(Video) Jane Robbins: What is FEPA?

Jane Robbins, a senior fellow at American Principles Project, recorded this short video for Red Kudzu explaining what the Foundations of Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (S. 2046) is and what it will do if passed by the U.S. Senate.

The bill is before the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 or use the contact info below and ask them to oppose S. 2046, the Foundations of Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.

Here is the list of the committee members along with their Twitter handles and office phone numbers.

The primary issue with FEPA is that it would create a “unified evidence-building plan” for the entire federal government – in essence, a national database containing data from every federal agency on every citizen.

Tracking FEPA in the U.S. Senate

The Foundations of Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEPA) (H.R. 4174) passed in the U.S. House of Representatives after the rules were suspended and a voice vote taken. The Senate companion bill (S.2046) was introduced by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) who is the ranking member of the Senate HELP Committee.

The Senate bill has been read twice and was referred to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Here is the list of the committee members along with their Twitter handles and office phone numbers.

The primary issue with FEPA is that it would create a “unified evidence-building plan” for the entire federal government – in essence, a national database containing data from every federal agency on every citizen.

What could possibly go wrong there?

Please read and share this one-pager on the bill about why student privacy advocates have grave concerns about this bill.

New U.S. Senate Education Committee Members

Photo credit: Rob Crawley (CC-By-2.0)

Just an FYI, there have been some changes on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee due to the election. These committee members will hold their hearing for Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos on January 11th. I’d encourage you to contact them with questions they can ask of the nominee. I have eleven questions of my own here if you need some ideas.

Will The Senate Vote to Stop John King?

john-b-king-barack-obama

Dr. John B. King, Jr., the acting U.S. Secretary of Education, is up for a confirmation vote in the U.S. Senate later today. As most of our readers know King was a disaster as the New York State Commissioner of Education prior to being hired as an Assistant Secretary of Education. President Barack Obama then appointed King to replace Arne Duncan when he announced he was stepping down as Secretary of Education.

It doesn’t look promising unfortunately since his confirmation was passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) on a 16 to 6 vote last Wednesday. U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and Tim Scott (R-SC) voted against King’s nomination in committee.

Will Estrada, the director of federal relations with the Home School Legal Defense Association, explained in a video released late last week why King’s confirmation should be stopped.

In a nutshell as Commissioner of Education in New York he worked to suppress parent and activist voices from being heard by cancelling town halls when he realized they were not going to go his way. They later rescheduled town halls stacked with friendly voices. He supported Common Core, and oversaw the failed implementation of the standards and aligned assessments in his state. He also supported the Every Student Succeeds Act. Senators who supported that bill have the chance to redeem themselves by voting against his confirmation.

You can still contact your Senators today and tell them to vote no on King’s confirmation as Secretary of Education, the vote is expected to take place at 5:30p (ET).

Common Core Advocates Biggest Losers in Iowa

2016 Iowa Caucus winner Ted Cruz in New Hampton, IA on 1/23/16. Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

2016 Iowa Caucus winner Ted Cruz in New Hampton, IA on 1/23/16.
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (Prezography.com)

Well I’m back from a break as I was focused on covering the Iowa Caucuses, and the results from last night’s vote is pretty telling. Common Core advocates were among the biggest losers in Iowa.

Common Core certainly wasn’t the most visible issue in the last few weeks leading up to Iowa, but early in the year leading up to the Caucuses it was a question I heard a lot at various town hall meetings. It was something mentioned by virtually all of the campaigns minus a couple who tried to avoid the topic. It flew under the radar, but it was an issue that helped to divide the wheat from the chaff.  Not the only issue, mind you, but it was one of the issues.

How can I say this? Look at the results.

The top five candidates coming out of the Iowa Caucuses – Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Marco Rubio (albeit his record is not perfect), Ben Carson, and Rand Paul have all verbally opposed the Common Core State Standards.

The two candidates who still supported the standards – Jeb Bush and John Kasich received a total of 8,712 out of over 186,000 votes cast. That is a stinging rebuke.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who won the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, tried to distance himself from previous support of the Common Core State Standards, but most of the grassroots in Iowa didn’t buy it. That issue among others at play derailed his campaign. He only received 1.8% of the vote (3,345 votes). To put this in perspective in 2008 he had set the record for the most votes cast for a candidate. That was shattered last night.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, voters saw through his nonsense. He said he got rid of the Common Core in New Jersey. He didn’t.

Let’s see if New Hampshire can do the same.

Assessing Candidates’ Record on Common Core

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Alex Leary of the Tampa Bay Times discussed Common Core’s role in the campaign of the two Florida presidential candidates, Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush. The article, titled “Rubio may oppose Common Core but has supported the ideas behind it,” lists several ways that Marco Rubio has supported the components of the Common Core system:

…while Rubio never advocated for Common Core, he was a proponent of the building blocks.

Bush on Thursday noted that Rubio had supported Race to the Top, the federal program that incentivized states to adopt Common Core.

I think that’s a good idea,” Rubio said in 2009. He did stress, however, that he felt “education is a state function, best regulated and governed at the state level.”

That year Rubio also praised Obama’s hire of Arne Duncan as education secretary, calling him an “innovator” while praising the federal government’s effort “encouraging” states to adopt curriculums “that reflect the 21st Century.”

Rubio’s 100 Ideas book, a template for his tenure as House speaker, endorsed ideas such as more testing and a revamped curriculum. Idea No. 2 called for Florida to “systematically and sequentially replace the Sunshine State Standards with a new, world-class curriculum comparable to those found in the leading education systems in the world.”

As Gary Fineout of The Associated Press pointed out Thursday, Rubio never asked state officials or Gov. Scott to stop Common Core from being adopted in Florida. (Amid the backlash, the state has simply whitewashed the words Common Core from official policy.) [See also Even Mainstream Media Question Scott’s Statements about Being Out of Common Core]

Obviously, Race to the Top and Arne Duncan were the means the Obama administration used to impose and spread the Common Core that was aided by Bush and his Foundation for Excellence in Education, as Rubio correctly pointed out. Bush also took credit for the Common Core-cementing and Fed Ed-expanding Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), while Rubio, to his credit, voted against the initial Senate version. However, Rubio failed to vote against cloture or the final version of ESSA or the omnibus that increased funding for the tyrannical federal programs that are in ESSA.

Leary clearly explains the damage that Bush’s support of Common Core has done to his campaign:

Bush’s support is clear as is the damage it has done to him in the presidential race.

Although Rubio’s record is far better than Bush’s on the Common Core system, it is far from perfect. In addition to what is shown above, we have documented the major contributions to Rubio by Common Core billionaires Bill Gates and Paul Singer, and our friends at The Pulse 2016have shown that Rubio is pushing the invasive data mining bill, The Know Before You Go Act. This bill seeks to have the federal government collect data on students throughout their lives just to be able to provide information to others about which colleges and majors provide the best jobs. This contributed in large part to the Florida Senator’s merely average grade of a ‘C’ on Common Core by American Principles in Action. Privacy expert Barmak Nassirian, Director of Federal Relations and Policy Analysis for the American Association of State Colleges, said:

Tracking autonomous free individuals through most of their lives in the name of better information for the benefit of others may be justifiable, but its extremism should at the very least be acknowledged and addressed.

Rubio has recently been echoing the strong opposition both to the Common Core (by criticizing Chris Christie) as well as talking about abolishing the U.S. Department of Education. Senator Ted Cruz has been forcefully stating these positions since at least 2011, according to Donna Garner, a long-time activist from Cruz’s home state of Texas. Cruz was also the first candidate to sign Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly’s pledge against Common Core. Ultimately, though, Rubio’s opposition to the standards and the US DOE has not been as strong and long standing as that of Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, both of whom received grades of ‘A-‘ on the APIA report card.

Garner also points out that although billionaire businessman Donald Trump expresses opposition to Common Core, he has given liberally to the politicians that put the terrible system into place:

Our country needs to turn a deaf ear to Donald Trump’s recent anti-Common Core comments. It is Donald Trump who used his vast wealth to give campaign donations and/or to support publicly the Democrats who perpetrated both ObamaCare and Common Core.  These include Obama, Rahm Emanuel, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Charlie Rangel, John Kerry, and Bill Gates:  6.22.15 – “How Donald Trump Helped Democrats Pass Obamacare” — by Marc A. Thiessen – Washington Post

Voters need to be discerning in their choices especially when it comes to the freedom, futures, and privacy of their children.

Cross-posted at The Pulse 2016

U.S. Senate Sends ESEA Reauthorization to Obama

Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)

Photo credit: UpstateNYer (CC-By-SA 3.0)

I reported at Caffeinated Thoughts that the U.S. Senate voted in favor – 85 to 12 – to pass the Every Student Achieves Act, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) that replaces No Child Left Behind.  It is intended as a fix.  It may provide a little more flexibility for states, primarily through the repeal of the adequate yearly progress measure that is replaced by a statewide accountability process.

The bill is essentially saying… we’ll control you a little less. There’s really nothing to cheer about in this bill. No parental opt-out language, the testing mandate is still there, it doesn’t repeal Common Core (as Common Core didn’t exist in No Child Left Behind). Simply put, the U.S. Secretary of Education still has a lot of control K-12 education, and to top it off it starts a new federal preschool program.

As a reminder, here are the 12 primary concerns about what is expected to be law:

  1. PROCESS VIOLATES TENENTS OF AMERICAN GOVERNMENT – OF TRANSPARENCY IN THE BILL PROCESS AND DELIBERATIVE DEBATE. Process of forwarding conference report echoes the process of (Un) Affordable Care Act “You have to pass it to see what’s in it” – that is. Congress won’t be reading it.
  2. HEAVILY INCENTIVIZES STATES TO MAINTAIN COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS: As a requirement of the Act, states must “demonstrate” to the Secretary that they have adopted standards that are aligned to the same definition of “college and career” standards used to force states into adopting Common Core under NCLB waivers.
  3. ASSESSSMENT OF NON-COGNITIVE ATTITUDES, BEHAVIORS, and MINDSETS: Bill will maintain momentum for increasing non-academic data collection of student and family information into statewide longitudinal data systems.
  4. PARENT RIGHTS: The Salmon Amendment in HR5 that allowed parents to opt out of high-stakes state assessments is no longer included. Students whose parents opt them out of the test, must be included in the 95% participation formula.
  5. EROSION OF STATE POWER OVER EDUCATION: The state accountability system must be structured as per the federal bill.
  6. FEDERAL CONTROL OF STANDARDS CONTENT: Bill language appears to require standards that align with career and technical education standards, indicating that the standards must align to the federally approved Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  7. NO CHECKS ON FEDERAL POWER, FEDERAL GOVERNMENT IS JUDGE AND JURY OF ITS OWN ACTIVITY – NO SUNSET OF LAW: The framework would only “authorize” ESEA for four more years, as opposed to the typical five, but, there’s no sunset provision in the bill, so it could go on in perpetuity.
  8. EXPANSION OF GOVERNMENT ROLE IN CHILDCARE/DISINCENTIVE TO ACTIVELY SEEK EMPLOYMENT: Bill is said to expand Head Start to childcare with Child Care Development Block Grant Act of 2014 so that no work requirements will be expected of low income parents to access grant money to pay for childcare.
  9. ADVANCES PROFITING BY PRIVATE CORPORATIONS USING EDUCATION DOLLARS THAT SHOULD GO TO CLASSROOMS: Increasing the education budget to fund private investors to implement government- selected social goals is outside the scope of improving education, and outside the authority of Congress as described in the U.S. Constitution.
  10. INCREASED ESEA SPENDING: ESSA authorizes appropriations for fiscal years 2017-2020. Spending authority will increase by 2% each year.
  11. EROSION OF LOCAL CONTROL: The conference report language encourages states to form consortia that, without congressional approval, may be determined illegal.
  12. DATA PRIVACY: Language in the conference report appears to rein in the Secretary of Education’s power and protect student data by inserting prohibitions of collecting additional student data, but makes no attempt to reverse the harm already done by Secretary Duncan’s modification of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and David Vitter (R-LA) voted against cloture and the bill’s final passage. Cruz voted against cloture but missed the final vote, and U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for in favor of cloture, but against final passage (so we’re not giving him credit).

U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was absent for the cloture vote, but voted for the bill’s final passage. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) was absent for both the cloture vote and the final vote.

ESEA Reauthorization Conference Report Advances to Final Vote in the Senate

Photo credit: Rob Crawley (CC-By-2.0)

Photo credit: Rob Crawley (CC-By-2.0)

The ESEA reauthorization conference report, S.1177, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) advanced in the U.S. Senate on a 84 to 12 cloture vote. The vote took place after an hour-and-a-half of “debate.”

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said that the final vote is scheduled for tomorrow – Wednesday, December 9, 2015 at 10:45a (EST).  He inferred during his comments following the cloture vote that the bill’s passage is pretty much in the bag and then proceeded to pat himself and U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) on the back.  It was nauseating.

Yesterday, Politico reported that outgoing Education Secretary Arne Duncan said that the House vote last week “gave him hope for democracy.”

It did the exact opposite for me, and today’s vote tarnished my view even further. How can we have a healthy, functional representative democracy when our elected representatives in the U.S House and U.S. Senate vote on a bill that is over 1000 pages a few days after it is made public. The House voted on this two days after the conference report was released. The Senate had one week.

One week is not long enough or somebody would have called Alexander on his B.S. that this bill allows parents to opt-out and that it would get rid of Common Core.  It does neither.  As far as “fixing” No Child Left Behind how can one say that with a straight face. It doesn’t even do that.

Here are the Senators who voted no on cloture. Please take time to thank them as they took a stand against ESEA reauthorization.

U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Michael Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), James Risch (R-ID), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Tim Scott (R-SC), Richard Shelby (R-AL), and David Vitter (R-LA).

Apparently U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were too busy running for President to come back to DC to vote.

Ted Cruz, Rand Paul Receive an A – on Common Core Report Card

rand-paul-education-policy

U.S. Senator Rand Paul, along with Ted Cruz, received an A-.

ThePulse2016, American Principles in Action, and Cornerstone Policy Research released  a Common Core score card on all of the major Republican candidates minus former New York Governor George Pataki and former Virginia Governor Jim Gilmore.  Leaders are U.S. Senators Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY) received an A-, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal received a B+.  On the other end of the spectrum former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Ohio Governor John Kasich received an F.  Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie receive a D+.  Surprisingly, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio received a C.

Here are the candidates’ grades:

A- … Ted Cruz
A- … Rand Paul
B+… Bobby Jindal
B  … Lindsey Graham
B  … Rick Perry
B  … Rick Santorum
B- … Ben Carson
B- … Donald Trump
C+… Carly Fiorina
C  … Mike Huckabee
C  … Marco Rubio
D+… Chris Christie
D+… Scott Walker
F  … Jeb Bush
F  … John Kasich

Full disclosure: I was a contributor for the report that accompanies the report card, but I did not determine the final grade.

The criteria used was:

  1. Whether the candidate recognizes the full scope of the Common Core issue and has advocated for, or taken, action that would roll back the Common Core education standards.
  2. Whether the candidate has advocated for protecting, or taken steps to protect, state and local decision-making in the area of education, e.g., offered a plan to give states enforceable protection against USED overreach, to opt out of the USED, unwind USED as a whole, etc.
  3. Whether the candidate has advocated for protecting child and family privacy, for example by opposing improper gathering and use of data including student medical information and any information that would reflect a student’s psychological characteristics or behaviors.

They could have included more criteria and noted in the scorecard report, “Due to time constraints, we did not include categories that could rightly be included in a Common Core scorecard. Those include initiatives that expand government-funded early childcare and the alignment of education to a national workforce system. Those initiatives will require increased data collection. The latter one will also entail the continuation of federal efforts to shape state “workforce investment” efforts that are an affront to state sovereignty and capitalism and that treat children and adults as human capital–as a means to an end.”

They also explain the grading:

  • A  Champions the issue (e.g., offers legislation, makes it a centerpiece issue)
  • B  Professes support, but has not provided leadership or otherwise championed it
  • C  Has neither helped nor hurt the cause
  • D  Has an overall negative record on the issue
  • F  Robustly and consistently works against the issue

Below are excerpts of what was said about each candidate in the report:

Jeb Bush – F

Gov. Bush is perhaps the most outspoken supporter of the Common Core Standards in the 2016 field. He has publicly praised David Coleman, one of the two chief architects of the Common Core (who is now chairman of the College Board). He has propagated the false narrative that the Common Core standards are merely learning goals and are of high quality.91 He has turned a blind eye to the reasons underlying opposition to Common Core and instead used straw-man arguments to dismiss opponents as relying on “Alice-in- Wonderland logic.

Ben Carson – B-

As a non-office-holder, Carson is pretty much limited to speaking on the issues. He says the right things but has given no indication of a deep understanding of Common Core or the attendant problems.

Chris Christie – D+

We would look for Christie to lead the effort to replace the Common Core in New Jersey with good standards – not just a “review” leading to a rebrand – and to replace PARCC with an assessment aligned to the new standards. His statement, in a thinly veiled reference to Gov. Perry, that at least he tried Common Core is particularly troublesome.116 It indicates that he does not understand how the federal government interferes with state decision- making, does not appreciate the academic deficiencies of the Common Core, and does not understand why parents are upset.

Christie epitomizes “making a big issue into a small issue.” His website does not address Common Core and does not address his view as to the relationship between USED and the states on education. Does he think it is just fine? Does he think the states need structural protections? Does he want to eliminate USED? Perhaps make it bigger? These are campaign issues, and the people want to know.

Ted Cruz – A-

We encourage Sen. Cruz to spell out in greater detail his plans for reigning in the federal government, to talk about the nexus between Common Core’s quality and the perversion of our constitutional structure and to raise the issues with accurate specifics rather than to talk about “repealing” Common Core. Does Cruz have further proposals to safeguard state and local decision-making and protect parental rights? His website does not address the Common Core issues, does not say anything about student and family privacy, and does not address his views as to the relationship between the federal government and the states with regard to education.

Carly Fiorina – C+

Fiorina’s website states, “Government is rigged in favor of powerful interests. The only way to reimagine our government is to reimagine who is running it.” She would do well to address these issues more often and in more detail -especially given that the Common Core is being driven by the “powerful interests” that claim to serve the interests of the economy and business. Fiorina would do well to discuss the issue in more depth, to raise the qualitative problems, and to state whether she has any proposals to safeguard state decision-making.

Lindsey Graham – B

Graham seems to understand the issues with Common Core today, but it is unfortunate this opposition did not come sooner. He missed an early opportunity to strike at the Common Core in 2013 by not co-signing a letter penned by Senator Chuck Grassley to the chair and vice-chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education that called for language to prohibit the use of federal funding to promote the Common Core, end the federal government’s involvement in the Common Core testing consortium, and prevent the United States Department of Education from rescinding a state’s No Child Left Behind waiver if it repealed Common Core.

Mike Huckabee – C

Gov. Mike Huckabee has a checkered past on the issue of the Common Core. Once an ardent supporter of the system, he now claims that the original “governor-controlled states’ initiative” eventually “morphed into a frankenstandard that nobody, including me, can support.” However, as recently as 2013, Mike Huckabee told the Council of Chief State School Officers to “[r]ebrand [Common Core], refocus it, but don’t retreat.”

As the campaign approached, Huckabee began to be more consistent in his opposition (although he was still giving a nod to the supposedly pure origins of the Common Core).

Bobby Jindal – B+

Jindal was an early supporter of Common Core. But in 2014 he come out swinging against it, although he occasionally lapses into a narrative that it was the federal involvement that made it bad. He supported legislation to rid his state of Common Core. He has also sued USED in federal court on the grounds that the Department’s Race to the Top programs was coercive, violates federal law, and is contrary to the Constitution. Jindal stumbled out of the gate on Common Core, but he has righted himself and has admirably pushed back against the federal overreach.

John Kasich – F

Like Bush, Kasich is an unapologetic cheerleader for the Common Core. His only response to the large and active anti-Common Core grassroots operation in Ohio is to make fun of them.

Rand Paul – A-

Sen. Rand Paul supported Senator Grassley’s effort to defund the Common Core in 2013 and 2014. He co-signed a letter penned by Senator Chuck Grassley to the chair and vice- chair of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Education that called for language to be included prohibiting the use of federal funding to promote the Common Core, ending the federal government’s involvement in the Common Core testing consortium and preventing USED from rescinding a state’s No Child Left Behind waiver if it repealed Common Core. Sens. Paul and Cruz are the only senatorial candidates for president who co-signed Grassley’s letter.

Paul has paid more attention to the Common Core issue than most other candidates and has spoken forcefully against it.

Rick Perry – B

Gov. Rick Perry is one of the few candidates, declared or prospective, who has opposed the Common Core from the outset. As Governor, Rick Perry signed HB 462, which effectively banned the Common Core from being adopted in Texas…

…With regard to privacy, in 2013 Perry signed HB 2103, which created a data-sharing agency for educational data governed by an appointed board rather than the state educational agency. It appears that the data can only be shared within the state- with the exception of inter-state sharing with other state departments of education. Among other problems, it allows unfettered data-sharing among agencies designated as “cooperating agencies” –the Texas Education Agency, the state higher-ed authority, and the Texas Workforce Commission. It allows any researcher (no parameters on who is a legitimate researcher) to get data if he uses “secure methods” and agrees to comply with the ineffective federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). It requires each participating state agency to make data available for the preceding 20 years, and allows data-sharing agreements with “local agencies or organizations” that provide education services if “useful to the conduct of research.”

Marco Rubio – C

Sen. Marco Rubio has spoken strongly against Common Core and wrote a letter to Secretary Duncan in 2011 questioning the legality of using federal No Child Left Behind waivers to drive policy changes, like the adoption of Common Core, in the states…

…Rubio’s official website does not specifically address the issue of Common Core. However, it does states that in order to prepare people to “seize their opportunities in the new economy,” high schools should graduate more students “ready to work.” It is hard to parse from this general statement what the education policies would look like under a Rubio Administration. What does Rubio believe would validate a student as “work ready”? Would it be the further alignment of our K-12 education system to the projected demands of specific sectors of the economy to train workers for favored big-businesses, which would mean more of the Chamber of Commerce-endorsed Common Core? Or, does it mean aligning education to the demands of parents and the local community as a whole, which would mean more local control? It would behoove Senator Rubio to answer these questions and to discuss the qualitative aspects of the Common Core and whether he believes the federal involvement helped, or hurt, the quality of the standards.

Rick Santorum – B

Santorum’s website addresses the problem of Common Core in terms of both federal overreach and the substance of the standards. While many other candidates do the former, few address the latter…

…Although Santorum voted for No Child Left Behind when it passed the Senate in 2001, he has since described that vote as “a mistake.” We give a candidate credit for truly admitting a mistake.

Donald Trump – B-

Trump has struck a chord with the Republican base, something many would have thought unlikely a year ago. Citizens view him as having the courage and will to stand and fight, something that many GOP candidates have seemed to lack in years past. As the primary cycle wears on, the base will want to hear more detail from Trump as well as other candidates. The candidate who does this will engender the gratitude of parents and other citizens. Trump would do well to blaze the trail on this.

Scott Walker – D+

Until recently, Governor Walker’s rhetoric on Common Core has been good. He admits that, when he ran in 2010, it wasn’t on his radar and that’s certainly understandable given how the standards were pushed into the states. He rightly gives credit to the state’s citizens for making it an issue, something that may not seem like a big deal, but it is to activists who have been ridiculed as irrational by elitists in both parties…

Sometimes legislation gets watered down despite the intrepid efforts of its proponents. At other times, a nominal proponent gives it lip service but fails to fight and, thereby, actually signals that he will not raise an objection if the legislation is defeated or watered down. On the Common Core, Walker is in the latter category…

You can read the entire report below.

Jeb Bush’s Support of NCLB Threatens Campaign

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (CC-By-SA 2.0)

Common Core isn’t the only problem related to education policy with former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.  His support of No Child Left Behind is a problem as well.

The Hill reports:

Emails recently surfaced revealing that the former Florida governor offered to help the Obama administration reauthorize the 2002 education legislation, which was signed into law by Jeb’s older brother, President George W. Bush.

The intraparty fight over whether to reform or gut No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is putting renewed focus on Bush’s status as the lone top-tier GOP presidential hopeful still backing the Common Core state education standards for reading and math.

Bush’s conservative critics on Capitol Hill say he’s simply out of step with the party when it comes to education.

“It’s about federal control of education, whether it’s watered-down federal control or No Child Left Behind federal control,” said conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), who is supporting Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in the 2016 presidential race. Bush is going to “have a hard time with Republican voters with a position like that.

“If you have a position on No Child Left Behind or Common Core that is contrary to the wishes of the majority of Republican voters, you’re going to have a problem,” Amash said.

“Jeb Bush is the only one holding on to Common Core. I think that’s toxic,” conservative Louisiana Rep. John Fleming added.

Bush’s support in Iowa from what I’ve seen (not that he’s been to the state much) is tepid.  Common Core and No Child Left Behind play a big part in that.  Grassroots activists just don’t trust him on education.