Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is known for waging political battles even if the odds of success are slim. He famously launched a 21-hour filibuster in a failed, last-ditch effort to repeal Obamacare. But his latest crusade may be his biggest challenge yet: repealing a federal law that does not exist.
On Twitter, Cruz blasted the federal government role in education and called for the repeal of Common Core:
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 15, 2015
Can Cruz “make DC listen”? It will be particularly hard since Common Core is not, in fact, a federal law.
The Common Core State Standards Initiative, known as Common Core, was developed by the states — with input from teachers, education experts and business leaders — and has been voluntarily adopted by 43 states and the District Of Columbia. Notably, “the federal government played no role in creating the standards, nor did it require that states adopt them.”
Common Core is not a curriculum but a set of standards regarding what students “should know and be able to do at each grade level in math and English language arts.” How kids get there is left to the schools and teachers.
Adopting Common Core was helpful to states seeking federal funding in 2009 under a program called “Race To The Top.” But many states that did not receive funding continue to implement Common Core.
Common Core has become a highly politicized topic. In 2013, the Republican National Committee passed a resolution opposing Common Core, calling it “an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children.” The RNC attacked Obama, who was not involved in the creation of the standards, but ignored the role of many Republicans in creating Common Core. Many of the states that adopted Common Core are controlled, in whole or in part, by Republicans.
The historical role of Republicans in creating and adopting the standards, however, is not lost on Ted Cruz. One of Common Core’s biggest supporters is former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who just might be competing against Cruz to be the Republican nominee for president in 2016.
Cruz certainly has a better chance of defeating Jeb Bush than repealing the federal Common Core law, since it doesn’t exist.