Just one day after U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) appeared with Common Core champions former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) at an education roundtable event, Alexander sent out an email to voters with a headline that read, “No National School Board,” and a message that left out the words “Common Core.”
Alexander, who is fighting to hold onto his Senate seat, appears to be urging voters to notice that he is against the formation of a “National School Board” and will vote against it when the measure is raised. The problem is, there is no “National School Board” issue on the table anywhere.
“Say No to a National School Board,” Alexander states on his website as well and adds:
In June 2013, Lamar Alexander introduced a Better Schools Plan — the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act”– to stop Washington from deciding whether schools and teachers are succeeding or failing.
Under this plan states will be free to set their own high standards and tests for students in reading, math and science. And states would not have to send their education plans to the Secretary of Education for his approval. On June 12, 2013 Lamar also voted to defend states’ rights regarding Common Core education standards.
If you believe that Tennesseans can make better education decisions for our children than Washington ever could, please sign on to stand with Lamar today!
Ironically, Alexander’s bill, the “Every Child Ready for College or Career Act” contains a phrase similar to the Common Core slogan: “college- and career-ready” standards.
Alexander is being challenged by conservative state Rep. Joe Carr (R), who is definitively opposed to the Common Core standards.
“Senator Alexander has been in Washington for too long, and he is mistaken if he thinks he can confuse voters with this sort of dishonest rhetoric,” Carr said in a campaign press release.
“As he stands with Common Core activists, including former Governor Jeb Bush, and is asked about Common Core, he changes the subject to the idea of a ‘National School Board,'” he added. “There is no ‘National School Board’ and there is no serious proposal to create a ‘National School Board.’ If Senator Alexander wants to champion local control he should join me in the fight against Common Core and stop his pretend fight against a ‘National School Board.'”
Alexander joined Bush and Haslam for the Nashville event Wednesday that was sponsored by other avid supporters of Common Core – the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Tennessee Business Roundtable, and the recently formed Tennessee Business Partnership.
Alexander has voiced support for education initiatives that are “state-led,” another popular Common Core talking point repeated by supporters to counter criticisms that the Obama administration lured states into adopting the standards with Race to the Top stimulus funds in the 2009 stimulus bill.
While taking part in the pro-Common Core event in Nashville, Alexander also said, “Washington, D.C. should keep its sticky fingers off state education standards.”
The event, which was held at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, was closed to the general public and available only to invited guests and media.
Bush’s visit to Nashville came as Common Core supporters–many of them Republicans–are stepping up an intense national campaign to salvage the standards from criticism by grassroots groups of parents, students, teachers, and taxpayers.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which last year received $1.3 million in funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to promote Common Core, has launched an ad campaign with other business groups. At the same time, Gates, who has spent upwards of $170 million on implementation of the initiative, has been interviewed on national television to defend the controversial standards.
Bush told reporters that critics of Common Core are spreading “myths” that the standards are part of a federal takeover of education.
“I know it’s hard when you go back to your districts when you hear these things,” he said. “You’ve got to stay the course on higher standards and higher expectations.”
The Tennessee state House voted 82-11 last week to delay the controversial Common Core standards for two years through the use of a parliamentary procedure, despite Gov. Haslam’s warning to his GOP colleagues that repealing or delaying the standards would be “exactly the wrong thing to do.”