WASHINGTON DC - The Common Core curriculum standards debate raised its head at the U.S. Capitol this week when during a hearing on the President's budget priorities Illinois Congressman Randy Hultgren asked a question of a White House official.
Hultgren pressed the Director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), Dr. John Holdren, about possible coercion by the Administration to force states into adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in education.
“There is raging debate in my home state and across the country about the adoption of the Common Core State Standards and whether or not it they are wise and sufficient to bring us up to the level of competitiveness our country has pursued,” said Rep. Hultgren. “I would like to know what role OSTP has had in consultation with stakeholder communities, federal agencies and the states in advancing math curriculum for Common Core.
“These standards were purported to be a state-led effort—that is was through the actions of the states, and not the coercion by the federal government, that they adopted these standards. But when I talk to my educators and local officials back in my district, they are only seeing this as a top down initiative. Now it is getting to the point where our schools are feeling as if they are being coerced into adopting these standards or their funding will get cut off. That kills the ability to collaborate and focus our education system on our kids.”
Holden responded to Hultgren's question saying the OTSP did not have a role in the Common Core standards, but that he would look into it.
Last year Rep. Hultgren hosted an education summit in his home district on the Common Core. After hearing from summit participants and doing ongoing research into the issue, he has become greatly concerned about efforts by President Obama and his administration to lure or force states into adopting the Common Core education standards.
He has since become an original co-sponsor of H. Res. 476, a House resolution which denounces federal coercion of states into adopting the standards.