Pulse 2016.

Pro-abortion advocates immediately went on the attack, which is always an encouraging sign.

“Pence has supported, sponsored, and signed some of the country’s most extreme anti-abortion legislation in the past decade,” The Daily Beast, a left-wing outlet, reported.

“Mike Pence has led a crusade against abortion access and LGBT rights,” blared Mother Jones in an opposition research dump.

But some conservatives took issue with the pick.

The Weekly Standard writer Mark Hemingway still remembers Pence’s religious freedom disaster last year:

Recall that last year, Indiana passed a state religious freedom restoration act (RFRA), which was the state version of existing federal legislation that passed Congress and was signed into President Bill Clinton with overwhelming bipartisan support. (John McCormack has an explainer of the legislation here.) Though the Indiana law is not in conflict with other LGBT protections, it was decried as an act of bigotry.

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Who Should Trump Choose for VP? Our Writers Weigh In . . .

Donald Trump (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Of the candidates on Donald Trump’s reported VP shortlist, who would be his most advisable choice?

Ralph Benko

Mike Pence is just being Hoosier-in-Chief. The official state drink of Indiana is… water.

Only in Indiana. Milk too controversial apparently. That’s just how polite those Hoosiers are.

Not squishy. Polite!

Sweet Home Alabama! Their official state drink: Conecuh Ridge Alabama Fine Whiskey!

Hello, Sen. Sessions?

Deal W. Hudson

Trump’s VP pick should accomplish three things: first, assuage concerns about Trump’s lack of political experience; second, add a “steady hand” at the tiller in directing our nation through turbulent times; and, third, nail down the electoral votes of a key swing state. Newt Gingrich and Mike Pence satisfy the first two, though the former more so; but neither brings crucial electoral votes. General Michael Flynn adds nothing to the ticket except confusion. Gov. Chris Christie couldn’t carry his own state and makes the ticket New York/New Jersey. It doesn’t work on many levels. Thus, there is no likely choice who meets all three criteria. I hope there are some possible choices not on the short list.

Joshua Pinho

Of the three candidates for Trump’s VP, Newt Gingrich is the clear choice. Gingrich was one of Trump’s first key surrogates, at a time when few were willing to openly shill for Trump. Gingrich has spoken positively about Trump’s rise to political prominence and has encouraged his fellow Republicans to unite behind Trump. As VP, he could transition from surrogate/supporter to “attack dog,” a common role for a VP nominee. Continue Reading

Trump’s Leading VP Candidates Are Not Strong on Common Core and Fed Ed

Donald Trump is set to announce his vice-presidential choice sometime this week, before the Republican National Convention in Cleveland begins on Monday.

Despite occasional stumbles, such as identifying education as one of the core functions of the federal government and his dizzying policy switches, Trump has been relatively stable in opposing Common Core and claiming he wants to “make education local.” Although he has no record in public-education policy, he would be more likely than Hillary “It Takes a Village” Clinton to decrease the federal role in education.

But some of the major contenders for the VP slot do have public records — and those records are concerning. Here is a brief review of the commonly discussed names in order of the amount of media buzz they are receiving at The Pulse 2016, The Atlantic, and The Washington Post:

1.) Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

Gingrich served as Speaker while the Clintons, Marc Tucker, and others were laying the foundation for the “seamless web” of centralized education and workforce that undergirded No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and Common Core. (See the following diagram created by former congresswoman Michele Bachmann and Mike Chapman and distributed by Education Liberty Watch’s predecessor organization EdWatch.)

To his credit, before he became Speaker, Gingrich voted against Goals 2000, which implemented the mental health and preschool pieces of the FedEd puzzle, and School to Work. These bills implemented Marc Tucker’s infamous vision explained in his letter to Hillary Clinton in 1992. Continue Reading

Who Will Be Trump’s VP? Here Are His Five Most Likely Choices

With the GOP convention less than two weeks away, the media is buzzing with news and rumors about who Donald Trump may pick to be his running mate.

Dozens of names have been mentioned, from sitting governors and members of Congress to retired politicians and even political outsiders. Cutting through some of the speculation, however, here are Trump’s five most likely options.

Newt Gingrich

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Gingrich, who served as Speaker of the House from 1995 to 1999, is well-known in conservative circles for his nearly encyclopedic knowledge of political history. Though he has, at times, been criticized as too ambitious, Gingrich is seen by many as a strong, principled conservative with elder statesman status in the party.

His time in the House and on the campaign trail in 2012 would bring an element of experience sorely missing from the Trump campaign. Writing for Time, David Lane argued that “Selecting Gingrich as Veep would send a message worldwide—that Trump is bringing ‘adults’ to the table with the intention to make America great again.”

In many ways, Gingrich’s “Republican revolution” in the ‘90s resembled Trump’s program, albeit in a more refined form. Gingrich, like Trump, was interested more in winning over discontented Democrats than in strict observance of conservative orthodoxies.

In a column this week, Jonah Goldberg argued that “Gingrich could complement Trump; he could be like the walking explanatory footnote to Trump’s every outburst.” Gingrich could provide a rhetorical defense of Trump’s platform and statements, thus elevating the tone of the campaign in some sense. Continue Reading

Campaign Leak: Did a Cruz-Rubio Ticket Nearly Happen?

From left: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)

It’s a time-honored tradition. Candidate runs for president. Candidate loses. Candidate’s campaign staff blames everyone and everything in an anonymous tell-all piece to the media. It happens every cycle — should’a, would’a, could’a.

But this piece at CNN is still worth a read. Apparently there was a real push to put Marco Rubio on Ted Cruz’s ticket prior to the March 15th primary in Florida. Jake Tapper reports at CNN:

Top officials of the Cruz campaign are convinced there is one specific step that could have stopped Trump — and they blame Sen. Marco Rubio for not taking that step.

In early March, it became clear that Trump was well on his way to the nomination and would even likely defeat Rubio in his home state of Florida’s March 15 primary. According to several sources close to Cruz, the Cruz campaign conducted several secret polls to see what the impact would be if Rubio joined Cruz as his running mate, with Cruz at the top of the ticket.

The Cruz campaign polled in three March 15 primary states, Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina — though not in Ohio, home to Kasich, or in Florida.

They also tested the matchup in a poll in Arizona, which would hold its contest on March 22, and in Wisconsin, which would hold its primary on April 5.

What did polls suggest a Cruz-Rubio ticket would do in those states?

“Blowout,” said a source close to Cruz.

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Could Marco Rubio Be Trump’s VP?

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

Ted Cruz’s announcement last week of his pick for Vice President, Carly Fiorina, in conjunction with Trump’s likely win in Indiana this evening, will undoubtedly spur new talk of potential VP picks for Donald Trump. Enter Marco Rubio, who has already been mentioned by Trump confidante Roger Stone as a potential pick for Trump’s VP.

Rubio would be a great water-under-the-bridge candidate for Trump in terms of uniting his coalition with the GOP establishment. Trump himself has gone on record saying that he wants a VP with political experience in order to help him push his agenda in congress:

“I do want somebody that’s political, because I want to get lots of great legislation we all want passed,” Trump said Wednesday in a Q&A at Regent University. “We’re going to probably choose somebody that’s somewhat political.”

A potential hurdle to a VP nod from Trump is the fact that the negative campaigning between Rubio and Trump did get particularly dirty, especially when Rubio brought up Trump’s small hands and “what they say about guys with small hands.” However, Trump has shown that he’s able to smooth things over with his former rivals. Back in November, Trump said of his then-rival Ben Carson:

“It’s in the book that he’s got a pathological temper,” he said. “That’s a big problem because you don’t cure that … as an example: child molesting. You don’t cure these people. You don’t cure a child molester. There’s no cure for it.

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