Wednesday, November 6, 2013


The Federal Hand behind Common Core
Crisis Magazine – Peg Luksik – 11/5/2013

In Pennsylvania’s Race to the Top Phase Two grant application, submitted in May 2010, the State Board of Education told the federal government that if they received the standards by June 2, 2010, they would adopt them by July 1, 2010.  They kept that promise, tying every public and charter school student in the Commonwealth to standards that they had not even seen when they made the commitment.

“Common Core is a state-led initiative.”  This sentence is among the most repeated pitch lines of those selling Common Core.  It is an effective sales pitch, but is it true?

The answer lies in the maze of money and regulation tying federal and state departments of education together.

The money trail for Common Core begins in 2009, with the passage of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, commonly called the Stimulus Bill.  Among the bill’s many provisions was a $53.6 billion appropriation to the U.S. Department of Education, called the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund.  Of that amount, $4.35 billion was set aside for the Race to the Top initiative.

States had to access the funds in a prescribed order.  First was the Stabilization fund program.

In order to receive these funds, states had to assure the federal government that they would adopt “rigorous college and career ready standards.”   The elements of the standards were dictated by the federal government in the America COMPETES Act, and as part of their application for Stabilization funds the states had to sign an assurance page that specifically required them to align their state programs to the language of that federal law.

The stabilization funds were awarded in two phases, with states submitting an application outlining their plans to adopt the standards to receive the first phase, and then submitting a progress report showing that they were actually completing those plans in order to receive the second phase of their stabilization grant.  THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION HAD TO APPROVE EACH STATE’S PLAN BEFORE PHASE TWO FUNDS WERE AWARDED, EFFECTIVELY GIVING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL OVER EACH STATE’S EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

States who had successfully completed the Stabilization grant process could then compete for Race to the Top funds.  This requirement was explained in question A-4 of Race to the Top Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions, published by the U.S. Department of Education on May 27, 2010.

Please check out the entire article for additional links regarding Common Core.

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