Obama Conspires to Keep States Hooked on Common Core Years After He Leaves Office


Pete Souza / White House

Just days after I suggested that the best way to stop Common Core was for Congressional Republicans to prohibit federal education waivers, the Obama administration has invited states to renew their current waivers through the 2018-2019 school year. In effect, this is a not-so-subtle attempt to keep states hooked on Common Core for years after President Obama leaves office.

As I explained previously, the federal government was never supposed to have anything to do with Common Core, the national education curriculum standards devised by the National Governors Association. But Obama, who likes having his hands in everything and isn't so hot on federalism, instructed his Department of Education to incentivize states to adopt the standards. These incentives took the form of federal grant money through the Race to the Top initiative and regulatory waivers that exempted Core-compliant states from burdensome No Child Left Behind Act requirements. More than 40 states received waivers at some point.

Increasing numbers of parents, teachers, students, and local activists of the left, right, and center all despise Common Core and the disruption it has created in classrooms. But state legislatures have every reason to keep the standards—if they don't, their states will no longer be considered committed to the goal of "college-and-career-ready standards," and punitive NCLB requirements will kick in.

Now that Republican foes of Common Core have power in U.S. Congress, they should abolish the waivers and take Obama out of the game. It's a move that even Common Core's supports are okay with.

DOE's latest announcement that it would like states to renew their waivers should serve as a good reminder of why it is so critical for Republicans to strip the executive branch of this power. Otherwise, Obama could dupe the states into codifying his misguided education policies far beyond the end of his second term.

More from Reason on Common Core here.