The Corner

K–12: Obama’s Most Transformative Plan?

Obama’s plans for America’s K–12 school system have played no role in the presidential campaign. Yet this aspect of the president’s program can arguably be viewed as his most sweeping and controversial initiative.

Both the Constitution and the law reserve authority over school curricula to the states. Yet few Americans realize how far the president has already gone in undercutting local control of our nation’s education system. Well over 40 states have signed on, many sight unseen, to the Common Core, a set of national standards and an accompanying testing system that will govern and transform America’s schools in a second Obama term.

There is every reason to believe that the Common Core and testing system Obama has quietly orchestrated with the help of his exceedingly left-leaning former education adviser Linda Darling-Hammond will actually undercut standards and politicize the curriculum.

More than that, Darling-Hammond has ambitious plans to lever the coming wave of federal control over the K–12 curriculum into a push to redistribute suburban education funding to city schools. Unfortunately, the president has placed Darling-Hammond in a position where she will have an opportunity to advance that goal.

If you think a redistributive school funding plan is politically unworkable, have a look at California, where a regionalist measure containing little-known provisions designed to redistribute suburban education funding to city schools is on the verge of passage.

I lay out what President Obama has already done to K–12 education, and may well do in a second term, in my book, Spreading the Wealth: How Obama is Robbing the Suburbs to Pay for the Cities. For a condensed version of the argument, see my new piece at Fox News, “Should the White House Control What Your Kids Learn?”

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

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