Common Core Disagreement Generates Ed Secretary Rebuke

Published March 12, 2012

As South Carolina and Utah consider legislation to step back from Common Core education standards, citing local-control concerns, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan released a statement accusing Core critics of promoting a “conspiracy theory.”

“The idea that the Common Core standards are nationally imposed is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy,” he said.

The standards, a list of grade-level learning requirements in math and language arts, were coordinated by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers using federal funds.

“The statement was a not-so-veiled threat that South Carolina would lose out on federal grants and [chances] to receive waivers from impossible-to-satisfy NCLB requirements if it followed through with a proposal to withdraw from Common Core,” noted Jay Greene, a professor of education reform at the University  of Arkansas. “If it is purely voluntary, why the need for threats and intimidation from the Education secretary?”

South Carolina’s S.604 would block the state from implementing the standards. It is likely to stay stuck in committee this session. Utah’s Senate Education Committee approved two bills to confirm state control over using and implementing the Core.

—Staff Reports

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