Florida Elects Anti-Common Core Governor

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Congressman Ron DeSantis (R-FL) defeated Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in Florida’s Gubernatorial Race last night by a slim margin: 49.7 percent to 49.1 percent. 

He has criticized Common Core while campaigning for Governor. He tweeted this out in August:

Prior to the Florida primary, Karen Effrem made the following observations about DeSantis here at Truth in American Education:

This is a welcome change from Governor Rick Scott provided he follows through. 

Education Policy: Where the Florida Gubernatorial Primary Candidates Stand

These guides are NOT endorsements, but layout and rate the Common Core, federal education, preschool and related issues records of the Republican and Democrat candidates for governor of Florida, listed as officially qualified by the Florida Department of State to be on the ballot for the 2018 election, based on reviews of the candidates’ statements on their websites, in the media, at debates, polling data, endorsements, and voting records where available. PDF versions of these tables are available for the Democrats and the Republicans. The Florida Primary will be held on Tuesday, August 28.

Democrat Primary:

Mayor Andrew Gillum

  • Expanded/Supported Federal Intrusion in Education: N/A
  • Supports Common Core: Not mentioned – His supporters oppose CCSS 40%-27%.
  • Opposes High Stakes Testing: Yes
  • Supports Expanded Pre-K: Yes, he wants an expansion of pre-K despite overall research of ineffectiveness and harm.

Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham

Businessman Jeff Greene

  • Expanded/Supported Federal Intrusion in Education: N/A
  • Supports Common Core: Not mentioned, but his supporters oppose CCSS 46%-33%.
  • Opposes High Stakes Testing: Yes
  • Supports Expanded Pre-K: Yes, he wants two years “mandatory preschool” despite overall research of ineffectiveness and harm.

Former Mayor Phil Levine

  • Expanded/Supported Federal Intrusion in Education: N/A
  • Supports Common Core: Not mentioned, there is no CCSS polling data available.
  • Opposes High Stakes Testing: Yes
  • Supports Expanded Pre-K: Yes, he wants an expansion of pre-K despite overall research of ineffectiveness and harm.

Alex “Lundy” Lundmark

Chris King and Jon Wetherbee had little to no information on their views and plans for these pre-K through 12 education issues and received grades of “Incomplete.”

Republican Primary

Congressman Ron DeSantis

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam

Businessman and Activist Bob White

  • Opposes Federal Intrusion in Education: Yes, he clearly understands the lack of constitutionality of the federal role in education and cost to states.
  • Opposes Common Core: Yes, and has led many grassroots efforts against Common Core throughout the state and at the legislature.
  • Opposes Expansion of Government Pre-K: Not discussed.
  • Pro-Common Core Endorsement or Rating: No
  • Anti-Common Core Endorsement or Rating: Former Congressman Ron Paul.

The remaining qualified Republican candidates  Don Baldauf, Timothy DeVine, Bob Langford, John Mercadante, and Bruce Nathan either do not have campaign websites, have no record, or discuss pre-K through 12 education issues minimally, if at all. These five candidates received grades of “Incomplete.”

Where Do Michigan GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Stand on Common Core?

From left: Dr. Jim Hines, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Attorney General Bill Schuette, and State Sen. Patrick Colebeck

The Michigan Republican Primary is on August 7, where do the candidates stand on Common Core?

Here is a quick snapshot.

Jim Hines

Hines is a surgeon and is one of the lesser-known candidates running for the Republican nomination for Governor in Michigan. He recently discussed Common Core during for a story in The Detroit News.

They report:

But Hines’ primary issue is education, with a focus on school choice, local control, better reading skills and a back-to-the-basics curriculum that scraps common core. He also wants to see better training for skilled trades, such as the training offered to inmates through the Michigan Department of Correction’s Vocational Village program.

“I believe that the foundational issue is probably education,” Hines said. “Once that’s where it should be, then we’ll see jobs improving, wages going up and a lot of other changes.”

On his website, he says, “The goal is for children to learn a body of knowledge, not for programmed responses to be elicited by a test.”

He wrote a post on Common Core on his campaign’s blog:

I’ve been asking my patients who are teachers what they think of the K-12 Common Core State Standards. This system for education seeks to establish what is believed to be “the core” that everyone should know.

This plan, driven by policy-makers, attempts to set the same standards across all the states.

In response to my questions, a majority of my teachers have expressed their opposition to Common Core. They are concerned that teachers feel pressured to teach to the test so kids will do well. This allows teachers to meet government goals, but does not ensure the students are genuinely learning.

I believe we need to let teachers teach a curriculum that has been approved by the parents not just what a test calls for. The tests should accurately assess the learned content, not govern what is being taught. The goal is for children to learn a body of knowledge, not for programmed responses to be elicited by a test.

Their focus should be on developing minds, not just trying to meet a certain expectation. Education should not be seeking to produce cookie cutter kids.

Read the rest.

Brian Calley

Calley is the current Lt. Governor of the state. He makes no mention of Common Core in his education agenda, in fact he pushes the same workforce development model we have seen with so many candidates, Governors, and education reformers. On the homepage of his website, the campaign states, “Brian supports the repeal of Common Core in favor of a more flexible, locally-controlled educational system.”

Governor Rick Snyder is a proponent of Common Core, but Calley was silent on the subject for years, and has advocated for education policies promoted by the Common Core cabal. He was challenged back in 2014 during the Michigan Republican State Convention for the Lt. Governor nomination by a anti-Common Core opponent. At the convention Congressman Justin Amash said Calley would push back against it.

One issue where there seemed to be a division was over the issue of the Common Core education standards, which Snyder supports. U.S. Rep. Justin Amash, R-Kentwood, told the crowd that Calley would push back against the policy.

It would have great to see him oppose it prior to being challenged in 2014 and before running for Governor.

Bill Schuette

Schuette, who is the current Attorney General of the state, says he supports local control on his website, but his education platform does not scream that to me. His primary concern is improving literacy in the state, and he promises his plan will “give school leaders more flexibility in how they use funding, so they can prioritize reading initiatives that are the best fit for the situations inside their individual schools.”

He did promise to end Common Core when he launched his campaign, but there is no mention on his website. He also dicussed his opposition to Common Core in an interview with WBCK Radio.

Patrick Colebeck

State Senator Colebeck has also been a vocal opponent of Common Core. He introduced a repeal and replace bill, but his actions since have grassroots activists scratching their heads.

Karen Braun at Stop Common Core in Michigan wrote:

Senator Patrick Colbeck is running for Governor.  He has been consistent in his assertion that he opposes Common Core but his actions are confusing.  He is the sponsor of the weak Senate bill to repeal Common Core that allows politicians bragging rights but provides no substantive change in the classroom.   He supports the “revised”social studies standards that are predicated on Common Core and build upon them.  He supports a digital credential in STEM which is also built around the Common Core and common next generation science standards.  He supported the so called, data Pupil Privacy bills, which do not protect student data built around the data codes in Common Core and other national standards.    But now that it is election time, Colbeck continues to assert his opposition to Common Core.  Clearly he realizes, Common Core is not dead.

Braun discussed his involvement in the recent STEM bill here.

As a member of the Senate Education Commitee, Colbeck is one of the “engineers” of the STEM bill which credentials students for career pathways and helps build the P-20 competency-based education system.   The problem is that most people don’t know the components of a P-20 system.  P-20 is a new national invention supported the Governor desperate to ‘re-invent’ our education system from prenatal to career.   So when most people read the bill they only see “lines and angles” unless the engineer explains to them what his design will create.  Colbeck is unwilling or unable to do that.


Just a note: I’m providing this as a guide, it is not even remotely exhaustive, and I encourage any Michigan voter reading this to do their own research and get out to meet the candidates. Also, this is not meant to be an endorsement of any candidate.

New Mexico House Candidate Promotes Parental Opt-Out of PARCC

Dr. Lisa Shin

I read an op/ed by a state legislative candidate that I found refreshing. Lisa Shin who is running for the New Mexico House of Representatives in House District 43 said that parents should have a say whether their child takes PARCC. Shin is running unopposed in the Republican Primary that is being held today in an open seat that was previously held by State Representative Stephanie Richard, a Democrat who is running for public lands commissioner.

She writes:

PARCC testing has not improved the educational system for New Mexico as a whole. One thing for certain, the PARCC rebellion reflects the need for local control over education. Each community has vastly different needs and priorities. A responsive, accountable, and accessible school board and superintendent seeks input from teachers, parents, and students, to determine the best ways to assess and improve academic proficiency. What works in Los Alamos, doesn’t work in Cuba or Silver City.

Sen. Morales decries huge corporations that profit millions from PARCC, but it is the bad fruit from the tree of corruption and cronyism. Common Core is “infested with essentially the same set of people rewarding each other with taxpayer dollars and huge private grants, decades before there can be any proof that all this money laundering produced a genuine public good. Common Core is a giant experiment, remember.” When in doubt, follow the money.

In the end, parents have the final say, and should exercise their right to opt-out, if they so choose. Districts that tell parents they cannot do so, in Sen. Morales’ words, violate “a parent’s right to choose what is best for their children and it is unacceptable. Our children must not be used as leverage in a misguided national trend of high-stakes testing in public education.”

I am happy to see a candidate write about this. She is a rare candidate to do so.

South Dakota Gubernatorial Candidates Weigh-In on K-12 Education

(From Left) Democrat Billie Sutton and Republicans Kristi Noem and Marty Jackley

The Rapid City Journal asked the three leading candidates in South Dakota’s gubernatorial race about education. The candidates are State Senate Minority Leader Billie Sutton (D-Burke), Congresswoman Kristi Noem (R-SD), and South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley who is a Republican.  I wanted to highlight a couple of the topics that are of interest here: Career and Technical Education (CTE) and Universal Pre-School. After that, I take a look at what the candidates tout on their websites about K-12 education.

Career and Technical Education

All three candidates were supportive of CTE. Jackley focused on post-high school, but Noem and Jackley addressed what happens before college:

Both Noem and Sutton responded by emphasizing what happens prior to college.

“I think we try to connect students who have an affinity for technical trades at a younger age to apprenticeships and training,” Noem said.

Sutton pointed to a bill he introduced last session to create a grant funding schools that share technical education resources, such as a mobile lab for engineering or manufacturing classes for high school students in Gregory County.

“Sioux Falls has a CTE high school, and that’s great,” Sutton said, “but our rural communities don’t have the resources to do it on their own.”

Universal Pre-School

South Dakota currently does not fund pre-school, and we’ve noted that education reformers pushed early childhood education.

Said Sutton, “There’s just a lot of kids in South Dakota who don’t have access to Early Childhood Education,” repeating a common pledge to provide a pathway for publicly funded preschool.

“Last session I introduced a bill just to study the impact of pre-K because so often we hear fellow legislators dismissing all these studies that suggest it’s a great return-on-investment,” he said. “But even that was killed in committee.”

Noem agreed of the importance of educating children prior to kindergarten. Yet, the state’s budget doesn’t have a “lot of extra money” rolling around.

“We need to go in with our eyes wide open,” she said.

She also suggested a bigger philosophical question at play.

“We should not have the government doing the job that parents and families should be doing.”

In an education initiative released Friday morning, Jackley called for expanding ECE to “under-resourced communities.” On the phone, he also framed the question in personal terms, saying he and his wife chose to have their children benefit from preschool.

“There’s no disputing that early childhood education is critical to brain and social development.”

But he also noted that as a low-tax conservative, he would work with the legislature to prioritize education funding while “remaining fiscally responsible.”

Noem’s comment that it is the parents’, not the government’s job to provide early childhood education is spot on.

What they promote:

I was curious what the candidates promoted on their campaign websites.

Billie Sutton:

Sutton’s website addressed CTE in K-12 education:

One of the most important elements of economic and workforce development is education. It is through carefully designed educational experiences that students find their fit in the workforce. Our high schools offer great opportunities to present career and technical exploration earlier, and the need is especially strong in rural South Dakota. In Billie’s hometown of Burke, the school district partnered with three others to buy four mobile units with a grant from the Future Fund, each offering a career & technical class like manufacturing, engineering, biomedical engineering, and welding. This is the kind of innovation we can bring to all our schools, urban and rural, so all our students get exposure and experience to job opportunities before making post-secondary decisions.

Billie’s plan for a stronger economy includes developing CTE grant programs to encourage schools to be collaborative and innovative in creating these opportunities for students and in connecting them with the post-secondary options that put them on the path to jobs. We must give schools the resources to build partnerships with tech schools and industries to give opportunities to students of all interests. Billie will work with educators to develop tech experiences for our students and explore more ways students can earn high school and college dual credit while gaining work experience in the community.

I should note that Legislative Democrats in South Dakota have been opposed to repealing Common Core. I don’t have Sutton’s voting record in front of me, but I doubt he stands for local control in education in any meaningful way.

Kristi Noem:

Noem had more to say on her website about K-12 education:

South Dakota students consistently produce good test scores, graduate on time, and meet college readiness benchmarks. But many schools struggle to make ends meet, jeopardizing the long-term success of South Dakota’s K-12 education system. As governor, I will be committed to balancing the needs of families, teachers and administrators, and taxpayers as we prepare students for college, the workforce, and citizenship.

Empower families. When it comes to raising kids, family is better than government. As a conservative, I will protect the rights of parents to choose the educational path that’s best for their child, whether it’s homeschooling, public schooling, or a private education. Regardless of a family’s decision, I will work to ensure all students have equal opportunity within the education system.

Do more with every taxpayer dollar. Public education policy is too often evaluated by expenditures, rather than student success. That’s a mistake. We need to focus on creating a better system, not a more expensive one – a goal that can and should be accomplished without taking necessary resources out of classrooms. As governor, I would:

  • Work to centralize and standardize purchasing, giving local schools more options to cut costs by taking advantage of the state’s massive buying power;
  • Encourage schools to share resources and expand long-distance learning opportunities;
  • Assist local school districts in pursuing private funds to mitigate the cost of capital projects;
  • Continue leveraging the state’s AAA bond rating to help schools borrow at a lower cost;
  • Reform the Department of Education, adopting a model that promotes much closer collaboration with locally elected school boards; and
  • Improve transparency in school district budgeting, as proposed in my Sunshine Initiative.

Create a culture of performance. From teachers and administrators to school board members, South Dakota is fortunate to have many talented people dedicated to student success. I want to elevate high-performers while expanding continued learning opportunities for those running our classrooms and school districts. As governor, I will pursue public-private partnerships to financially reward rockstar teachers. For instance, I’d like to collaborate with local businesses to sponsor a robust “Teacher of the Month” program. Additionally, my administration will explore opportunities to improve overall performance through evidence-based school board training and teacher mentorship programs.

Reject Common Core and federal overreach. In the U.S. House, I helped get legislation signed into law limiting the federal government’s role in our education system. As governor, I will take advantage of those flexibilities, continuing to reject Common Core and seeking appropriate waivers and grants to customize South Dakota’s education system.

Promote civic education. Our republic only works if citizens are active and informed. The next generation of South Dakotans must understand the foundations of our nation, the tremendous sacrifices made to protect our constitutional rights, and the freedoms, liberties, and responsibilities we have as citizens. In collaboration with school districts, I will work to expand civics and U.S. history programs and encourage schools to include the citizenship test as part of their graduation criteria.

Encourage kids to explore in-demand jobs early. South Dakota already faces severe labor shortages, and even greater demands for a skilled workforce are on the horizon. As governor, I would work to:

  • Provide career counseling and information regarding in-demand jobs beginning at the middle-school level;
  • Inspire students by expanding experience-driven learning opportunities before college;
  • Coordinate resources to identify and help at-risk children plan for their futures; and
  • Dramatically increase shared-learning opportunities among high schools, technical schools, universities, and employers to better manage the transition from home to post-secondary education to the South Dakota workforce.

Noem’s support of public-private partnerships, workforce development, and CTE are dog-whistles for education reformers. Also, her support of the Every Student Succeeds Act and falsely claiming it provides flexibility for states is unfortunate.

Marty Jackley:

Here’s what Jackley had to say about education on his website.

  • Work side-by-side with educators, administrators, parents, school boards, and students. My primary opponent has announced opposition to collaborative task forces such as the Blue Ribbon Task Force for Teachers and Students that was convened in 2015. A Jackley administration, however, will welcome these stakeholders to the table. These voices deserve to be heard, and volunteer task forces do not grow government—they bring expertise to government and make it more efficient.
  • Equip South Dakota educators and institutions with adequate funding to ensure competitive salaries and safe, secure learning environments so every learner has a highly trained, well-prepared, skilled adult guiding them along the educational journey to reach their maximum potential. We will support educational institutions with flexibility to customize systems and processes to best serve a broad spectrum of education needs necessary for entering a modern, vibrant workforce. As your attorney general, I have already brought $28 million in education funding to the state through the tobacco settlement—without raising taxes—and I am committed to expanding education funding opportunities without raising taxes.
  • Expand South Dakota’s K-12 system to include adequate early childhood educational opportunities for the most under-resourced communities by working with both public and private entities to support our youngest, most vulnerable learners. Putting learners on a path for success early in their journey reaps rewards for the individual as well as economic stability and sustainability for communities.
  • Provide equitable educational experiences for Native American students. This is paramount to sustaining a vital aspect of our state culture and heritage. As a board member of Jobs for America’s Graduates I am dedicated to preventing dropouts among young people who have serious barriers to graduation and/or employment. As Governor, I’ll work with our public and federal education systems to break the gridlock on best serving students in under-resourced communities. I will also reach out to leaders of the nine tribes to listen and learn about how we can work together to best serve all children.
  • Engage our entire pre-kindergarten to graduate-level education community to create a pipeline of opportunity that propels our citizens toward increased economic opportunities. Students must be exposed early to employment options that both leverage their unique talents and capitalize on their personal interests. They must be counseled during their K-12 experience to efficiently access the advanced training and educational opportunities that make best use of state and personal financial resources. For students to appropriately access employment opportunities that boost our workforce and economy, we must continuously improve the educational experience by pairing the most effective instructional methods with modern technologies to support a more personalized, competency-based learning experience that powerfully engages learners and sets them on a path for success both personally and professionally.
  • Empower our institutions with partnerships that capitalize on our strong South Dakota work ethic and can-do nature. By working together, we can empower people, streamline resources, and ensure relevant and meaningful learning opportunities successfully launch our learners to appropriate secondary learning institutions in our technical institutes and university systems.
  • Create incentives that encourage in-state placement. Our Opportunity Scholarship and Build Dakota programs are strong. We should continue to provide financial aid to South Dakota students who are committed to remaining in the state after receiving their postsecondary education.
  • Reduce barriers to teacher innovation. I will work with the South Dakota Department of Education to reduce the negative impact of ineffective mandated programs that don’t work well for rural states (ex. school improvement regs, Smarter Balanced testing) and to creatively, but appropriately, leverage federal dollars for programming that benefit our educational community.
  • Defend the rights of parents to educate their children on an even playing field. I support higher education opportunities for homeschool graduates, including SB 94 which would have expanded Opportunity Scholarship eligibility for homeschool students. In addition, students who need access to additional educational tools, such as the South Dakota Virtual School or classes offered by the e-learning center at Northern State University, should not be turned away because they are homeschooled.
  • Partner with local law enforcement to keep our schools safe. As your attorney general, I have seen firsthand the meaningful relationships our resource officers have formed with teachers and students. I will continue to work with law enforcement to ensure our schools are adequately protected and our students have methods to report potential threats to their safety. These kinds of decisions will be made together with administrators, teachers, parents, and students.

So Jackley promotes a preK-12 “pipeline”… just wonderful… His comment about reducing regulations on school districts is encouraging however.


Sutton, suprisingly for a Democrat, has the least to say about education. All of the candidates have bought into the workforce development model of education. Noem and Jackley at least appear to support parental rights. Noem says she’s anti-Common Core, but support of ESSA tarishes her record. Jackley seems to understand that state mandates on local school districts is problematic.

I’m writing this to inform our readers, especially those in South Dakota, about where the candidates stand, not to make an endorsement. Each candidate holds a position or has a record regarding K-12 education that is problematic for me (however like most of you I’m not a single issue voter). I would encourage our South Dakota readers to meet the candidates and ask questions as you get an opportunity. I would be curious to hear what Jackley has to say about Common Core, how Noem plans to address Common Core, and why Sutton supports Common Core. All candidates still need to weigh in on parental opt-outs and student data privacy.

If you live in South Dakota and receive additional information, please feel free to send it to me at info@truthinamericaneducation.com.

What Are Gubernatorial Candidates Saying About Education?

The tan colored states represent gubernatorial elections in 2018.

There are 36 gubernatorial contests in 2018 with 269 declared candidates. What are they saying about education?

According to Rick Hess and Sofia Gallo at American Enterprise Institute, not so much.

They wrote on Wednesday at Real Clear Policy:

So, during the first half of February, we used the National Governors Association website and Ballotpedia to identify the 269 declared gubernatorial candidates and then visited the websites for each. There were 121 candidates who had no website (a tiny handful) or who offered no information regarding their education positions. For the 148 candidates who had something to say on education — including 63 Republicans and 85 Democrats — we examined their sites to see what topics addressed and what they had to say. What did this exercise reveal?

First, there’s been a marked shift from many of the concerns that predominated 4 or 8 years ago. Candidates devoted little attention to topics like school accountability (mentioned by just nine candidates), teacher evaluation (mentioned by just five), or the Common Core (mentioned by 17). When testing and standards do arise, candidates don’t have many good things to say. For instance, the mentions of academic standards and the Common Core are overwhelmingly negative — with more than 80 percent denouncing them. Similarly, just one candidate makes a positive reference to testing; the other 19 candidates who mention the topic all promise to reduce the number of tests.

Second, the only educational issue that registered support from a majority of candidates was career and technical education (CTE), which received enthusiastic bipartisan backing. More than 60 candidates — including 40 Democrats and 24 Republicans — endorsed expanding CTE.

He also noted that there was little attention paid to school choice either positive or negative. I can vouch for this in Iowa, beyond school spending, CTE was part of Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds’ Condition of the State Address. She also mentioned school choice, but through accessing 529 savings accounts used for parents to save for college, not ESAs or vouchers. She also discussed STEM.

He did note that when gubernatorial candidates talk about CTE they all don’t mean the same thing.

By “career and technical education,” some mean vocational schools while others mean apprenticeships; some are championing more high school programs while others are thinking about community college systems.

Reynolds pointed to a new program called Future Ready Iowa that will implement pre-apprenticeships for high school students.

For the most part, it’s been pretty quiet on the education front on matters of policy (beyond spending which is always an issue). In terms of trying to find candidates who will challenge top-down reform and repeal top-down standards, it is challenging.

As you look for a candidate to support you’ll have to take the initiative to get candidates to talk about standards, assessments, and data privacy. It’s much easier to ask your questions during the primary process than it will be the general election. If there are opportunities to get to meet candidates and ask them questions, be sure to take advantage of it. Of course, talk is cheap, be sure to check out their record if they’ve been in elected office as an incumbent governor or as a legislator.

I plan to highlight those who are speaking out against Common Core and top-down standards here.

Husted Is Anti-Common Core? Why Did He Support Race to the Top?

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted

I wanted to follow-up on the piece I wrote yesterday about the Ohio Republican Gubernatorial primary because I have some additional information.

Congressman Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) accused Secretary of State Jon Husted of supporting Common Core, an accusation which was denied by his campaign. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that his campaign said, “Jon Husted opposes Common Core and as House Speaker, created the first statewide school choice scholarship to help every child have a chance at a quality education.”

Ohio Conservatives for Change (a pro-Husted PAC) called the charge “baseless.” How do they know?

Well, they quoted the same statement from the Husted campaign I cited above.

Words. Rhetoric. How does Husted oppose Common Core? When it comes to fighting Common Core those of us on the front lines are skeptical for a good reason because we’ve repeatedly betrayed.

What has he done? I can tell you something that is on his record.

He supported Race to the Top, the federal grant program that helped to push Common Core onto states.

Here’s the letter he sent in 2009 to Governor Ted Strickland, Ohio Senate President Bill Harris, and Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish as a State Senator. Husted served on the Ohio Senate Education Committee.

Secretary Husted has some explaining to do. Not only did he support Race to the Top he committed to working on two pieces of legislation to help Ohio become eligible to receive the grant. He had to know this grant required the adoption of “college and career-ready standards” of which Common Core was the only game in town to help states receive enough points to qualify.

So sorry if his claim to opposing Common Core (which has come from his campaign apparatus, not the candidate himself) rings hollow.

Common Core Injected Into Ohio Gubernatorial Race

Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH) campaigning for Governor.

Common Core was injected into the Ohio Gubernatorial Race by Congressman Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) in a 30-second ad.

Governor John Kasich is term-limited so there will be an open seat. The Republican primary has a four-way race between Renacci, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Mary Taylor, and Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Renacci calls the other three candidates “Columbus fat cats.”

His campaign’s press release about the ad reads:

While Jim Renacci spent three decades in the business world creating jobs and employing over 3,000 people across Ohio, Mary Taylor, Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have spent a combined 70 years seeking and serving in political office. And as the ad also points out, while Jim Renacci is running on a platform of conservative reforms for the state, Taylor, DeWine and Husted have all abandoned fundamental conservative principles on key issues ranging from Common Core and Obamacare to private sector Right to Work laws.

Here’s the ad:

I should note that Renacci has been in Congress since 2011, and Common Core opposition is not a core issue as far as I can tell by looking at his website.

His Congressional website says the following about education:

As a father of three, I recognize the importance of reforming our education system. Few issues have as great an impact on the future of our children as the quality of their education. Education is one of the greatest equalizers in our society and serves as a ladder of opportunity for all those wishing to pursue the American Dream.

The top-down, one-size-fits all approach to education policy endorsed for so long has proven ineffective. Education is a personal experience and one best handled through state, local, and parental involvement. Whether we are talking about early childhood, K-12, or higher education policies, our children and their parents need more opportunity, flexibility, and quality when it comes to education. The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), signed into law in the 114th Congress, represents a meaningful step toward this end, providing state and local education authorities the tools they need to help their students better succeed. Streamlining spending, reducing the federal bureaucracy’s role in education, promoting flexibility and innovation, improving teacher quality, and empowering parents are all imperative.

Enhanced coordination at the local level and other creative solutions will provide more opportunity for our children. It will take a more intelligent and innovative approach if we are to provide the skills and knowledge necessary for the next generation to succeed. In addition, Congress must implement policies that spur our economy to ensure that young Americans continue to have access to a high quality education and good paying jobs that come through enrollment in traditional four-year universities, community colleges, and career and technical education (CTE) programs.

This Congress, I am sponsoring H.R. 1352, the Preparing More Welfare Recipients for Work Act, which would allow Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) recipients up to age 26 to have their hours spent completing their GED count towards their work requirement – raised from the current age of 20. Additionally, it would allow individuals to count participation in vocational education for up to 24 months instead of the current 12 months. Many in-demand fields require more than two semesters of training, and expanding this timeframe will allow more individuals to pursue the rewarding careers a vocational education offers.

The fact he touted ESSA as a “meaningful step” toward returning local control in education is not encouraging.

Lt. Governor Taylor’s website does not mention education at all. Attorney General DeWine’s website does not have an issues page yet. Secretary of State Husted’s website just focuses on the life and the 2nd amendment issues.

So beyond a 30-second ad, we really don’t know where these candidates come down on Common Core, fighting federal education, assessments, data privacy, and returning control to local school districts. Taylor having been Kasich’s Lt. Governor has to distance herself on the issue and show she’s her own person. Renucci needs to get into the nitty-gritty of how he would actually get rid of Common Core.

Back in August Renucci accused Husted of supporting Common Core, and Husted’s campaign rebutted that, “Jon Husted opposes Common Core and as House Speaker, created the first statewide school choice scholarship to help every child have a chance at a quality education.”

Husted served in the Ohio House from 2001-2009. He was then elected to the Ohio Senate and served until 2011. I don’t believe Ohio saw a Common Core repeal bill until later so I don’t think Husted has a legislative record on the issue. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a crappy legislative record when it comes to education (those who are opposed to school choice would say he already does, but I’m not in that boat).

DeWine having served in the U.S. Senate and U.S. House would have a legislative record which doesn’t look bad on the surface (I’m not familiar with the ESA bill he voted yes on, it appears that it gave people a way to create a tax shelter for their own money).

DeWine is a cheerleader for workforce development, however.

We’ll keep an eye on this race.

WV Attorney General Morrisey vs WV Congressman Jenkins vs ESSA

This is an open letter to WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-WV) who seek the Republican nomination in West Virginia’s U.S. Senate race.

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was part of President Johnson’s war on poverty in 1965.  Its intent was to provide equal opportunity and support to the states’ education systems.  It has since been reauthorized over the years and has transformed into a controlling noose around the necks of the states.

In 2001, under President Bush, the reauthorization legislation was called No Child Left Behind – legislation that President Bush admittedly never read.  A major result of NCLB was to establish a law that required ALL students to test 100% proficient in English and Math by 2014…. an impossible goal never intended to be met, but a mandate that became the rope to form the noose.

In 2009, President Obama used this law and his massive stimulus package to tighten the noose. The U.S. Department of Education unconstitutionally offered waivers of the proficiency requirement – waivers of a law created by Congress…  along with millions of dollars to the states if they accepted specific conditions:  ADOPT COMMON STANDARDS (not yet developed), CREATE A STUDENT DATA SYSTEM, JOIN A TESTING CONSORTIUM (not yet formed) ALLOW FEDERAL ACCESS TO STUDENT DATA, AND COMMIT TO EVALUATING TEACHERS AND SCHOOLS USING ASSESSMENT RESULTS.

In 2010, Governor Manchin, with our current recycled State Superintendent Steve Paine, and our state board, committed West Virginia to these conditions, having never seen the Common Core standards or the assessments.  These agreed upon conditions usurped parental authority over a child’s personal information, and handed over our state sovereignty eroding our ability to control our own education system…with no notice to parents or legislators. It was and still is complete disdain and disregard for our Constitution’s 10th Amendment, our sovereignty, and parental authority…as the feds tightened the noose and now sit in control of education nationwide.

As we slowly learned of the degraded standards, student data collection and the federal intrusion into classrooms, parents, grandparents, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, attorneys, citizens…rose up in opposition to these conditions now collectively called Common Core. Policy and legislative battles have ensued in county boards, state boards, state legislatures, court rooms, and Congress, and Common Core has made populist rhetorical fodder for plenty of campaigning politicians who have not taken the time to understand the depth of this issue.

In 2015, Although no one seems to know the identity of the real author(s), Senator Lamar Alexander was given the task of writing NCLB reauthorization legislation, now known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). He claimed ESSA would take the noose off, end the powerful federal intrusion, and return education to local control.  Many Common Core activists read the bill and knew, if passed, ESSA would continue the federal stranglehold on education.  With a moments notice, on their own time and dime, these grassroots passionate activists jumped on flights to D. C. to educate House and Senate members on the flaws of ESSA.  But In the end, their voices were ignored and ESSA passed both houses.

If you doubt that the feds are still controlling education, you need only look at the current activity of the U.S. and state Departments of Education.  For months and continuing as we speak, state’s are spending hundreds of man hours putting together their ESSA STATE PLAN to be submitted for approval to Secretary of Education, Betsy Devos as required by ESSA – states groveling to the feds to get tax dollars that belong to us anyway. Already some states have been told by DOE peer reviewers their plan is deficient and is denied.  And as a side note, my FOIA request to Secretary Devos requesting names and credentials of these peer reviewers making decisions on the state plans was also denied.  The arrogance and the federal control continues.

In West Virginia, in 2018 voters will hopefully deny Joe Manchin a seat in the U.S. Senate and we will elect a state’s rights, conservative thinking Republican to stand with President Trump and his agenda to save this nation.

Our choice will be made in the primary election between two accomplished, well known, established West Virginia Republicans.  I look to each of them for their thoughts on ESSA.

There are some things already on the record.  For example, Attorney General Morrisey is on record for courageously taking on the feds, fighting for state’s rights as he made his legal challenges with the EPA and Obama Care.  And clearly, he has stood strong for the 2nd Amendment and protecting our individual liberties and has advanced our firearms reciprocal agreements with other states.  So where does he stand on the Common Core issue?

AG Morrisey was our first stop for help back in 2013 as we began our fight to stop Common Core.  We thought, given his dedication to state’s rights issues and his opposition to federal encroachment upon the states, Common Core would be right up his ally. However, we were very disappointed when he told us, as the legal representative for the state board, his ability to advise us was limited. I have never been able to completely understand that position since we were wanting to take on the feds for their intrusion.  Perhaps AG Morrisey might better explain his position.

As for Congressman Jenkins, we do have him on the record for his ESSA vote.  When ESSA came up for consideration, and we all realized the feds were still controlling education, grassroots activists exposed the ruse.  What a profound message could have been sent to the nation, to the WV governor, our state board, the legislature, and to WV parents, if our WV congressional delegation would have stood united with a press release saying Mountaineers value freedom, we stand in opposition to federal control of our classrooms, and we are voting NO on ESSA.  But instead of standing together, only one member of our delegation, Congressman Alex Mooney, stood for our state’s rights, stood alone, and voted NO on ESSA. Perhaps Congressman Jenkins would like to explain his position.

So I have a few questions for each of you:

  1. As a U.S. Senator, would you support the elimination of the U.S. Department of Education?
  2. As a U.S. Senator, would you support education block grants to the states?
  3. Appropriate and proper education by local means is the foundation for our nation’s survival.

What could be more important?

Common Core Advocate Tony Evers Plans to Run for Wisconsin Governor

I’ve written several articles about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s treatment of Common Core. His record on Common Core is a mixed bag and, in my opinion, he has not done enough to rid the state those standards. Dr. Tony Evers, Wisconsin’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, is a Democrat who plans to officially announce tomorrow that he is challenging Walker. His record is abundantly clear he is the man solely responsible for bringing Common Core into the state.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal reports:

State schools superintendent Tony Evers will formally announce his gubernatorial run Wednesday, making him the third Democrat to commit to a bid and the first statewide office holder to challenge GOP Gov Scott Walker.

Evers, who heads the state Department of Public Instruction, will announce his run at a suburban Madison park for children, according to an email sent to supporters Sunday and obtained by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The venue at McKee Farms Park in Fitchburg will highlight Evers’ main credential for voters – his years working on behalf of children as a local school leader and state education official.

“On Wednesday, Tony will officially announce his run for governor because we need a real change here in Wisconsin. That change starts with putting our kids first, investing in our schools, and rebuilding Wisconsin’s middle class,” according to an email sent from the personal account of Jeff Pertl, a top aide to Evers in the superintendent’s office.

The Evers campaign had no comment except to note that Pertl is a volunteer.

They note that Evers has been criticized for adopting Common Core, as well as, the rollout of the state’s new computer-based test. He has to win the Democrat primary first before he can challenge Walker in the general election.

If he wins the primary and then loses the general election he’ll be out at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. Common Core opponents have the opportunity to run candidates for that position who will work with the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor Walker to repeal Common Core (provided they truly want to do that). You may remember that Evers threatened to sue if the Legislature and Walker repealed Common Core claiming he had sole authority over academic standards in the state.