Arne Duncan goes DC

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There was/is the big push to centralize health care. Now centralize academic standards? Yesterday, speaking to the National Governors Association President Obama made it clear that he now is ready to open up a second front in centralizing authority within the federal government.

When he originally proposed improving academic standards, the President promised a “state-generated” set of common standards that states would adopt voluntarily. Yesterday, the façade of voluntary adoption fell, and instead President Obama and US Education Secretary Duncan made clear that they would now tie Title I funds for K-12 schools to coerce states to adopt the standards proposed by the Common Core State Standard Initiative.

So, essentially, the federal government has decided that it needs a takeover of two of the policy areas that have generated most antipathy to market solutions and reform. We now have generationally important Tenth Amendment issues opened on two fronts—the prospect of centralizing health care and education policy.

Why would Massachusetts and its localities, after $90 billion in spending and implementing the highest academic standards in the nation, after running to the top of the heap nationally, after proving itself competitive with the best nations in the world on math and science, adopt proposed national standards that look like West Virginia’s?

The answer is, we won’t. Not if we have any say. This is just the federal government thinking it knows best but doesn’t.

Attached is a press release and our new report, Why Race to the Middle?, a report, issued jointly by Pioneer Institute (MA) and the Pacific Research Institute (CA).