Sen. Grassley: Stop Federal Funds, Coercion on Common Core

Published April 18, 2013

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley wants the federal government to stop funding Common Core, national K-12 education goals in math and English.

Late yesterday afternoon, his office released a letter Grassley wants his Senate Appropriations Committee members to sign, supporting a ban on all federal “attempts to cajole states” into Common Core and its corresponding national tests, wrote James Rice, Grassley’s legislative assistant, in an email. 

These attempts include, Rice said: 

  • Making adoption of Common Core a prerequisite for a state even being able to compete for federal Race to the Top grants
  • Directly funding the two groups developing [national] tests aligned to Common Core using Race to the Top funds
  • Assembling a panel to review the work of the two assessment consortia
  • Making implementation of Common Core or coordination with Common Core a funding priority for other, unrelated competitive grants administered by the Department of Education
  • Making participation in Common Core essentially a prerequisite for being awarded a waiver from the Department of requirements in the No Child Left Behind Act.

President Obama has included continuing funds for the two national tests in his most recent budget, although three federal laws prohibit the national government from controlling or reviewing the content of curriculum and tests. Currently, federal funds are the only ones supporting the two national testing groups, and those are slated to run out this summer. 

The decision about what students should be taught and when it should be taught has enormous consequences for our children. Therefore, parents ought to have a straight line of accountability to those who are making such decisions. State legislatures, which are directly accountable to the citizens of their states, are the appropriate place for those decisions to be made, free from any pressure from the U.S. Department of Education,” Grassley wrote in the letter. 

He noted that Common Core was originally billed as a voluntary initiative between states, but federal efforts since have “clouded the picture.” 

Update, 4:45 p.m. ET: In response, “We have nothing to say,” said Jim Bradshaw, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education. He could not say whether the department would respond in the future, either. 

Image by Gage Skidmore.