[Editor's Note: Bill Evers, a member of the State Executive Committee and State Central Committee of the California Republican Party, introduced a party resolution on Common Core at this past weekend's CA GOP Convention.]
Across America, parents, teachers, and politically-active community members are asking questions about a program in public schools called Common Core. Skepticism about the Common Core national curriculum-content standards first surfaced when they were published and adopted (with federal pressure) in the space of a few weeks in the summer of 2010. The original skeptics were those who were dissatisfied with the academic rigor of the standards. (Standards are a list of topics K-12 students are expected to learn in each grade.)
Skepticism quickly spread to constitutionalist conservatives. Constitutionalist conservatives did not like that a cartel of states (with support from the Obama administration) was taking over curriculum nationwide. Constitutionalists want local control and want to preserve and re-vitalize our Madisonian system of competitive federalism, in which different states do different things and compete against each other to attract people and businesses.
Such competitive federalism helps protect our liberties and results in polices that better match voter preferences and state conditions. In the opposition to Common Core, proponents of academic quality and constitutionalist conservatives have been joined in a right-left “strange bedfellows” alliance with proponents of teacher autonomy, who see testing and test-based teacher evaluation as an attack on the professional status of teachers.
Tea party groups are among the grassroots constitutionalist conservatives who have come to oppose the Common Core. Randall Jordan from San Luis Obispo is a Tea Party Caucus member in the California GOP state Central Committee. He drafted a proposed resolution, which I modified. Randall agreed with my modifications. The Resolutions Committee unanimously approved of our revised proposal and sent it to the convention floor. The convention overwhelmingly passed our resolution “to oppose and eliminate’ Common Core education polices in California on Sunday morning, Oct. 6.
Bill Evers is a member of the State Executive Committee and State Central Committee of the California Republican Party. He is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. He is a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education for Policy in the administration of President George W. Bush.
Resolution ( F2013-2) to Oppose and Eliminate Common Core Education Policies in California
Whereas the federally-promoted Common Core national curriculum-content standards in math and English (and now the related Next Generation national standards in science) water down what has been expected academically of California’s K-12 students;
Whereas the Common Core tests will collect extensive data on students, and the Obama administration has turned upside down federal regulations that previously protected student privacy;
Whereas Common Core is accompanied by federally-funded tests, and the Obama administration’s promotion of national standards and national tests violate federal statutes that protect us against a national K-12 curriculum;
Whereas Common Core and Next Generation are national efforts at one-size-fits-all uniformity and, as such, go against our system of competitive federalism under our American Constitution; Now, Therefore Be It
Resolved, by the Republican Party in convention on Oct. 6, 2013, in Anaheim, California, that the Republican Party call on state legislators, the State Board of Education, and local school board members to sever ties with, not participate in, or align with Common Core and Next Generation when it comes to adoption of standards, teaching materials, or tests.
(Co-authored by Randall Jordan & Bill Evers)