BOOM! Common Core Is OUTTA HERE! Or is it?


In a recent interview on Fox News’ America’s Newsroom U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos made the statement “there really isn’t any Common Core anymore” in the country’s schools.

This caused a few eyebrows to raise as they looked for further clarification on her statements.


DeVos said in the interview –

 “The Every Student Succeeds Act [ESSA], which is in the process of being implemented now, essentially does away with the whole argument about Common Core.
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Each state can set the standards for their state. They may elect to adopt very high standards for their students to aspire to and work toward. That will be up to each state to be able to ascertain what is right for that state. We hope that all of them will have very high expectations.

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To alleviate some confusion – one needs to break apart exactly what the ESSA is.  DeVos, in the first part of her answer about the standards, states the common-core debate has died down because ESSA leaves decisions about standards up to states. ESSA was passed in 2015.


This is a true statement, though it was also technically true before ESSA. Common Core was HEAVILY incentivized and states were strongly coerced through monetary incentives to the detriment of students, but not technically required by law.

While DeVos states in response to Hemmer’s follow-up question, that “there isn’t really any common core anymore,” isn’t exactly accurate.  As of late 2016, there were still at least 37 states used the common core at the time. While the number of states “officially” using the Common Core standards has dropped significantly over the past 6 years or so, and many states have abandoned the standardized testing aligned with Common Core standards, the standards are still used in many states. Still other states have simply rebranded the Common Core curriculum calling it by alternate names, but still implementing the core principles of the program loathed by many parents and teachers alike.

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This wide proclamation of the repeal of Common Core is based on the portion of ESSA that states –

 “The federal government is prohibited from … Mandating, directing, controlling, coercing, or exercising any direction or supervision over academic standards that states develop or adopt, including Common Core State Standards.”

President Donald Trump has said repeatedly he wants to end the common core. But as it currently stands that would require a change in federal law. In order to completely do that, it would involve withholding money from the majority of states, something that ESSA would seem to prohibit. ESSA also requires every state to submit its education plan for approval to the U.S. Department of Education, again requiring federal oversight.

Education scholars and parent activists assert that the ESSA neither repeals Common Core nor prohibits DeVos or her successors from coercing states into adopting the standards. ESSA in its current form actually does the opposite in that it keeps states anchored to the hated and controversial education program.

Jane Robbins, an American Principles Project (APP) education fellow states –

Within the other 1,060 pages of ESSA lurk the provisions that will keep states in Common Core, or something that looks very much like Common Core.”

Indiana parent activist Erin Tuttle wrote at The Pulse 2016 –

 “The Secretary won’t have to mandate anything because the other parts of the bill contain the requirements for … ‘high standards,’”

“High standards” is a phrase that has come to refer to Common Core.

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BOTH Robbins and Tuttle emphatically state of ESSA and how it is simply a re-packaging of Common Core the following –

This means that for all intents and purposes state plans and standards will be forced to coordinate with federal statutes, therefore, forcing them for all practical purposes to keep Common Core.

ESSA also states –

Each State shall demonstrate that the challenging academic standards are aligned with entrance requirements for credit-bearing coursework in the system of public higher education in the State and relevant State career and technical education standards.”

Robbins and Tuttle respond to this portion of the ESSA by asserting –

This is simply another way of saying states must have ‘college- and career-ready’ standards and as made clear by the U.S. Department of Education’s own materials, ‘college- and career-ready’ means Common Core.

President Trump spoke earlier this month reiterating his commitment that  “we have to end Common Core.”  Many believe that this shows President Trump has not forgotten his promises to end Common Core and to return control of education back to state and local control where it belongs.  His leadership is vitally important if we are to see this child destroying program ended.


God Bless.

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