Peter Cunningham, the former assistant secretary for communications at the U.S. Department of Education, served under outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. He called U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s victory lap over the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act that reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act “misleading” in an article at the Education Post.
(Alexander) begins an op-ed in the Tennessean with the outlandish claim that he ran for reelection last year on a promise to “repeal the federal Common Core mandate and reverse the trend toward a national school board.”
Sorry, Senator, but there never was a Common Core mandate so your new law can’t repeal what didn’t exist.
There was an incentive to adopt “college- and career-ready” standards in the Obama administration’s Race to the Top grant program and some conservative pundits and politicians viewed this incentive as “coercive.” But it wasn’t a mandate. It was voluntary and 46 states and D.C. leaped at the opportunity to compete for those dollars by adopting higher standards.
Ironically, the new law that the senator from Tennessee is so proud of, the Every Student Succeeds Act, now mandates the very thing he rails against. Under the new law, every state must adopt “college- and career-ready” standards. Thus, the new law all but guarantees that Common Core State Standards—or a reasonable imitation under a different name—will likely remain in place in most states.
This is exactly what we’ve been saying all along.