To Donald Trump: Appoint an Education Secretary With Integrity


Williamson Evers of the Hoover Institution would make a great Education Secretary

Below is a letter crafted by Joy Pullmann of which I am a signer. Here is a link to the petition where you can add your name.

Dear President-elect Donald J. Trump,

We, the undersigned, are the grassroots moms, dads, and teachers who have been fighting to end the Common Core. We are the people who travel to our state capitols and testify against this national monstrosity, only to have leaders of both political parties mock and ignore us.

Common Core and its future incarnations can absolutely be blocked at the federal level by devolving power back to the people and states, and we look forward to assisting your administration in fulfilling your campaign promise to “Get rid of Common Core – keep education local!”

We adamantly oppose any nomination for U.S. education secretary who has either openly supported or passively assisted Common Core by enabling education centralization, which includes most of the education establishment on the Right and Left. Such a pick would contradict your campaign promises.

Choosing Williamson M. Evers as part of your transition team for education policy has been a heartening indication of your commitment to end Common Core. He is not only well-qualified to lead your transition team, but also to be the U.S. education secretary who mitigates the severe damage his predecessors have done to Americans and our children. He has the professional, academic, and policy credentials worthy of a cabinet position, yet also the trust of the no-name moms and dads in the bipartisan, grassroots Common Core opposition.

He is well-qualified to lead the U.S. Department of Education into what you have pledged will characterize your administration: “Replacing a failed and corrupt political establishment with a new government controlled by you, the American people.”

Yes! Appoint a man committed to making this happen in education policy, who will help restore self-government in education. You can restore ordinary Americans’ power to make our kids’ education great again, and a man such as Evers would be an exemplary partner in that task. Other exemplary choices include Larry Arnn and Sandra Stotsky.

Power to the people! Make America smart again!

Jenny Baker
Return to Parental Rights and Gathering Families

Meg Bakich
Truth in Texas Education

Stacey Castleman 
Stop Common Core in North Dakota

Micah Clark
American Family Association of Indiana

Heather Crossin
Hoosiers Against Common Core

Sheri Few
U.S. Parents Involved in Education

Aubrey Flaherty
Truth in Texas Education

Yvonne A. Gasperino and Glen A. Dalgleish
Stop Common Core in New York State

Christy Hooley
Wyoming Citizens Opposing Common Core
Citizens for Objective Public Education

Heidi Huber
Ohioans For Local Control

Janice Lenox
Concerned Citizens of Southern New Jersey

Shane Vander Hart
Truth in American Education

Betty Peters
Alabama State School Board Member
Truth in American Education

Joy Pullmann
Heartland Institute

Christel Swasey
Utahns Against Common Core

Erin Tuttle
Hoosiers Against Common Core

Jenni White
Reclaim Oklahoma Parent Empowerment

J.R. Wilson
Truth in American Education

Deborah Yoa
Concerned Citizens of Southern New Jersey

Monica Boyer
Kosciusko Silent No More
Indiana Liberty Coalition

Rick DeWitt
Montgomery County Tea Party

Diana Freeman
Boone County Tea Party

Paul Kilpatrick
Indianapolis Tea Party

Robert Hall
Grassroots Conservatives (Bloomington)

Ray Harney
Parke County Tea Party

Vivian Himelick
Fayette County Tea Party

Dwight Lile
Constitutional Patriots, Carmel

Margaret Niccum
Muncie 9/12

Al Parsons
Citizens In Action Lafayette

Randy Price
Coalition of Central Indiana Tea Parties

Janet Smith
Greenfield Tea Party

(Note: Affiliations listed are for identification purposes, not to indicate political or institutional endorsement.)

Sign the petition.

Trump’s Secretary of Education Short List


Who will run the U.S. Department of Education in Trump’s administration?

During the Presidential transition the President-Elect starts to put together his administration, and many wonder who President-Elect Donald Trump will appoint to become the Secretary of Education. Who he appoints will send a signal of whether it will be business as usual or if he means business when it comes to shrinking the federal role in education.

Outside of hoping he appoints no one (I’m not sure that’s a great idea while the U.S. Department of Education still exists). Here are some names that are floating out there.

The New York Times reports (Politico echoes this):

WFYI in Indianapolis said that at a Education Writers Forum held in DC on Monday these names were being thrown around by Vic Klatt, a principal of Penn Hill Group and former GOP staff director for the U.S. House Committee on Education.

  • Tony Bennett – ousted Indiana Superintendent of Public Education who later resigned as Florida Commissioner of Education after being investigated for fraud.
  • Congressman Luke Messer (R-Indiana) – serves on the House Education & Workforce Committee

Alyson Klein at Education Week speculated:

  • the list above and then adds Gerard Robinson who served as a Florida Education Commissioner and former Virginia Secretary of Education. Robinson currently serves on Trump’s transition team. He has also been a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

Brett Baier of Fox News floated these two names other than Carson:

  • Eva Moskowitz – the CEO and Founder of Success Academy Charter Schools
  • Michelle Rhee – Founder of Students First, former Chancellor of Washington, DC Public Schools

I wouldn’t know what to expect from a Secretary Carson. While he is a nice man, I think he would be out of his depth at the U.S. Department of Education. A Tony Bennett appointment would send all of the wrong signals that status quo will be maintained. I couldn’t take Trump seriously when he says he is against Common Core if he appoints a pro-Common Core advocate who lost his election in Indiana largely because of that support.

I don’t know much about Congressman Messer other than he is part of the committee that helped usher in the Every Student Succeeds Act and was a vocal advocate for it. No thank you.

Gerard Robinson’s time in Florida was marred with controversy when FCAT scores collapsed. He is also part of Jeb Bush’s Chiefs for Change. He isn’t the person I would be looking for.

Eva Moskovitz’s involvement with charter schools and the fact she’s liberal would sink her potential nomination as she would take flak from both sides of the aisle. Michelle Rhee pushes corporate school reform and is against parental assessment opt-outs, not to mention, is pro-Common Core. Yeah… no thanks.

I think the best candidate for the job would be Williamson Evers, who has been a staunch critic of the Common Core State Standards and its aligned assessments. I hope that he gets the appointment, and he has prior experience with the U.S. Department of Education which would be an asset I would think.

Perhaps under a Trump administration Evers will be the Secretary of Education who padlocks the front doors of a closed U.S. Department of Education, but I’m not going to hold my breath on that.

Update: Additional names added to the rumor mill. I want to emphasize these are just rumored to be on the list.

  • Tony Zeiss, a former president of Central Piedmont Community College
  • Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, now the president of the Purdue University System.
  • Governor Scott Walker (R-WI)
  • Hanna Skandera, the New Mexico Secretary of Education
  • Education activist Betsy DeVos
  • Education activist Kevin Chavous
  • Larry Arn, President of Hillsdale College

Out of these names, Dr. Arn is the only one I could get excited about. I don’t know anything about Zeiss, Daniels supported Common Core so no thanks.

Walker is a mixed bag. On one hand he was weak when it came to repealing Common Core on the other hand he could work to scale the department back. Too many question marks. Ms. Skandera is a supporter of Common Core.

I don’t know anything about Kevin Chavous, but I don’t think appointing an activist is the right way to go. Betsy DeVos… hell no.

Hoover Institution’s Bill Evers to Advise Donald Trump on Education

williamson_eversWilliamson (Bill) Evers, a research fellow for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, has been tapped to serve on Donald Trump’s presidential transition team as an education advisor should he win the election. In terms of how a Trump administration would handle education this is a good sign. Bill has been a friend of Truth in American Education and an outspoken opponent of the Common Core State Standards.

Education Week reports:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has picked Williamson M. Evers, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and Gerard Robinson, a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, to be on his presidential transition team for education, according to multiple sources.

Evers served as an assistant secretary for policy at the U.S. Department of Education from 2007 to 2009, and also was an adviser to former U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings in 2007 under President George W. Bush. Robinson served as Florida’s education commissioner from 2011 to 2012, and has also served as Virginia’s education secretary and as the president of the Black Alliance for Educational Options.

However, I don’t know anything about Gerard Robinson. If anyone from Florida or Virginia read this I’d appreciate you leaving a comment with information.

Drilling through the Core

white Book cover isolated on plain background

The Pioneer Institute this fall released a new book entitled Drilling through the Core: Why Common Core is Bad for America. It was edited by Peter W. Wood who also writes an introduction, and includes contributions by some of the country’s top education scholars, includingSandra Stotsky, R. James Milgram, Williamson Evers, Ze’ev Wurman, and more.

They describe the book this way:

Drilling through the Core analyzes Common Core from the standpoint of its deleterious effects on curriculum-language arts, mathematics, history, and more-as well as its questionable legality, its roots in the aggressive spending of a few wealthy donors, its often-underestimated costs, and the untold damage it will wreak on American higher education.

At a time when more and more people are questioning the wisdom of federally-mandated one-size-fits-all solutions, Drilling through the Core offers well-considered arguments for stopping Common Core in its tracks.

CSPAN recently covered Drill through the Core on Book TV you can watch the discussion here.  Watch the discussion and be sure to buy this excellent resource.

Notre Dame Common Core Conference Video

The American Principles Project (APP), the Heartland Institute and Pioneer Institute, co-hosted a one-day conference at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, Monday, September 9, 2013 to discuss the destructive implications of the Common Core Standards and the future of the education of America’s youth.

More than 200 people were in attendance at the sold out conference. Among the states represented were California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and West Virginia; most of which have strong grassroot movements fighting against the Common Core.

Leading experts addressed the conference on the changing landscape of the American education system and the implications of the Common Core Standards. Concerned citizens, many of whom are parents, joined in the discussion by sharing their experiences and concerns.

Below is a playlist of all of the videos from the conference.  Videos include (in the order of the playlist):

  • ND Common Core Conference Highlights
  • Sean Fieler – The Purpose of Education
  • Dr. Gerard V. Bradley – Opening Comments on Common Core
  • Emmett McGroarty – Common Core Restricts States Rights
  • Dr. Patrick Deneen – Education and America’s Founding Principles
  • Dr. Williamson Evers – Federal Role in Education
  • Jamie Gass – Common Core and School Choice
  • Jane Robbins – Common Core and Data Collection
  • Joy Pullmann – Federal Intrusion in the Classroom
  • Dr. James Milgram – Common Core Effect on Higher Education
  • Dr. James Milgram – Common Core Effect on Math Education
  • Dr. Megan Koschnick – Common Core is Developmentally Inappropriate
  • Dr. Sandra Stotsky – the Invalid Process of Common Core Development
  • Dr. Sandra Stotsky – Common Core English Language Arts Standards
  • Dr. Terrance Moore – Common Core and the Destruction of Literature
  • Ze’ev Wurman – Inadequate Research Base of Common Core
  • Heather Crossin – Parent Reaction to Common Core
  • Erin Tuttle – Parent Reaction to Common Core
  • William Estrada – Common Core and Private/Homeschools
  • Dr. Andrew Kern – Why Literature is Essential in Education
  • Dr. Keith Oatley – the Importance of Reading