I consider George Will an “establishment conservative” for the most part, but that doesn’t mean he fails to give us great analysis. Recently, he gave an interview to The Daily Caller and attacked Common Core.
“Common Core is often called a state based, non-Washington organized enterprise. Well, sort of,” Will explained. “It’s driven in no small measure by funding and encouragement from the Department of Education, which should go away. It inevitably – inevitably – will drive curriculum.”
“The president will say, ‘if you like your curriculums, you can keep them, period.’ Don’t believe him,” he continued. “They are already aligning the SAT and ACT tests with the expectations of the Common Core standards. If there is a quintessentially state and local responsibility, it is education, grades K through 12.”
I’ve already written about why I think “conservative” arguments for Common Core don’t make sense. It is especially unrealistic to claim that these standards have been adopted “locally.” As I wrote,
But the pretense that Common Core are state voluntary standards and not Federal is rather insufferable. American Thinker exposed this back in 2010:
As an incentive, states that adopted the Common Core by August 2, 2010 greatly improved their chances of receiving a share of the $4.35-billion Race to the Top federal grant. The strategy worked: most states adopted the standards. However, only nine states and the District of Columbia were actually awarded the money. All ten of those winners had adopted the standards.
As a penalty, states that failed to adopt the Common Core risked losing funding from Title I, a $14.4-billion program that provides funds for low-income students. Most school districts participate in the Title I program.
Being constrained by Federal rewards and penalties is not a voluntary situation for any state in the union.
I’m glad to get confirmation from George Will. “If there is a quintessentially state and local responsibility, it is education, grades K through 12.” If Will can see that, I think any conservative should be able to see it.
But how does this comport with even having a Department of Education? Now that it is involved in an obvious move to circumvent the law and centralize the curriculum, conservatives need to work toward abolishing it.