Obama’s Education Takeover

Back to July 2012 Ed Reporter

Book of the Month

Obama’s Education Takeover, Lance T. Izumi, Encounter Books, 2012, $5.99.

Most Americans don’t know it, but the Obama administration has worked hard to get control over your child’s education. It has done so illegally, at taxpayer expense, and in ways that most people — including lawmakers — are unaware of.

Lance Izumi’s newest volume is a valuable resource for anyone who wants to understand the administration’s Common Core State Standards (CCSS). CCSS have wrenched education decision-making power away from parents and granted it to federal officials. Izumi, who is senior director of education studies at the Pacific Research Institute, outlines the problems with CCSS in Obama’s Education Takeover.

Izumi explains that the CCSS, which were part of the Race to the Top (RTTT) portion of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will mean the illegal and expensive implementation of a national curriculum. He explains the various illegalities simply but thoroughly in a brief and easy-to-read volume that will prove useful to those who want to restore local control over education.

All but a few states have already agreed to use the new CCSS, even when this means lowering their existing academic standards. They have done so for a chance to get federal grant money, not realizing that the cost to implement CCSS will far outweigh any possible grant dollars. California and Massachusetts, writes Izumi, agreed to lower their existing language and literature standards in order to take on CCSS and qualify for RTTT money. Though California will not receive any of these funds, it still must spend hundreds of millions of dollars to implement CCSS.

When one Eagle Forum member asked how the state of Wisconsin will pay for CCSS implementation, Donald F. Smith III, budget and policy analyst at the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, said,

. . . there are several states that received federal Race to the Top dollars that are developing resources specific to the CCSS. Our understanding is that these resources will be “open source,” i.e., available for free to any school district, charter school, or private school that wants to utilize them.

Wisconsin officials mistakenly think CCSS will cost nothing. If Mr. Smith had read Mr. Izumi’s research, he would have known that the California Department of Education estimates it will cost $759 million to implement CCSS in California. It may be too late for states to back out of CCSS, but it’s not too late to let lawmakers know how harmful the new standards will be.