MLIVE: Common Core: Former Gov. John Engler endorses standards in new campaign
LANSING — Former Michigan Gov. John Engler is one of a number of current and former state and national officials who have endorsed the Common Core State Standards as part of “Conservatives for Higher Standards,” a new project of Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Educational Excellence.
The project is a partnership of Bush’s foundation and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which earlier this week criticized the pre-Common Core standards Michigan was using. Bush also encouraged Michigan legislators not to abandon Common Core during an appearance at this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference.
Engler, president of the Business Roundtable in Washington D.C., is quoted on the Conservatives for Higher Standards website alongside Bush, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and current New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, among others.
“Helping prepare our children to succeed in an increasingly fierce global marketplace is a goal we should all embrace. As America’s business leaders, we stand united in our support for the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and we urge the Republican Party to join us.” Engler is quoted as saying.
Gov. Rick Snyder has also endorsed Common Core, calling the standards “a good thing.”
State legislators have taken a different viewpoint in recent months, with the new state budget blocking funding for the Michigan Department of Education to implement the standards and assessments associated with Common Core.
House Speaker Jase Bolger set up a subcommittee to explore whether or not Michigan should continue working on Common Core, and named Frankenmuth Rep. Tim Kelly, a former education policy adviser to Engler, as chairman.
That subcommittee met for the first time this week and heard testimony from State Superintendent Mike Flanagan. Rep. Tom McMillin (R-Rochester Hills), a vocal opponent of Common Core, had a heated exchange with Flanagan before Kelly ended his questioning. Also during the hearing, Rep. Dave Pagel (R-Oronoko Township) described some residents of his district as “violently opposed” to the standards, saying opponents had referenced a federal takeover of education or a United Nations plot to control American schoolchildren.
The “Conservatives for Higher Standards” site addresses these and other claims, including the effect the standards will have on private schools and homeschooled children, in a “Myth vs. Fact” section.
“While the Common Core Standards are internationally benchmarked, rigorous, clear and straightforward enough to lend themselves easily to voluntary adoption by charter schools, private and faith-based schools and home schools, these entities will continue to have maximum flexibility on how and what they teach their kids. Whether schools of choice have to conform to state accountability policies remains a state, not a federal decision,” the site states.
The full article can be accessed at: http://www.mlive.com/education/index.ssf/2013/07/common_core_former_gov_engler.html