South Carolina has become the second state to officially dump the Obama administration-pushed national education standards known as Common Core, which have sparked an unprecedented uprising among teachers and parents that transcends traditional political divides and partisanship. Republican Governor Nikki Haley, a vocal critic of the controversial education plot, signed the legislation last week and is already receiving widespread praise for the move. Still, some opponents of Common Core are warning that the battle in South Carolina is not finished yet.
While officials in some states have attempted to deceive voters by simply re-branding Common Core, the South Carolina law includes a mechanism apparently aimed at preventing such deception. Among other actions, the new law prohibits participation in the Common Core-aligned federally funded national testing regime being rolled out across America — a crucial component of the agenda. It also mandates legislative approval for any and all school standards created outside of South Carolina.
Supporters of the bill said that provision should help prevent bureaucrats from simply copying and pasting the dubious national scheme and giving it a new name — a scam that has Indiana activists up in arms after the “new” post-Common Core standards in the state turned out to be largely the same ones pushed by Obama, Big Business, and Bill Gates. However, activists in South Carolina warned that Common Core might not actually be dead in the state just yet.
Under the recently adopted law in South Carolina, for example, the state education department must create new standards that are so-called “college and career ready” — a contradictory and perhaps even oxymoronic term employed by the Obama administration in deciding which states would be showered with unconstitutional bribes funded by U.S. taxpayers. Originally, the only state governments to obtain the lawless Obama funding were the ones that adopted Common Core and the accompanying student data-mining regime.
Analyst Dillon Jones with the anti-Common Core South Carolina Policy Center told the Daily Caller that his organization was hoping for a stronger law to guarantee the demise of what many critics now call “ObamaCore.” The new law is “better than the status quo” because it at least offers an opportunity to kill Common Core, but parents, teachers, and taxpayers must remain vigilant, he explained. Common Core will also remain in place until the new standards are ready and approved next year.
“Until states stop taking the federal money, they’re going to do what the federal government wants them to do,” Jones continued, adding that state educators and officials may be reluctant to risk the Obama administration’s bribe funding by refusing to comply with unconstitutional federal decrees on education. “They might adopt new standards, and they might not call it Common Core, but it’s still Common Core.”
Lawmakers who backed the bill and grassroots Common Core opponents in South Carolina admitted that the law may not be perfect, and that work to kill the scheme must continue. Still, they said it was a major step in the right direction. Because the measure leaves a great deal of power over standards with the state’s school superintendent, however, analysts said what happens with that office could be crucial. A spokesman for Gov. Haley said the governor would fight Common Core “until it’s no longer part of our school system’s curriculum.”
Despite the ongoing concerns, the victory for opponents of the controversial nationalization of schooling in South Carolina energized activists across America and drew widespread applause. “Governor Haley and the legislature have taken the first step toward pushing back against the federal government and special interests and putting South Carolinian citizens back in charge of their children’s education,” said Emmett McGroarty, director of education at the American Principles Project. “This is a great day for America’s constitutional heritage.”
In a statement, the organization said Common Core was a federally mandated curriculum developed by privately funded institutions, such as the Gates Foundation. As The New American has also documented extensively, education experts — including the content experts selected to sit on the Common Core Validation Committee — have blasted the controversial standards from all angles.
Among other concerns, critics say the scheme is age-inappropriate and inadequate, with multiple experts saying Common Core will dramatically decrease critical-thinking skills. Common Core-linked assignments publicized in the press have been drawing ridicule and furious criticism from all over the nation. Especially troubling to many opponents, though, is how the national-standards plot strips parents, teachers, and communities of the ability to control local education.
Education expert and attorney Jane Robbins, a South Carolina native and a senior fellow with American Principles in Action, celebrated the law as a good start in fixing the problems. “This encouraging action by the South Carolina legislature and Governor Haley makes it possible for South Carolina parents and other citizens to reclaim their rightful control over education,” she said. “If South Carolina wants to improve its public education, buckling under to the mandates of outside parties who have failed at every initiative they've ever tried is not the way to do it. We look forward to South Carolina's adoption of standards that are demonstrably superior to Common Core.”
Other states are also battling Common Core. Missouri lawmakers, for example, recently passed a “compromise” bill on Common Core that would mandate the development of state standards by educator work groups. Both pro- and anti-Common Core forces celebrated the bill, however, which has many activists opposed to the national education regime very suspicious. The legislation is currently awaiting a decision by the Democrat governor, who promised to review it carefully.
Across America, a veritable grassroots army of parents and teachers from all points on the political spectrum has joined forces to fight back against the special interests seeking to foist the widely criticized national standards on children. On one side are everyday citizens — educators, taxpayers, liberals, conservatives, moms, and dads. On the other is a powerful coalition of establishment forces that includes RINO politicians, billionaire population-control zealot Bill Gates, the Obama administration, Big Business, and more.
With the latest victories, analysts say the tide is shifting in favor of citizens. The law in South Carolina was approved just days before GOP Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, who chairs the federally funded National Governors Association that was partly responsible for Common Core, signed a bi-partisan law banishing the scheme and requiring the development of new standards for the state. Like in South Carolina, some Oklahoma activists warned that citizens need to remain vigilant to ensure that Common Core is not simply re-branded and imposed anyway. Still, the fast-growing grassroots coalition opposed to the dubious national standards was enthusiastic about the recent progress.
Analysts and activists say the developments in Oklahoma and South Carolina are just the beginning. With Common Core quickly becoming a punchline for comedians and a toxic liability for politicians, proponents of locally controlled, high-quality education are increasingly optimistic that real reforms to improve schools could emerge. Indeed, the unprecedented focus on education in recent months offers a tremendous opportunity.
Despite the momentum, there is still a great deal of work to be done if Americans hope to reclaim education from the out-of-control establishment that has so clearly failed America’s children. The importance of fixing the problem cannot be emphasized strongly enough. The future of America and its unique system of constitutional self-government literally depends on it.
Photo: South Carolina flag
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at