President: Rae Chornenky
 
Editor: Maria Jeffrey
 
On the Hill This Week: 
 
Senate Democrats hope to pass the Farm Bill (S. 954).

The Fight Against Common Core

 

       Two competing forces are pushing America's K-12 education system today: one in an effort to infuse education choice into a long stagnant system, empowering parents with the ability to send their child to a school which meets her unique learning needs and the other an effort to further centralize education through Common Core national standards and tests.

                

        The Heritage Foundation points out that school choice empowers parents to direct their child's share of education funding, giving them options beyond a government-assigned school and curriculum. Choice is seen as somewhat of a revolution in the public school arena because it funds children instead of physical school buildings and administrations and allows dollars to follow children to any school - or education option - that meets their unique learning needs.

                

        Across the country, education choice options have been proliferating rapidly in the form of vouchers, tuition tax credits, special needs scholarships and education savings accounts. Choice pressures public schools with a much-needed competitive atmosphere. Choice helps kids:  education choice represents the type of innovation and freedom that will provide long-overdue reform to the K-12 system and holds the potential to truly raise the educational outcomes for every child across America. Choice is growing in strength: seventeen states and Washington, D.C. now have private school choice programs and more states are currently considering implementing choice options.

 

        Common Core, on the other hand, is an effort to centralize education by dictating the standards and assessments that determine the curriculum taught in every public school across the country.Common Core assumes that top-down uniform standards and assessments - driven by federal bureaucrats and national organizations - are preferable to State and local reform efforts guided by input from parents, teachers and taxpayers.

 

        Common Core documents provide no evidence that the program will improve academic outcomes or boost international competitiveness. However, the Obama administration has pushed States to adopt the national standards and assessments in exchange for offers of billions of dollars in federal funding.

 

        American education is at a crossroads, where one path leads toward further centralization and greater federal control and the other path leads toward robust education choice, including school choice and choice in curricula.  State and local leaders who believe in limited government should resist national standards and tests as a challenge to educational freedom in America and this latest federal overreach. 

 

        To date, only Texas and Alaska are not members of Common Core; Virginia and Nebraska are initiative members but will not adopt the standards; Minnesota adopted the English standards only; Indiana has put a legal pause on the law until further review has been conducted. All other states have formally adopted the Common Core standards. For the standards in those states to be repealed, a law would have to be passed in each of those state legislatures. 

Students Are Subsidizing Obamacare

 

         As Dick Morris reported in The Hill last week, the Congressional Budget Office reports that $8.7 billion of the money collected in student loan interest payments actually goes to pay for ObamaCare. The CBO estimates that the interest rate on these loans could be reduced from 6.8 percent to only 5.30 percent were the monies not being used to subsidize the healthcare law and other federal programs.

                

         There are 16 million American students who now have student loans; they are paying for ObamaCare out of their meager incomes just at the point when they graduate from college and need funds to start their lives, buy their first homes, and start a family. In addition, the very law they are funding will impose fines on them if they do not purchase health insurance. The federal government borrows funds for the student loan program at 2.8 percent and then lends it to the students 6.8 percent, a markup of four percent. Undoubtedly, few students are aware of this financial exploitation. 

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