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.

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