Effort to Separate Federal Funds and Common Core

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Nate Robson

Nate Robson

April 8, 2014

Both of Oklahoma’s senators are among a cadre of lawmakers asking that the U.S. Department of Education stop tying federal funding to the implementation of Common Core standards and related curriculum.

The U.S. Department of Education has been a supporter of Common Core State Standards, and has included their adoption as criteria for federal Race to the Top grants.

Oklahoma has never won Race to the Top funds, but Republican Sens. Jim Inhofe and Tom Coburn are part of a push to end the practice.

Oklahoma adopted the Common Core standards in 2010.

“Decisions about a child’s education need to be made in the PTA and school board meetings being held by the parents and teachers who love and care for our youth, not by the federal government,” Inhofe said in a written statement Tuesday.

A letter asking for an end to the practice was sent Friday to Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., a ranking member of the subcommittee on labor, health and human services. The letter asks that the prohibition be included in the 2015 Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Bill.

In addition to Inhofe and Coburn, Senate supporters include Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Thad Cochran, R-Miss.; Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.; and John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Legislation is pending in the Oklahoma Legislature that would repeal the Common Core standards. Gov. Mary Fallin, who previously supported the benchmarks, has said she would sign the repeal.

That bill, HB 3399, has passed both the House and Senate. It is currently pending final approval by the House before going to the governor.

Nate Robson can be reached at nrobson@oklahomawatch.org

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