Three Observations About Betsy DeVos’ Speech at AEI

By Shane Vander Hart - Posted at Truth In American Education:

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos spoke at the American Enterprise Institute conference yesterday and reading through her prepared remarks, discussing education reforms by President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama, here are three observations.

1. Common Core is far from dead.
"Where the Bush administration emphasized NCLB’s stick, the Obama administration focused on carrots. They recognized that states would not be able to legitimately meet the NCLB’s strict standards. Secretary Duncan testified that 82 percent of the nation’s schools would likely fail to meet the law’s requirements — thus subjecting them to crippling sanctions. 
The Obama administration dangled billions of dollars through the “Race to the Top” competition, and the grant-making process not so subtly encouraged states to adopt the Common Core State Standards. With a price tag of nearly four and a half billion dollars, it was billed as the “largest-ever federal investment in school reform.” Later, the Department would give states a waiver from NCLB’s requirements so long as they adopted the Obama administration’s preferred policies — essentially making law while Congress negotiated the reauthorization of ESEA. 
Unsurprisingly, nearly every state accepted Common Core standards and applied for hundreds of millions of dollars in “Race to the Top” funds. But despite this change, the United States’ PISA performance did not improve in reading and science, and it dropped in math from 2012 to 2015. 
Then, rightly, came the public backlash to federally imposed tests and the Common Core. I agree – and have always agreed – with President Trump on this: “Common Core is a disaster.” And at the U.S. Department of Education, Common Core is dead.

Sure, the U.S. Department of Education is not actively pushing Common Core, they don’t need to. The standards and assessment consortiums don’t need to be funded anymore. The damage is done.

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