After what critics viewed as waffling on his campaign pledge to end the Obama-backed national Common Core standards and restore local control of education, President Donald Trump reiterated this week his desire to abolish the controversial K-12 schooling scheme and get the federal government out of education. Speaking at his CEO Business Town Hall, Trump praised his U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos and said the process of ending Common Core was underway. However, with Devos suggesting falsely that Common Core was “essentially” eliminated under an unconstitutional 2015 statute dubbed a “Christmas miracle” by Obama, critics and analysts were left scratching their heads.
At the CEO town hall meeting with business executives near the White House, President Trump sounded a lot like candidate Trump, who made eliminating the widely criticized Obama-backed “education” regime a centerpiece of his campaign. “Common Core, I mean, we have to bring education more local,” Trump said at the event. “We can’t be managing education from Washington.” In fact, on the campaign trail, Trump went even further. Echoing Ronald Reagan when he was campaigning for president, Trump repeatedly touted the possible elimination of the unconstitutional U.S. Department of Education altogether. So far, though, little progress has been made on any of those fronts.
But if Trump’s latest comments are any indication of his plans, Common Core — imposed on state governments using bribes and bullying by the Obama administration — will eventually be dismantled. “When I go out to Iowa, when I go out to the different states and I talk, they want to run their school programs locally and they’ll do a much better job,” Trump continued, wondering why children were getting through school unable to read. “And I like the fact of getting rid of Common Core. You know, Common Core, to me, we have to end it. We have to bring education local, to me. I’ve always said it, I’ve been saying it during the campaign, and we’re doing it.” How exactly it was being done, however, was not clear.
Instead, Education Secretary Devos recently claimed — falsely — that an unconstitutional statute known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) “essentially does away with the notion of a Common Core.” In reality, the controversial statute does the opposite, cementing Common Core into place and purporting to give the federal government veto power over a state’s education standards, among other illegal extremism. In fact, the statute entrenched Obama’s radical education schemes into federal “law” for the first time’ in history, granting the feds unprecedented (and illegal) control over education under the bogus guise of returning power to the states.
Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, bragged about it after it was all said an done. “I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it,” Duncan said, echoing Obama’s “Christmas miracle” rhetoric in reference to the legsialtion. “If you look at the substance of what is there … embedded in the law are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there — early childhood [education], high standards [Common Core], not turning a blind eye when things are bad. For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.” Duncan also boasted of conspiring with the establishment wing of the GOP to betray conservatives and pass the scheme.
DeVos, of course, has attracted fierce criticism from across the political spectrum. Liberals, teachers’ unions and other Big Government-supporting federal supremacists were horrified by her nomination, imagining that she might stop allowing government schools to be used to indoctrinate children with religious humanism and progressive ideology. Others claimed she would “privatize” education by unleashing more government funding of charter, private, and religious schools — something studies show tends to crowd out truly private and independent schools in favor of government-controlled schools that teach Common Core.
DeVos said government schools were so bad, she was not sure how they could get much worse. But far from “essentially” doing away with Common Core, DeVos has surrounded herself with sycophants of leading Common Core promoter Jeb Bush. Despite the warnings of conservative groups such as the Heritage Foundation not to unconstitutionally make the “school choice” agenda into a federal program, DeVos also appears dedicated to doing precisely that — usurping more unconstitutional power over education rather than reducing the federal boot print on schools as promised by Trump throughout his campaign. Even many of Trump’s most dedicated supporters have expressed frustration and fury over what is happening — or not happening — on the education front.
On the other side, establishment media voices were spreading easily discredited falsehoods of their own. Writing in the far-left Los Angeles Times, for example, Joy Resmovits falsely claimed that Common Core was not a federal initiative. In the real world, the federal government funded the organizations that created Common Core, funded the creation of the Common Core testing regimes used to enforce compliance, bribed state governments into imposing Common Core, and more. The LA Times writer also deliberately misled readers by claiming the “learning goals” are “used by several states,” and that the scheme was aimed at bringing “more depth to classroom learning.”
In the real world, almost every state eventually caved into federal pressure and bribes by adopting the scheme, with over 45 having formally adopted it and others doing so under the radar. And far from bringing more “depth” to “classroom learning,” Common Core actually does the opposite. Dr. Sandra Stotsky, who was the only English Language Arts subject-matter expert appointed to the Common Core Validation Committee, explained that under Common Core, “literary study is reduced and the opportunity for kids to develop critical thinking skills is reduced.” Unsurprisingly, she refused to sign off on the standards, and now works hard to expose them. The only math expert on the committee, Dr. James Milgram of Stanford, pointed out that some of the mathematics standards were even based on incorrect math. He also refused to sign off.
But not all education activists have lost hope when it comes to the Trump administration. “More than any other President — or even presidential candidate — ever, Donald Trump has empathized with our citizens, particularly parents, who have seen firsthand the damage done by federal efforts to shape and dictate education policy,” said American Principles Project senior fellow Emmett McGroarty in a statement cited by Breitbart News. “Today’s comments show that President Trump has not forgotten his promise to end Common Core and return to local control of education.”
According to McGroarty, a longtime opponent of Common Core and the federalization of education, Trump seems to be taking seriously his Inaugural Address pledge to transfer power from Washington, D.C., back to the American people. But it will be a long and tough battle. “Every Swamp creature will unite to fight against the president on this, so his leadership will be critical,” he said about the fight against Fed Ed. “We look forward to seeing what steps the Trump Administration will take in the coming months to take power away from Washington D.C. and return it to parents.”
Some longtime activists in the field have pointed out that, ironically, much of the deranged leftist hatred against Trump is actually a result of liberal indoctrination in federally guided public schools that are “anti-American” and “anti-Christian.” “We saw that many young people supported Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed Socialist for President,” said conservative Sheri Few, a leading education activist working against Common Core who is running for Congress in South Carolina’s 5th district special election. “I know young people who are in love with Communism and you have to ask yourself, why does this younger generation think these forms of principles and these forms of government are good and America’s is bad?”
The problem, she continued, is caused by “what we’re allowing to be taught in public schools.” “It’s anti-American, anti-Christian and it needs to stop,” added Few, who noted that the federal government has no constitutional role in public education. “It is liberal indoctrination and until we put an end to that, we’re going to see the younger generation wanting Communism for our country.” One of the crucial solutions is to shut down the U.S. Education Department completely, an effort Few has helped lead for years as an activist, mother, and political candidate.
On the campaign trail, Trump pledged unequivocally and repeatedly to kill Common Core. He cannot do it on his own, of course, but he can lead the way. In fact, without federal pressure and incentives, the almost universally reviled “standards” scheme developed by establishment globalists would wither and die on its own. The best way for Trump to kill Common Core is to simply shut down the unconstitutional U.S. Department of Education entirely — an idea he touted repeatedly on the campaign trail.
There is already a bill introduced in Congress would do that just that, H.R. 899, by the end of next year. With support from Trump, the longtime conservative goal of restoring the Tenth Amendment in education could finally become a reality, sending Common Core and the Education Department to the ash heap of history’s terrible and destructive schemes. But to compete against the swarms of special interests and establishment globalists hoping to federalize and globalize what today passes for “education,” the American people must loudly and clearly demand an end to Fed Ed. Now, as repeatedly promised on the campaign trail, Trump should help lead the way.
Photo of President Trump speaking at CEO town hall meeting, April 4, 2017
Alex Newman is co-author of Crimes of the Educators, a teacher at the FreedomProject Academy, and a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU or on Facebook. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org