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Letters: Coercive Common Core

Published: Sunday, July 22 2012 12:00 a.m. MDT

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I know it can be hard to strike a neutral tone and treat fairly people who seem a little crazy. But it's getting really irritating to see the Deseret News and other Utah outlets insist on describing Common Core education standards as "voluntary" ("Full house hears panel's criticism of Common Core," July 10). There actually is a debate over how voluntary the standards were for states. The paper unfairly takes sides when it editorializes in what is supposed to be a straight-news report.

In its recent health care decision, the Supreme Court justices agreed 7-2 that the federal government's activities in Medicaid, similar to recent activities in education, are not voluntary, but coercive. When the federal government taxes a state's citizens but will not provide a state with those tax dollars unless it does what the federal government wants, the justices said, that action is unconstitutionally coercive. Even half the court's ultra-liberal wing agreed with this.

So it's not crazy or far-fetched for people suspicious of the Common Core to look at how it was pushed on states by the federal government — in a manner similar to how the federal government unconstitutionally wanted to push a Medicaid expansion. No Common Core, no federal goodies like Race to the Top grants or No Child Left Behind waivers, which all states want desperately.

Joy Pullmann

Education Research fellow, Heartland Institute

Chicago, Ill.

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