Arne Duncan Battles California for Control of Education and Common Core


If you want to know what the thugs in Washington are capable of, look at Common Core and Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s reaction to California bill AB 484.

The bill will suspend data collection of K-12 student achievement based on the standardized testing for one year while they overhaul the tests. It is a simple and sensible move by California’s education department, but Arne Duncan will not allow the state to do it. He has threatened them with the loss of federal aid.

California wants to replace the standardized testing with a Measurement of Academic Performance and Progress (MAPP) for one year.

What has always been the right of the states is now completely and suddenly usurped by the federal government.

If you think you will maintain control over education under Common Core, you are wrong and this move by Duncan should make that obvious.

Supposedly, Common Core was the brainchild of the states. Obviously that is more clearly seen for what it is now –  untrue.

Arne Duncan is in essence seizing control of the educational system. Nationalized education is becoming a reality. What he is telling us is that we can believe we have the freedom to do as we wish in our individual states as long as it agrees with Washington. As soon as it doesn’t, he will show his true colors. This decision is a states right, not his.

Arne Duncan

Satirical photo of Arne Duncan as The Dictator

California doesn’t want a replay of what happened in New York with the overwhelming majority of New York students failing because the tests are inadequate. Children are being hurt by the testing but children are not coming first in our new reality.

These tests are linear and the instruction they engender actually prevents children from developing critical thinking skills, but Washington will not be deterred.

Arne Duncan’s reaction to the bill came out in a press release on Monday:

“A request from California to not measure the achievement of millions of students this year is not something we could approve in good conscience. Raising standards to better prepare students for college and careers is absolutely the right thing to do, but letting an entire school year pass for millions of students without sharing information on their schools’ performance with them and their families is the wrong way to go about this transition.”

“No one wants to over-test, but if you are going to support all students’ achievement, you need to know how all students are doing. If California moves forward with a plan that fails to assess all its students, as required by federal law, the Department will be forced to take action, which could include withholding funds from the state.”

State Superintendent Tom Torlakson replied to the federal government’s opposition:

“Our goals for 21st century learning, and the road ahead, are clear. We won’t reach them by continuing to look in the rear-view mirror with outdated tests, no matter how it sits with officials in Washington”

“We look forward to the opportunity to make our case to the Administration when the time comes. When we do, we hope they agree that withholding badly needed funds from California’s students would be a grave and serious error.”

It is a mystery how Duncan expects them to prepare for Common Core if he withholds funding.

AB 484 can be downloaded here