GOP Colludes with White House in Education Takeover
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. | January 14, 2016
In the face of growing outrage over the Republican support of Obama’s radical agenda to nationalize and dumb down education, lawmakers are scurrying to convince voters the Every Student Succeeds Act, actually prevents the federal government from forcing states to adopt Common Core while reducing the federal role in education.
Yet the official White House website admits that ESSA “affirms” the path taken by the Administration to impose Common Core on the states. Obama’s Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, has been gloating about how the administration colluded with Republicans to pass a 1,061 page bill that codifies Common Core into federal law.
In the House of Representatives, Democrats voted unanimously for the bill while all but 64 Republicans supported them. In the Senate, GOP leadership drove the bill through with total Democrat support and all but 12 Republicans voting for ESSA. (Click here to see House votes – Click here to see Senate votes)
It is possible that some Republicans did not understand the far reaching consequences of the bill for education and for the future of America, but it is for certain that Republican leadership and establishment did.
The truth about the bill was well known in the USDOE. Chief of Staff Emma Vadehara told a group of state legislators that ESSA now embeds “College and Career Ready Standards” (an alternate name on Common Core website) and that the U.S. DOE “does not expect any states to get away from the standards.” Vadehrea also admitted the bill “solidifies the Department’s plans for full pre-K expansion.”
Democrats certainly understood what was at stake. During the House proceedings prior to the vote, Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, made the stunning statement that Common Core is being redefined as social-emotional learning, which must come first in the learning hierarchy -- with academics ranking second!
“I believe this bill helps us get back to redefining what the Common Core is. In my estimation the Common Core is – are we teaching kids mental discipline? The ability to be aware, the ability to be focused, the ability to cultivate one of the key components to a successful life and that is the ability to regulate your own emotional state. This comes well before science, technology, engineering and math. Teaching these key fundamental characteristics: mental discipline, physical discipline, focus, concentration, self-regulation – key components before you even get to the academic side. I believe there is a new way of educating our kids emerging here, there is a new Common Core developing and that is the mental discipline and the physical health of our young people.”
Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin confirmed in a prepared statement that he was proud “the legislation includes language to help expand and make the teaching of social and emotional learning [Common Core] more effective!”
Peter Cunningham, former assistant Secretary for Communications to Duncan, wrote that ESSA mandates the very thing condemned by Alexander. “Under the new law, every state must adopt “college-and-career-ready” standards. Thus, the new law all but guarantees that Common Core State Standards—or a reasonable imitation under a different name—will likely remain in place in most states.”
In an interview with Politico Pro, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan gloated over the brazenness of the GOP to violate their oath of office to uphold the U.S. Constitution, which denies the federal government any control over education. “I’m stunned….at how much better it ended up than either [House or Senate] bill going into conference. I had a Democratic congressman say to me that it’s a miracle — he’s literally never seen anything like it.”
Duncan admitted they are embedding Common Core in the law for the first time in our nation’s history: “[I]f you look at the substance of what is there . . . embedded in the law are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever. The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there – early childhood, high standards [i.e., Common Core], not turning a blind eye when things are bad. For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.”
Regarding Lamar Alexander and John Kline, Duncan said, “We had many, many conversations behind the scenes….And I said for us to support it, they’d have to shed their far, far right [i.e., constituents who support the Constitution and oppose Common Core]….I honestly didn’t know if they’d have the political courage to do that. But they both said they would and they did. I give them tremendous credit for that.”
Duncan told of his encounter with Paul Ryan, “About a month before, I ran into Speaker Ryan and we just talked briefly. I asked if he was going to back this, whether he’s willing to take on the far right. I just asked him straight up. And said, ‘Absolutely. We’re going to back this.’ And, he did. That’s when I thought it had a real shot.”
Duncan described how Lamar Alexander, John Kline, and Paul Ryan asked the administration to remain quiet about the bill while they deceptively slipped in the Administration’s policies. “We were intentionally quiet on the bill – they asked us specifically not to praise it – and to let it get through. And so we went into radio silence and then talked about it after the fact. . . . Our goal was to get this bill passed – intentionally silent on the many, many good aspects of the bill . . . [W]e were very strategically quiet on good stuff . . . .”
This is evidence that, while Republican lawmakers were telling Americans the bill was reducing the federal footprint on education, GOP leadership knew all along they were implementing Obama's radical agenda.
Duncan said, by outsmarting Republican, the federal government now has the power to implement Common Core…Duncan’s sole purpose all along!
“The final thing is we have every ability to implement, to regulate the law. . . it’s just a Washington typical storyline. . . . And candidly, our lawyers are much smarter than many of the folks who were working on this bill. There are some face-saving things you give up, some talking points you give up, which we always do because we’re focused on substance. And we have every ability to implement. That’s all I’ve ever wanted.”
And the American people are receiving a huge tax bill to fund Arne’s dream.
The GOP’s betrayal of the American people and their refusal to uphold the Constitution is nothing less than treason.