Common Core has infiltrated all fifty states even though several governors initially rejected those federally promoted standards. Numerous governors who regret funding and supporting Common Core have promised to repeal the federally aligned standards. Time has shown that those governors have simply renamed the standards. Therefore, the solution to the problem rests with the citizens of each state.
State governors and legislators can refuse to fund any aspect of federal programs imposed upon their state. They can demand that the U.S. Department of Education be required to bring all policy issues to Congress before imposing them on the states, and they can demand that federal level legislators protect state autonomy in education. Governors and legislators have unfortunately bowed to federal pressure concerning Common Core. Citizens are in the best position to protect their children. Only citizens can prevent Common Core from being implemented in their local schools.
Texans rejected Common Core originally, yet Women on the Wall held a National Conference on Education in Austin, Texas, to address processes for eliminating Common Core from their schools. These federally aligned standards were introduced at the district level and wear a variety of new names including CSCOPE. Even though the governor rejected Common Core and refused to fund the program, their schools are infected with federally aligned standards and testing.
Many legislators from both parties have tried to eliminate the U.S. Department of Education, the source of most major initiatives which fail our children and undermine the quality of our educational system.
Fairness requires us to recognize the fact that legislators would dissolve the DoED if their constituents supported the effort. If the Common Core Standards and all future federal educational policies are to be stopped, citizens must provide financial and personal support to all legislators willing to neuter the DoED.
The process could begin by removing cabinet status from DoED and by requiring it to return to its original mission: accumulating statistics and being a source of information to the states. No longer should the DoED be allowed to write policy and impose that policy on the states.
Legislators could demand that the federal government no longer be allowed to tax citizens for federal educational policymaking. The millions of tax dollars removed from the states to implement discretionary and mandatory spending on DoED policies should be returned to the states and the funding for the department should be cut. Legislators could leave just enough funding to cover the cost of gathering data and disseminating that data to the states.
The basic principle of conservatism is to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution, the state constitutions, and state autonomy in education. When conservative legislators refuse to dissolve the U.S. Department of Education, they are ignoring a most basic principle of conservatism.
Conservatives must be willing to work with Democrats who also resent the overreach of the DoED. “Bad Ass Teachers Association” and “Dump Duncan” created by Professor Mark Naison advocate protesting high stakes testing which they claim attack teacher autonomy. They recognize that both political parties are responsible for causing this problem and should be responsible for solving the problem.
Additional support for reigning in the DoED could come from groups like The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Their president believes the DoED is exercising unilateral executive authority as they attempt to federalize teacher-preparation programs. AACTE prefers that Congress be required to deliberate and act on issues of this importance. Limiting the power of the DoED is a goal of the AACTE. Getting along with those who share conservative views occasionally will advance conservatives as being solution driven.
Parents and citizens are the key to eradicating federal overreach. Conservative leaders who work with groups like BATS and AACTE would be able to gain support from a broad base of liberals and conservatives to curtail the DoED, to return autonomy to the states, to allow teachers to function as professionals, and to make it easier for parents to exercise local control of schools.