Obama’s nominee to finish fundamentally transforming “education” in America has been approved by the GOP-controlled U.S. Senate, despite the pleas of Americans from across the political spectrum. Apparently the establishment wing of the Republican Party just cannot help itself when it comes to surrendering to Obama — even on so-called “education” and the minds of America’s future generations. In what is being touted by the establishment press as a bipartisan move, seven GOP senators, all elected to stop Obama, joined forces with Democrats on Monday to confirm the deeply unpopular pro-Common Core nominee for U.S. education secretary, extremist John King (shown).
The latest GOP surrender came just a few months after the Republican-controlled Congress literally conspired with the White House to impose Obama’s entire “education” agenda on America with the unconstitutional “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA). Under King, the implementation of that radical agenda will continue uninterrupted. Critics were outraged, though, and vowed not to let the matter go.
King has been serving as “acting” U.S. education secretary since the recent departure of Obama’s last ultra-unpopular education chief, Common Core pusher Arne Duncan. Among other alarming statements and actions, Duncan has boasted publicly about using the “weapon” of government education to transform American children into “green citizens,” with the United Nations education organ UNESCO as his “global partner.” The man responsible for bribing and bullying some 45 states into adopting the extraordinarily unpopular and widely criticized Common Core regime also called for government-run boarding schools, saying there are “just certain kids we should have 24/7.” Throughout the end of Duncan’s almost universally reviled tenure, King served as his deputy and adviser. In other words, King is another extremist who will pick up where Duncan left off on the nationalization and even globalization of what today passes for public education in America.
King was so extreme, and so hostile to the concerns of parents, students, and teachers, that even Big Government-loving New York State rose up against him during his 2011 to 2014 stint as New York education commissioner. From leading liberal newspapers and leftist policymakers to conservative activists and Republican lawmakers, King managed to infuriate practically everyone with his disastrous tenure.
Among other outrages, critics pointed to his trampling of privacy and parental rights, ignoring outraged citizens and teachers, and imposing a testing regime and Obama-backed national standards that sparked the largest “opt out” of testing in the state’s history. He was also a leading mouthpiece for even more nationalized data gathering on children, even promoting various crony capitalist initiatives to vacuum up private information on students into a national database.
In 2014, even the 600,000-member strong New York State teachers union voted, unanimously, to demand the ouster of King for trampling the public in his fiendish drive to impose Common Core at all costs. “We’ll have to be the first to say it’s failed,” New York State United Teachers President Richard Iannuzzi was quoted as saying at the time about King’s ham-handed efforts to foist Common Core on New Yorkers against their will.
King was also a leading proponet of charter schools, which must use Common Core and have also sparked a backlash even among many conservatives for using public funds without accountability to taxpayers and voters via elected school boards. His time destroying what remained of education in New York was so bad that multiple schools districts in the state passed resolutions demanding that the U.S. Senate reject his nomination.
Despite the controversy all across the political spectrum surrounding the nominee, Obama was an enthusiastic cheerleader, confident that King would help cement the educational component of his “fundamental transformation” of America. “There is nobody better to continue leading our ongoing efforts to work toward preschool for all, prepare our kids so that they are ready for college and career, and make college more affordable,” Obama said in a statement touting King and demanding Senate confirmation for him. Of course, there is no authority in the Constitution for the federal government to be involved in preschool, college, or even education — not that “education” is the feds’ goal, anyway. And the Tenth Amendment specifically reserves all those powers to the states or the people.
But thanks largely to Obama’s Republican enablers in Congress, the ongoing process of destroying and federalizing American education while enriching crony capitalists will continue. Leading the charge to approve Obama’s nominee was Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), the chair of the Senate Education Committee and a lead player in imposing Obama’s education policy on America while deceitfully pretending to fight it. “We need an education secretary confirmed by and accountable to the United States Senate so that the law fixing No Child Left Behind will be implemented the way Congress wrote it,” claimed Alexander, who has a Freedom Index score of 54 percent, indicating a serious lack of faithfulness to the U.S. Constitution he swore to uphold.
Alexander, former education secretary during the George H.W. “New World Order” Bush administration, also continued his efforts to deceive Americans about the ESSA he shepherded through Congress. That deceit, of course, has already been exposed by The New American and even by Obama’s previous education secretary, Duncan, in media interviews.
“If you look at the substance of what is there [in the ESSA], embedded in the law are the values that we’ve promoted and proposed forever,” Duncan gloated to Politico Pro, adding that he was silent on the bill before it passed at the request of deceitful GOP lawmakers who were trying to stab their constituents in the back without raising alarm. “The core of our agenda from Day One, that’s all in there — early childhood [‘education’], high standards [Common Core], not turning a blind eye when things are bad. For the first time in our nation’s history, that’s the letter of the law.” Obama even called it a “Christmas miracle” before signing the establishment Republican-backed statute enshrining his unconstitutional agenda.
Alexander, though, apparently thinks voters are either idiots or not paying attention. “This is such an important year for our nation’s 100,000 public schools. We are working to implement a new law that reverses the trend toward a national school board and restores to those closest to children the responsibility for their well-being and academic success,” he claimed, falsely, about the Obama-backed “miracle” statute that cements Common Core in place while further undermining parental rights, privacy, state sovereignty, local control, and real education. “That’s why, in December, I urged the president to send to the Senate a nominee for education secretary — and I’m glad there’s now someone confirmed and accountable to Congress as we implement this new bipartisan law that represents such a dramatic and important change in direction for federal education policy.”
The final confirmation vote on King was 49 to 40. Other Republican senators who voted to confirm Obama’s nominee included Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Senator Thad Cochran of Mississippi, Senator Susan Collins of Maine, and Senator John Cornyn of Texas. Republicans who failed to vote also contributed to Obama’s victory, critics said. Those included: Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, senators John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, and Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania. Except for one Democrat senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, who was no doubt under tremendous pressure from constituents who experienced King firsthand, all Democrats who voted on the confirmation supported Obama, King, and Common Core.
Activists in education, though, fought hard, and vowed to keep fighting. The group United States Parents Involved in Education (USPIE), which sponsored a Twitter Action Page and a Twitter Rally leading up to the final confirmation vote, helped send some 20,000 tweets bearing the hashtag #stopjohnking to U.S. senators with a variety of messages. All of them were aimed at persuading senators to vote “no” on the King nomination. The organization, which hopes to abolish the U.S. Department of Education and restore local control over schools, first got involved after the initial subcommittee hearing. After sustained pressure, the number of senators supporting King declined.
But more action is needed to hold lawmakers accountable. “We are very pleased with the Republican senators who stood up to the leadership on this issue and voted with the people,” explained USPIE President Sheri Few. “As for those Republicans who voted with the progressives and Obama, we say they need a primary challenger. There will be accountability on education issues going forward at the ballot box. They cannot continue to ignore hundreds of thousands of fed up parents and taxpayers. We are organized and we will do all we can to take them out if they don’t start paying attention to the people who put them in D.C.”
Also opposing the nomination was Heritage Action, which vowed to include the confirmation as a key vote in its legislative scorecard. “Given that King served alongside Duncan during the re-authorization discussions and earned the confidence of President Obama, there is no reason to expect the department will be any different with him in charge,” the group said. “ In fact, it only serves to reinforce that due to Obama’s frequent and general lawlessness, the Republican-controlled Senate should stop confirming any of Obama’s non-security related nominees.” The GOP-controlled Senate has “no excuse” for putting its stamp of approval on an education secretary who supports Common Core and sides with “data-mining over student privacy, and central planning over local control.” But it did anyway.
Leftists were outraged, too, including a coalition of prominent voices such as former MIT professor and left-wing activist Noam Chomsky, New York University research professor Diane Ravitch, Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis, and more. “As New York State Education Commissioner, he was an unapologetic supporter of the Common Core standards and [student information database] inBloom. His policies failed. While test scores are flawed metrics, in 2013, just 31 percent of students in New York passed the English and math standardized tests,” the group said in an open letter. “He persistently refused to consider the desperate pleas of students and teachers who were reporting that the Common Core and value-added teacher evaluations were not working. The American public deserves a Secretary of Education who will advocate for their interests, not those of the testing corporations who profit from the common core. We also deserve a secretary who respects the importance of schools governed by communities, not by federal mandate.”
In short, the establishment wing of both parties ignored a massive public outcry that transcends the political spectrum — all in order to install another pro-Common Core hack for Obama and the establishment who will undoubtedly continue to trash education in favor of indoctrination and dumbing down. If members of Congress refuse to listen to the public and uphold the Constitution, it is time for them to be removed from office. The federal government has no business being involved in education.
Photo of John King: AP Images
Alex Newman is co-author of Crimes of the Educators, a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. Alex is also a Bear Witness Central Director in the NE of Florida.
His article was previously posted in The New American.