Sen Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) dismissed the notion that Common Core was a decision made by state educators, saying the federal government pressured most states to adopt the K-12 math and English standards.
Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) talks with reporters outside the Senate chamber in the U.S. Capitol Nov. 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C. (Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla)
“In order to get Common Core adopted quickly in the 50 states, it was tied to Race to the Top money,” Grassley said in a radio interview on the Tea Party News Network, referring to the multibillion Education Department initiative that awarded states federal dollars for implementing certain programs. “A lot of states thought they would get a lot of money. Not more than a dozen actually did. But, they accepted the principle of Common Core. Also, if states wanted waivers from No Child Left Behind, it also involved Common Core."
He continued, "From that standpoint, it’s the pressure of Washington to bring about Common Core as a national approach. Quite frankly, it shouldn’t have been done that way.”
Grassley said if the education standards were really an option for the state governments, they should be allowed to adopt without pressure or rewards.
“Let’s allow people to make up their minds about the substance of Common Core,” Grassley said. “If states want to adopt it, that’s their business. But, it shouldn’t be crammed down their throat by the secretary of education in Washington, D.C., using federal money.”
Common Core, while backed by the Obama administration, is not a formal federal policy, but was established by the National Governors Association and the Council for Chief State School Officers.
“They adopted this and, to make it look like it was state-oriented and coming from the grassroots up, I think maybe it’s easier to sell that until you start looking into where the roots of it happened, basically here in Washington, D.C,” Grassley said.
“I don’t think the governors and chief states school officers were as involved as they want us to believe,” he added. “Even if they were, the fact that its tied to federal dollars and having the federal government having conditions for those federal dollars adopting Common Core, you get back to the establishment of curriculum based upon national testing. In the end, subverting the 10th Amendment and usurping what is definitely not just a constitutional state right, but as a practical matter ought to be a state right.”
Indiana is the first state to repeal the standards altogether, though several other states of the 44 that adopted it are considering a repeal.
"Our country is so geographically vast and our population so heterogeneous that policy made in Washington, D.C., doesn’t fit New Hartford, Iowa, where I’m from, the same as New York City," Grassley said.