Sen. David Vitter’s (R-LA) office told Breitbart News on Sunday that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) blocked out legislation attached to the “CRomnibus” bill that would have stopped the federal government from mandating that states “adopt specific academic standards, including the Common Core standards.”
In a press release on Monday, Vitter announced that his legislation would instead be an amendment to the federal spending bill just passed by Congress. The measure, titled the “Local Control of Education Act,” would have permitted “states that do not accept the Common Core standards to still qualify for federal grants and contracts currently limited to states that are in compliance with the standards.”
“I’ve fought tooth and nail for local control of education and against the enormous growth of federal power under President Obama,” the statement read. “That includes prohibiting the federal government from mandating, coercing, or bribing states to adopt Common Core or its equivalent. My legislation would get rid of the federal government’s ability to force states into adopting federal standards.”
The Obama administration granted states that adopted Common Core standards waivers to the restrictions of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) federal law.
According to the press release:
Vitter’s legislation would ensure that any state with an existing waiver will remain eligible to opt of out NCLB as long as it has strong standards in place. His bill would also make these states eligible for Race to the Top grant funding, which has only been offered to states in compliance with Common Core standards.
As Breitbart News reported last week, Vitter, who intends to run for governor next year, did a turnabout on his position regarding the Common Core standards. After coming out in strong support of them during the summer, Vitter now states he opposes the controversial education reform.
“After listening to literally thousands of parents, teachers, and others… I don’t believe that we can achieve that Louisiana control, buy-in, and success I’m committed to if we stay in Common Core,” Vitter said. “Common Core is controlled by national groups and interests outside Louisiana. And many Louisianans legitimately fear that it will become a federal government takeover of education under President Obama and his far-left allies.”
Recently, the state of Oklahoma had its waiver from NCLB restored, returning to the state its flexibility to use its $29 million in public school funding after a battle between the Department of Education and the state in the wake of its repeal of the Common Core standards and Oklahoma’s return to its former PASS standards.
The state lost its waiver from NCLB restrictions because it no longer met the federal government’s requirements for standards that are satisfied, in its eyes, by the Common Core. However, Oklahoma was ultimately able to show that its PASS standards could serve as a substitute for the Common Core standards.
Nevertheless, conservatives opposed to the Common Core standards in their states believe the “waivers” granted by the U.S. Department of Education are symptoms of the overreach of the federal government.
“It just galls me that our Oklahoma leadership will say — almost in a single breath — how they detest federal government intervention in Oklahoma education, but then laud the return of our waiver!” wrote Jenni White, parent organizer of Restore Oklahoma Public Education (R.O.P.E.).
“How does getting a federal waiver from mandates Oklahoma should not have to follow (according to the Constitution) in the first place constitute getting ‘…the federal government’s politics’ out of the way?” White asked. “The entire federal education ‘reform’ agenda is NOTHING BUT politics.”
“Parents should be mortified, frankly, at the education ‘reform’ measures being thrust upon our state from on high,” she added. “School administrators and state leaders may be happy Oklahoma was issued a pass to go back under control of the federal government, but parents and students cannot possibly be.”