President Donald Trump recently reiterated his campaign promise to end Common Core, the controversial education initiative to standardize education requirements across the U.S., even though the federal government doesn't have control over Common Core or schools' participation in the system.
‶Common Core to me is, we have to end it,″ the president said on April 5 at a town hall event in Washington D.C. ‶If you look at so many elements of education, and it is so sad to see what is coming, happening in the country.″
Some pundits have argued that Trump's promise to ‶end″ Common Core is an empty promise because Common Core standards are not set by the federal government, but voluntarily agreed to by states that want to conform to the standards in math and English set by the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
According to CCSSI, which is an initiative headed by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, 42 states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity ‶have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the Common Core.″
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has also pushed the false notion that the federal government controls the Common Core standards and states' ability to choose whether to adopt them.
‶In deference to the U.S. Senate confirmation, I’m not giving interviews, but just between us let me share this. It’s time to make education great again in this country,″ DeVos said during a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in December 2016, according to the Washington Examiner. ‶This means putting kids first. This means expanding choices and options to give every child the opportunity for a quality education regardless of their ZIP code or family circumstances. This means letting states set their own standards and finally putting an end to the federal Common Core.″
The Obama administration promoted participation in the Common Core standards, but did not technically have jurisdiction over whether local education departments had to adopt the standards, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Former President Barack Obama did offer federal funds to states that adopted the measures as part of his Race to the Top initiative, which critics described as a form of coercion, according to The Washington Post.
Department of Education also paid $360 million to create Common Core-aligned standardized tests.
One way Trump could persuade states to drop Common Core standards would be to offer them federal funds to do so. But in the end, only state legislatures have the ability to make it official.