Holland: Constitution Violated with Common Core

Letter to the Editor, Clarion Ledger, April 23, 2015

Even if the Common Core state standards had been adopted in a legal and democratic fashion, and were of high intellectual quality, the effect of centralizing education in a highly diverse nation would be destructive. That said, evidence mounts that the adoption process for Common Core and linked national tests violated the U.S. Constitution and specific laws prohibiting federal meddling in curricula.

In a potentially landmark case discussed in Jackson recently, a Missouri circuit court judge recently ruled the Show Me State’s membership in one of the two multi-state consortia (SBAC and PARCC) that created Common Core’s tests violated Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution, which prohibits any state from entering into “any Agreement or Compact with another state” without Congress’ approval. Congress never authorized a Common Core collaboration of any kind. (“Common Core consortia illegal, attorney says,” March 27.)

That is just one of numerous legal challenges that CC could face. For instance, the U.S. Education Department acted outside the bounds of its authority in using federal stimulus money to buy states’ CC participation and then in essentially rewriting federal law to keep states in the enforcement web. Common Core opponents ought not overlook the judiciary as a source of relief from this ill-conceived movement to nationalize education.

Robert Holland, Senior Fellow for Education Policy

The Heartland Institute, Chicago

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