Republican schools superintendent nominee Joy Hofmeister today criticized the Obama Administration’s penalization of Oklahoma for its repeal of Common Core.
Here’s her statement:
“In revoking our ESEA Waiver before the current academic standards review
process could be completed by our State Board of Regents, the Obama
administration has rushed to penalize Oklahoma for the repeal of Common Core.
“This is an example of a punitive overreach by the federal government that shows
a lack of caring for our students, and I consider it an outrage to penalize
students and children simply because the Obama administration is angry that our
state has chosen to chart it’s own course on educational standards.
“This is a classic ‘Big Brother knows best’ approach.
“It is the right of a state to chart its own education standards. I have
confidence in our State’s Board of Regents and their process to review our
academic standards. It is unfortunate that the Obama administration has shown a
lack of willingness to work with Oklahoma children, their teachers and their
“I have full confidence in our teachers’ ability to navigate standards and focus
on student learning. However, the redirecting of funds away from our school
classrooms to outside supplemental providers is a terrible waste of our taxpayer
dollars. I witnessed this waste in the early years of No Child Left Behind.
Our children cannot afford to lose teachers and classroom funding due to this
required diversions of funds. It’s wrong and our children deserve better.
“I will continue my work to fight the federal over-regulation of this failed
national initiative. We must focus on what’s best for our students,” Hofmeister
House Media Division
Oklahoma House leaders expressed disappointment today after learning the federal government will pursue a punitive course of action following Oklahoma’s repeal of Common Core State Standards earlier this year.
Oklahoma officials received a letter today from the United States Department of Education stating they will not renew Oklahoma’s No Child Left Behind waiver. This heavy handed decision comes after the passage of House Bill 3399, a measure which repealed the untested Common Core State Standards and put in place a process to develop and adopt new, superior standards with the help of Oklahoma higher-education and CareerTech systems. The U.S. Department of Education has deemed Oklahoma’s pursuit of proven college and career-ready standards to be a failure to adhere to the NCLB waiver principles.
“We knew the federal government could opt to take some actions when we passed HB3399,” said House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview. “None-the-less, this decision is troubling because it sets back the efforts of our local schools to continue improving by imposing on them unhelpful and unnecessary regulations. This situation makes it even more imperative that the State Board of Education move quickly to begin the process of creating and adopting new superior standards.”
In a letter to Oklahoma officials, Deborah Delisle, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, explained the basis of their decision stating that “Oklahoma can no longer demonstrate that the state’s standards are college and career-ready standards.”
“I challenge the U.S. Dept. of Education to ‘demonstrate’ that Common Core is college and career ready in Oklahoma before they begin dictating how we run our state’s education system,” said Rep. Jason Nelson, R-Oklahoma City. “They can’t do it. Each state’s college remediation requirements are different and they have absolutely no idea if Common Core meets their own requirements.
“In the Obama administration’s determination to compel Oklahoma to stay with Common Core, they plan to impose onerous federal regulations on our education system that were unnecessary this morning but are now, amazingly, necessary this afternoon. It’s obvious that states like Oklahoma must not flinch in taking back control of our standards if we truly want standards that can be ‘demonstrated’ to be college and career ready. Unfortunately, this letter is the latest example of the slow death of federalism which is being replaced with flawed logic.”
Attorney General Scott Pruitt said Thursday he would appeal a ruling that invalidated a portion of the Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship program, which allows parents of children with disabilities to obtain scholarship money from the state to fund their child’s attendance at a school of their choosing.
A district court judge ruled funds from the scholarship program cannot be used to send students with disabilities to sectarian schools. The judge’s order is stayed pending appeal, which means the scholarship program remains unchanged for now.
“This scholarship program empowers parents of children with disabilities to obtain scholarship monies from the state to fund their child’s enrollment and attendance in a private school of their choosing,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “Prohibiting the use of Lindsey Nicole Henry Scholarship funds from being used to send students with disabilities to sectarian schools would require the state to discriminate against those schools. That is highly troublesome and why we will appeal the ruling.”
John Cox has a commanding lead over Freda Deskin in the race for the Democratic nomination for schools superintendent.
With returns just starting to accumulate, Cox had 62 percent of the vote,
Robert G. Holland
Never let it be said that Common Core (CC) entirely lacks educational value.
By exercising even a little of the critical thinking the pushers of these national standards claim to want mandated in all classrooms, consumers can learn a big, valuable lesson about polling that seeks to shape public opinion rather than honestly gauge it.
The one constant in the spate of polls being taken as CC heats up as a political issue is that a sizable portion of the population still knows little or nothing about how these curricular guidelines were developed or what they do. To some prominent pollsters, the knowledge gap is an opening to feed respondents an entirely positive portrayal and then ask them leading questions likely to elicit pro-CC responses.
A recent example was a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll done June 11–15, purporting to find support exceeds opposition to Common Core by almost a 2–1 margin. But first, the pollsters found almost half their participants said they had seen, read, or heard zilch about the national standards. So then WSJ/NBC “educated” them with the following description:
“The Common Core standards are a new set of education standards for English and math that have been set to internationally competitive levels and would be used in every state for students in grades K through 12.”
That is a grossly misleading description. It utterly ignores serious scholarly findings about weaknesses of the math and English standards and their lack of comparability to the best in the world. Furthermore, it fails to acknowledge heavy Obama administration pressure to get states signed up, or the growing number of states now bailing on CC testing and CC itself.
In a June 18 Cato at Liberty blogpost, Cato Institute education analyst Neil McCluskey likened the WSJ/NBC approach to failing to tell people that pufferfish are poisonous, then telling them “pufferfish are delicious and nutritious,” then finally asking, “would you like to eat some pufferfish?”
The first week of May, a survey by Republican pollster John McLaughlin used similar pufferfishy questioning to convert an almost equal split of opinion on CC (35 percent approval, 33 percent disapproval, 32 percent don’t know) to a whopping two-thirds level of support, by feeding respondents what it called a “simple, neutral” description. Again, it was anything but objective. It was CC puffery.
The political takeaway from McLaughlin was that Republicans should beware of opposing Common Core, because national standards will have a big upside with swing voters in the general election. Scribes from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nominally conservative think tank, then sought to drive home that point with commentary warning Republican candidates that criticizing Common Core is a losing issue.
It would have been reasonable for media reporting on all this to have noted the McLaughlin Poll was commissioned by the Collaborative for Student Success, recipient of heavy funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has spent hundreds of millions of dollars both creating Common Core and now purchasing support for it. And Fordham also does PR for the Gates people.
Someone might ask Oklahoma state school superintendent Janet Barresi how much being a red-hot supporter of Common Core in a deep-red state helped her. Despite reportedly putting more than $1 million of her own money into her campaign, she lost in a landslide to CC opponent Joy Hofmeister in the June 24 GOP primary. In fact, Barresi finished third with just 21 percent support.
Here and there, some polls are beginning to reflect the growing anger of citizens over undemocratically imposed nationalized standards they like less the more they find out about them. A little-noted University of Connecticut poll conducted the last week of April found just that: Opposition was highest among people who said they were most highly informed about CC.
Now, one of the polling heavyweights, Rasmussen Reports, has done a straightforward survey (June 21–22), using no leading or trick questions, and finds support for Common Core plummeting among parents with school-age children. Only 34 percent of those parents favor schools nationwide having to meet the so-called Common Core State Standards, a drop of 18 percentage points since a Rasmussen survey last November.
Citizens should closely scrutinize all public-opinion surveys for embedded bias. A critical assessment of the accumulating data indicates a growing proportion of parents who have brought themselves up to speed independently on Common Core—as opposed to being pollster-led—oppose this top-down imposition of shoddy, one-size-fits-all standards and subjective testing on their children.
Robert Holland (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior fellow for education policy with The Heartland Institute.
Governor Fallin today embraced the new Republican nominee for school superintendent, Joy Hofmeister, and said they’ve already started working on an agenda for stronger schools.
Hofmeister was overwhelmingly elected by GOP primary voters over the incumbent Janet Barresi.
This, from Fallin’s campaign website:
Governor Mary Fallin and candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister are working together on an agenda to strengthen Oklahoma public schools and produce better outcomes for Oklahoma students. Mary and Joy know the path forward requires:
- A commitment to producing strong, Oklahoma-based academic standards to replace Common Core
- Supporting our teachers by getting more funding for K-12 education
- Focusing on accountability in spending – additional funds need to go to the classroom!
“Joy Hofmeister is a teacher, small business owner and a mother who cares deeply about public education in Oklahoma, which is why I was proud to appoint her to the Oklahoma State Board of Education. I know Joy will work tirelessly to unite parents, teachers, employers and lawmakers as we work to support and improve our schools. I am proud to support her in her race for superintendent.” – Governor Mary Fallin
“Governor Fallin has always said that improving education is the most important thing we can do to support the long term growth and prosperity of our state. She should be applauded for highlighting the importance of public education, not just in the individual growth of our students, but for Oklahoma’s long term economic well-being. I encourage Oklahomans to get behind Governor Fallin to ensure we have a pro-education governor for the next four years.” – Joy Hofmeister