Lawmaker Crafting Bill to Allow States to Opt Out of Common Core

The enthusiasm level for Common Core Standards among the states that have already committed to adopting them is waning, The Washington Free Beacon reports. Yet their get-out-of-CCS-free card could be on the way thanks to New Jersey’s Representative Scott Garrett, who will be reintroducing the LEARN Act to allow states to opt out of adopting Common Core.

Although 45 states have either adopted or are in the process of adopting Common Core in some form, critics of the standards continue to believe that they represent a federal government incursion into the area that is best left to the states. Speaking at the briefing set up by The Cato Foundation, Neal McCluskey of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom acknowledged that Common Core is not a federally mandated curriculum, but is nevertheless designed to take some of the solutions out of the hands of the states and local districts.

The Obama administration in 2009 pushed states to embrace the standards in order to receive a grant through the federal program known as Race to the Top.

Proponents say the Common Core was developed in a yearlong, bipartisan process by state leaders, not the federal government.

“Local school boards have had, and will continue to have, discretion in how to work with their schools and educators to teach those higher objectives – from the text they use to the teaching techniques they employ,” Gov. Jack Markell (D., Del.) wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Monday. “The difference is that the expectations for a high school junior in Delaware will be the same as in California.”

Markell used military families as an example of those who are hurt by varying educational standards across the country. According to Markell, students who move from a less advanced school system to one that is more rigorous are more likely to struggle to catch up, yet eventually they can manage to thrive regardless of the academic preparation they had before.

Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation says that a common curriculum comes with its own consequences, as a one-size-fits-all curriculum can make it difficult for teachers, schools and districts to identify and craft solutions that best meet the individual needs of their students.

Burke says unifying curriculum is insufficient because it exasperates the problems of the nation’s educational system by preventing teachers and parents from choosing what is best for students individually.

“The paramount concern for us with Common Core is that it further entrenches the federal government into what is taught in our nation’s schools,” Burke said. “Such intervention is zero sum game. Every inch the federal government takes comes is at the expense of state and local control over education.”