U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has made a series of misleading comments on the Obama-backed Common Core “education” standards, falsely suggesting that the nationalized and even globalized schooling scheme is no longer a threat to Americans. In fact, despite some marketing gimmicks aimed at placating outraged parents with name changes, Common Core remains firmly entrenched across America.
Basically, DeVos is spreading the same deception as establishment Republicans in Congress did. They have all claimed that the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which Obama Education Secretary Arne Duncan said put Obama’s entire education agenda into federal law for the first time, got rid of Common Core. Or, as DeVos put it recently in a radio interview, the ESSA effectively does away “with the notion of the Common Core.”
Speaking recently on Fox, DeVos echoed those comments, saying the ESSA, “in the process of being implemented now, essentially does away with the whole argument about Common Core.” “Each state can set the standards for their state,” DeVos added. “They may elect to adopt very high standards for their students to aspire to and work toward. That will be up to each state to be able to ascertain what is right for that state. We hope that all of them will have very high expectations.”
Her claims about each state being allowed to select their own standards are technically true — that has always been the case, as the feds have no constitutional power over state and local education except what they can achieve via bribes and bullying. But in reality, the ESSA she claims abolishes Common Core actually purports to grant massive power to the Education Department, including the power to approve or deny approval for whatever standards a state selects, with multiple segments of the bill suggesting that only Common Core or something very similar would be approved.
According to a map produced by Education Week tracking the national standards , 36 states and Washington, D.C., still have the entire Common Core in place. On top of that, nine states made a few minor modifications — mostly cosmetic, meaningless changes such as slapping a new name on the scheme — and kept virtually all of it. Even in the states that never adopted it, the standards have been creeping in.
In short, far from going away, Common Core remains as deeply entrenched in the United States today as it did the day Obama left office. If Trump is going to keep his promise to voters to end Common Core, it is going to take a lot more than a few bogus statements from DeVos to get that done.