Alabama Democrat Doug Jones Would Push for Common Core-Type National Standards

Collage of Common Core billboard and Doug Jones smiling
Associated Press

Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones says the federal government should set national education standards – such as Common Core – that would enforce states’ accountability for any federal taxpayer education dollars received.

During an interview in July with Alabama Political Reporter (APR), Jones was asked:

Should the federal government be ordering the states to adopt national education standards, such as No Child Left Behind, Common Core, or Every Student Succeeds Act or should the states be given the freedom to run their own education systems without Federal interference?

Jones responded that while states have some freedom in education, he thinks that “there is a role for the federal government in many ways.”

Using the same argument Common Core proponents have put forward for years, Jones claims Americans are a “mobile people,” and that children should receive the same curriculum in public schools as they move around the country.

“People move from place to place,” Jones said. “There is a national interest in setting some minimal standards so that a child in Alabama gets the same education as a child in New York. Federal standards would involve accountability and consistency from state to state and system to system.”

While many military officials bought into the original claims of the one-size-fits-all Common Core for military families, Breitbart News reported in 2015 that more military families were actually choosing homeschooling over curricula fueled by Common Core, claiming the Core was “cookie-cutter education” and focused mostly on “teaching to the test.”

In his interview with APR, Jones also alluded to the popular claim among Common Core supporters that the Core was “state-led” and not promoted by the federal government: “So many of the standards you talked about bubbled up from the states, from the governors and the local school systems,” he said. “It gets political when the Federal government says that is a good idea. All those ideas started at the local level.”

The National Governors Association is one of the owners of the Common Core standards. Many governors – even of GOP-led states – rejected their constitutional responsibility to keep the federal government out of their states’ education policy. These governors were enticed by federal dollars offered in former President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill to sign onto uniform standards, student data collection systems, and teacher evaluation plans.

Jones demonstrated that he trusts federal oversight more than the more local state-run management when APR asked him about the prospect of the federal government’s block-granting taxpayer funds to states; he replied, “In Alabama quite frankly people ought to be very jaundiced about letting state officials decide how to spend a block of money.”

Jones faces Republican candidate Judge Roy Moore in a special election on December 12 to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Moore’s views on federal involvement in education are the polar opposite of Jones’s views.

The former Alabama Supreme Court justice says it is time to end the federal government’s involvement in education and allow parents to take the lead in how best to educate their children.

“Education has always been in the purview of the parent,” explained Moore in a recent video message posted to his Twitter account. “They know best how to educate their children,” he continues. “The states have various forms of education, but the federal government has no involvement in education under the Constitution.”

Moore continued:

The federal government should have no involvement in education. Common Core is an example of an attempt to indoctrinate our children with ideas that most people – at least in Alabama – don’t agree with. And yet it’s pushed on us by using our own tax money to buy our children over. And I think that’s very wrong. I oppose Common Core. … It’s a very bad thing … and I think it should be stopped in Alabama.

“I would have no problem with it being turned back to the states,” Moore added. “I think the competition between the states is good, and I think they will improve their educational systems.”

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