WikiLeaks: Hillary Clinton Calls Common Core a ‘Political Failure’

WikiLeaks emails revealing remarks from a paid speech Hillary Clinton gave in July of 2014 show the now-Democrat presidential nominee referring to the Common Core standards as simply a “political failure” by a “bipartisan group of governors” who neglected to have a plan for “explaining it and selling it to people.”

Clinton’s remarks were part of a speech she gave at Knewton, Inc. in San Francisco, and for which she was paid $225,500.

During her remarks, Clinton takes the position many Common Core supporters of both major political parties and the teachers’ unions have espoused: that the social justice reform was “state-led” and “bipartisan,” but was merely “implemented” incorrectly. She further states that the failure of Common Core developers to think through the politics of the education program allowed conservative grassroots parent and taxpayer groups to organize against it.

According to the WikiLeaks email, Clinton referred to conservative parent activists who have charged that the Constitution provides for no federal role in education as those “who don’t think anybody should be told anything about what to study, even if it’s the multiplication tables,” and who say “that should all be left to local control.”

Clinton said:

The common core is a perfect example. I mean, the common core was negotiated by a bipartisan group of governors. And maybe they thought – I mean, I think this was a political failure because they negotiated something and they had no real agreed-upon program for explaining it and selling it to people so that they left an opening for those who were always in the education debate, who don’t think anybody should be told anything about what to study, even if it’s the multiplication tables. You know, that that should all be left to local control. And then you get into more complicated areas, as we all know, that that’s just totally off limits.  And then using common core results for teacher evaluation when everybody knew that it was going to be complicated to implement.”

Ironically, in the same speech, Clinton also acknowledged:

[U]nless you’re a governor or maybe a mayor who has authority over your schools, there’s not really very much that most politicians can do because of the way our system of education is governed. Obviously, local school boards, colleges and universities, they have separate governance. And we don’t want politicians interfering too much in the independence of the governance of education.

However, in a recent town hall geared to women and young people, Clinton, with her daughter Chelsea in tow, presented her view of cradle to grave federal intrusion into a “life of Julia” for girls and women. Clinton is a major supporter of federal assistance for pregnancy and pre-natal care, universal pre-K, childcare, paid family leave, free college tuition and student loan forgiveness, and for single payer, government-sponsored health insurance.

Clinton wants taxpayers to fund abortions for women of black and Latino ethnicity as well.

Interestingly, the chancellor at University of California, Berkeley says Clinton’s plan to provide free college tuition to students is a campaign pledge that is unlikely to ever be implemented.

Professor Nicholas Dirks says Clinton’s plan would invite unprecedented federal control over university-led research.

“I would love to see the Clinton administration come and make college free for students coming from families earning less than $125,000,” Professor Nicholas Dirks says. “But I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

“[I]f such a thing came to be, there would be a real concerted effort to control parts of some of the great research institutions that are public in ways that might compromise their capacity to compete at the highest level,” he added, noting as well that implementing Clinton’s plan would be a “complicated political process” since state governments oversee universities.

Just as with No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top – the latter of which gave us Common Core – Clinton’s “New College Compact” revolves around the federal government incentivizing states with federal money and perks in return for debt-free tuition for lower income students.

Writing at Forbes, George Leef asserts what Dirks observes: that Hillary Clinton can’t “fix” college with more federal interference and control. Leef notes that Clinton’s objective of launching more low-income students into college contains “two mistaken beliefs”: “that the cost of attending is the main reason why many students from non-wealthy families don’t graduate from college and that getting a college degree would be very beneficial to them.”

Leef first notes that, although the cost of college has indeed risen, other low-cost options are available, such as community college – the expense for which can often be covered by Pell grants. He also says, “[W]hen people shop around for higher education, almost no one is completely priced out.”

Leef points out, however, that cost is not the primary reason lower income students don’t seek out college.

“The main reason why most don’t enroll isn’t the cost, but rather because they aren’t academically prepared for or (even if academically prepared) interested in devoting more years of their lives to formal schooling,” he says. “Trying to lure such individuals into college with free tuition is a bad idea.”

Unlike Clinton – who continually urges more federal spending in education as the nation’s best “investment” – Leef states, “The economy does not automatically create more ‘good jobs’ simply because more college graduates enter the labor market.”

“Government policy aimed at ‘producing’ more graduates will only mean more young people who are over-credentialed for the work available,” he explains. “America doesn’t have a shortage of people with college degrees. What it does have is a shortage of jobs that pay well. Unfortunately, the Clinton plan would make that problem even worse.”


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