Sen. Lamar Alexander: 'Let's Don't Talk About Common Core'
Under increasing pressure because of his support for the Common Core standards, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Saturday, “Let’s don’t talk about Common Core.”
“Let’s talk about standards,” Alexander continued. “Education is not just a problem in West Tennessee. It’s a problem in Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee.”
As the Jackson Sun reported, Alexander said, “I’d like to see a discussion about standards with no national school board,” continuing to cite an issue called the “national school board” that has never been put forward on either the federal or state level.
Alexander is being challenged by conservative state Rep. Joe Carr (R) for his U.S. Senate seat.
“Unfortunately for Senator Alexander, our campaign and grassroots conservatives throughout Tennessee are going to continue to talk about – and continue to fight against - Common Core,” said Carr in a press release. “His increasingly nonsensical attempts to change the subject won’t work and won’t fool a single voter.”
“Just like Obamacare, Common Core is Washington telling us what to do, and Senator Alexander is once again saying one thing and doing something else,” Carr added. “We want local control over how we teach our children, not uniform standards dictated by education bureaucrats.”
On March 13, the Tennessee state House voted 82-11 to delay the controversial Common Core standards and the aligned assessments for two years, despite Common Core champion Gov. Bill Haslam’s (R) warning to his GOP colleagues that repealing or delaying the standards would be “exactly the wrong thing to do.”
Last Wednesday, Alexander met with strong criticism for appearing with former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), another Common Core champion, in Nashville at an education roundtable event sponsored by the pro-Common Core Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and the recently formed Tennessee Business Partnership.
Alexander has supported the Common Core standards and also states he believes in “state-led” education initiatives, which Common Core proponents repeatedly describe the standards initiative to be, even though state boards of education were lured into adopting the standards through competitive Race to the Top grants that were part of President Obama’s stimulus legislation in 2009.
In addition, David Axelrod, former adviser to Obama, told an audience in November of 2013 that the Common Core standards were “an initiative of the Obama administration.”
Tennessee was one of 45 states that adopted the Common Core K-12 standards, a set of uniform but unproven academic standards and aligned curricula and assessments that allow for a greater presence of government in education, higher levels of social engineering, student data collection, and teacher evaluations based on student performance on the assessments.
The standards were developed by three private organizations in Washington D.C.: the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and progressive education company Achieve Inc. All three organizations were privately funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
There is no official information about who selected the individuals to write the Common Core standards. However, none of the writers of the math and English Language Arts standards have ever taught math, English, or reading at the K-12 level. In addition, the Standards Development Work Groups did not include any members who were high school English and mathematics teachers, English professors, scientists, engineers, parents, state legislators, early childhood educators, and state or local school board members.