Sec. of Education Arne Duncan Explains What Dissatisfied States Can Do About Common Core

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told TheBlaze Friday that states are completely free to discard Common Core education standards.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan speaks to reporters during briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, March 14, 2014. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Several states are reviewing the implementation of Common Core, the k-12 English and math standards that have been adopted by 45 states and Washington, D.C. However some of those states are experiencing buyer’s remorse.

This week, the Indiana legislature sent a bill to the desk of Gov. Mike Pence to pull out of the Common Core standards, while the Tennessee House of Representatives took a similar vote this week on a bill to delay the Common Core standards for another two years, which is likely to pass the Senate.

TheBlaze asked Duncan during the White House press briefing Friday to comment on the final approval in the Indiana legislature.

“They absolutely have the right to do this,” Duncan told TheBlaze. “This is a state-led effort; it always has been, always will be. And whatever Indiana decides, we want to work with them to make sure that students have a chance to be successful.”

[sharequote align=”center”]“They absolutely have the right to do this.”[/sharequote]

The Common Core standards were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officials. The Obama administration supports the standards. Critics believe that the Department of Education’s “Race to the Top” grants are coercing states to adopt the standards.

Indiana included language in the bill to allow the state to craft Indiana-specific standards
that would limit the risk that state schools would lose out on federal funding, the Associated Press reported.

However, losing out on federal funding is something that concerns Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell.

“We are delaying the testing and the testing of teachers,” Harwell told TheBlaze. “It passed overwhelmingly in the state House. We are concerned about losing federal money if we choose not to go forward. But the legislature has concerns about whether this is a truly tested program.”

Unlike Pence, who is expected to sign the bill dropping Common Core in Indiana, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam urged the legislature not to pass the bill.

Several other states are reviewing the implementation or considering dropping the standards. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has appointed special state committees to review the implementation of the standards.


This ad will close in 5 seconds