Mitt Romney on the Common Core

Mitt Romney was asked about the Common Core Standards at the Education Nation Summit yesterday.  Here is what he had to say when asked by Brian Williams, “what do you make of the Common Core?”

You know, I think it’s fine for people to lay out what they think core subjects might be and to suggest a pedagogy and being able to provide that learning to our kids. I don’t subscribe to the idea of the federal government trying to push a common core on various states.

It’s one thing to put it out as a model and let people adopt it as they will, but to financially reward states based upon accepting the federal government’s idea of a curriculum, I think, is a mistake. And the reason I say that is that there may be a time when the government has an agenda that it wants to promote.

And I’m not wild about the federal government having some kind of agenda that it then compensates states to teach their kids. I’d rather let education and what is taught state by state be determined state by state, not by the federal government.

Later an audience member, who was a former New York City school teacher, asked him, “since so many states have already adopted (the Common Core), what resources would you give our states and our teachers to actually implement this successfully for our children?”  Romney responded:

Well, the states have adopted it and they’d one so on their own. And if they’ve adopted it freely and think it’s a good program, why, they should be able to implement it. We developed our own core in the state of Massachusetts. We implemented it on our own. And we’re able to outdrive our kids to be number one performing in the nation.

I don’t happen to believe that every time that there’s a good idea that comes along the federal government should now finance the implementation of that. We certainly didn’t. States have responsibility for the education of their children, their respective borders.

And I’m not looking for more federal spending. I mean, I know it is the nature of politics for someone in my position to promise more free stuff, to say we’re going to get more — we’ll send money, we’re going to do this, and people say, boy, he really cares about education. I really care about education.

I care so much about our kids that I don’t want to saddle them with trillions on trillions of dollars of debt when they come out of school. And so I’m just not willing to add more spending to get people happy with me.

I’m willing to say, say look, education is done at the state level, the federal government provides funding for special needs students and low-income students. But in terms of implementing the common core, if you’ve chosen it, congratulations, work on it and do it within the resources of your own state.

Romney, in my opinion, doesn’t go quite far enough when considering a Federal role in education (in that there should be no federal role), but he has been consistent in his answers on the Common Core.