LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Common Core will be supported by federal funding

Tuesday, May 27, 2014 | 12:32 p.m. CDT; updated 2:37 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 27, 2014

University of Missouri School of Journalism Professor Emeritus George Kennedy wisely advises that facts should trump ideology in discussion of such important public issues as the Common Core education standards.

Unfortunately, Prof. Kennedy did not follow his own counsel in aiming partisan barbs at certain Republican critics while drawing his “facts” exclusively from the website of the Washington-based trade groups that literally own the copyright for Common Core and constantly shill for it. (“Conservatives, Common Core critics put ideology above facts,” May 22, Columbia Missourian)

Kennedy cites this assertion from as if it were the final word: “Federal funds have never and will never be used.”

That is a falsehood. In March 2009, the U.S. Education Department (USED) unilaterally decided to set up a $4.35 billion Race to the Top for money-starved state school boards – using Obama stimulus stash – with a prime criterion being a state’s promise to adopt common standards that were just then being drafted.

The Obama USED committed another $360 million for two consortia to develop national tests aligned with Common Core, plus last year it initiated grants ranging from $4 million to $30 million for local school districts that will commit to such Common Core priorities as comprehensive collection of student data from preschool through higher education.

Yes, contrary to the Kennedy column, national tests and a national database are in the works. It is unfortunate that he chose to display his ideological leanings instead of searching for readily available facts.

Robert Holland is the senior fellow for education policy at The Heartland Institute in Chicago.

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George Kennedy May 27, 2014 | 2:43 p.m.

As I wrote, no federal funds have been used in the creation of the Common Core standards. Contrary to the implication of Mr. Holland's letter, no federal funds are being used in the implementation of the standards at state or district levels. My understanding is that the funds and programs to which he refers are or will be complementary to the standards but not part of them.

The main point of my essay was and remains that the Common Core was developed by professional educators and is being attacked by professional ideologues.


(Report Comment)
Skip Yates June 6, 2014 | 6:48 p.m.

gk...yep, but you missed the point of his letter entirely, didn't you? There are no federal funds expended "directly" at common core; but, there is 4.5 billion dollars plus in federal "prize" money for those that do. You, sir, are the blind ideologue!

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