The national standards known as Common Core are moving education in America in the opposite direction from solutions, Rep. Marlin Stutzman (R–Ind.) told The Foundry in an exclusive interview today.
“We need to get the federal government out of the education business,” Stutzman said during Conversations with Conservatives, a monthly gathering of House members hosted on Capitol Hill in conjunction with The Foundry.
“[My] constituents are not happy about the consolidation of education in Washington, D.C.,” Stutzman said afterward in The Foundry interview. “Common Core is playing right into that because President Obama would love nothing more than to take over our education system across the country and consolidate it into Washington and have it be run out of Washington.”
Stutzman’s state, Indiana, was one of the first to adopt Common Core education standards in 2010. Last summer, however, state legislators voted to “pause” implementation and evaluate whether the standards are right for the state. As The Foundry detailed yesterday in a Special Report, Indiana officials and consultants are struggling to write new standards, but finding it difficult to disentangle from the influence of Common Core.
>>> Check Out: A Crisis for Common Core in Indiana
The Obama administration incentivized use of Common Core by offering waivers to states implementing “college and career-ready standards”—Common Core automatically meets the definition—that would free states from the mandates of the previous administration’s No Child Left Behind law. The Obama administration also offered $4.35 billion in federal Race to the Top education grants to states, awarding them more points if they agreed to adopt common standards and assessments.
“Washington’s not the answer to the problem and Common Core’s not the answer to the problem; it’s actually decentralizing education and moving it out of Washington and actually back to states and local communities,” Stutzman said. “Again, I think the states are the solution to a lot of the problems that this country faces.”
A new draft of Indiana education standards released at the end of February met controversy and strong criticism from both active proponents and opponents of Common Core.
Stutzman said he is confident that even if adopting Common Core was a misstep, Indiana’s record on education is solid overall. The Heritage Foundation’s Lindsey Burke, the Will Skillman fellow in education policy, previously praised Indiana for expanding its voucher program, increasing transparency in schools, and implementing merit pay for teachers.
“This summer they’re probably going to set their own standards,” Stutzman predicted of state officials. “Indiana is on the right path, I believe, in setting standards that we know are going to benefit our kids and also our economy to fit the jobs that are needed that are there today and to make sure that people are equipped with the skills that are needed to perform those jobs.”
As The Foundry also reported yesterday, the Indiana State Board of Education was expected to discuss the issue, and possible delay of a vote on new standards, during today’s regular monthly meeting.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.