SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 23
(Senate - February 06, 2014)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.


[Pages S823-S824]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                         SUBMITTED RESOLUTIONS

                                 ______
                                 

    SENATE RESOLUTION 345--STRONGLY SUPPORTING THE RESTORATION AND 
   PROTECTION OF STATE AUTHORITY AND FLEXIBILITY IN ESTABLISHING AND 
 DEFINING CHALLENGING STUDENT ACADEMIC STANDARDS AND ASSESSMENTS, AND 
 STRONGLY DENOUNCING THE PRESIDENT'S COERCION OF STATES INTO ADOPTING 
 THE COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS BY CONFERRING PREFERENCES IN FEDERAL 
                     GRANTS AND FLEXIBILITY WAIVERS

  Mr. GRAHAM (for himself, Mr. Lee, Mr. Grassley, Mr. Scott, Mr. 
Inhofe, Mr. Cochran, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Wicker, and Mr. Enzi) submitted the 
following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Health, 
Education, Labor, and Pensions:

                              S. Res. 345

       Whereas education belongs in the hands of our parents, 
     local officials, local educational agencies, and States;
       Whereas the development of the common education standards 
     known as the Common Core State Standards was originally led 
     by national organizations, but has transformed into an 
     incentives-based mandate from the Federal Government;
       Whereas, in 2009, the National Governors Association Center 
     for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief 
     State School Officers (CCSSO), both of which are private 
     trade associations, began developing common education 
     standards for kindergarten through grade 12 (referred to in 
     this preamble as the ``Common Core State Standards'');
       Whereas, sections 9527, 9529, 9530, and 9531 of the 
     Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     7907, 7909, 7910, and 7911) prohibit the establishment of a 
     national curriculum, national testing, mandatory national 
     teacher certification, and a national student database;
       Whereas Federal law makes clear that the Department of 
     Education may not be involved in setting specific content 
     standards or determining the content of State assessments in 
     elementary and secondary education;
       Whereas President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education 
     Arne Duncan announced competitive grants through the Race to 
     the Top program under sections 14005 and 14006 of the 
     American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 
     111-5; 123 Stat. 282) (referred to in this preamble as the 
     ``Race to the Top program'') in July 2009;
       Whereas, on July 24, 2009, Secretary Duncan stated, ``The 
     $4,350,000,000 Race to the Top program that we are unveiling 
     today is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Federal 
     Government to create incentives for far-reaching improvement 
     in our Nation's schools.'';
       Whereas, on July 24, 2009, Secretary Duncan also stated, 
     ``But I want to be clear that Race to the Top is also a 
     reform competition, one where States can increase or decrease 
     their odds of winning Federal support.'';
       Whereas, under the Race to the Top program guidelines, 
     States seeking funds were pressed to implement 4 core, 
     interconnected reforms, and the first of these reforms was to 
     adopt ``internationally benchmarked standards and assessments 
     that prepare students for success in college and the 
     workplace'';
       Whereas, on July 24, 2009, President Obama outlined the 
     connection between common education standards and Race to the 
     Top program funds, stating, ``I am issuing a challenge to our 
     [N]ation's governors and school boards, principals and 
     teachers, businesses and non-profits, parents and students: 
     if you set and enforce rigorous and challenging standards and 
     assessments; if you put outstanding teachers at the front of 
     the classroom; if you turn around failing schools--your State 
     can win a Race to the Top grant that will not only help 
     students outcompete workers around the world, but let them 
     fulfill their God-given potential.'';
       Whereas the selection criteria designed by the Department 
     of Education for the Race to the Top program provided that 
     for a State to have any chance to compete for funding, it 
     must commit to adopting a ``common set of K-12 standards'';
       Whereas Common Core State Standards establish a single set 
     of education standards for kindergarten through grade 12 in 
     English language arts and mathematics that States adopt;
       Whereas Common Core State Standards were, during the 
     initial application period for the Race to the Top program, 
     and remain, as of the date of the adoption of this 
     resolution, the only common set of kindergarten through grade 
     12 standards in the United States;
       Whereas, on July 24, 2009, Secretary Duncan stated, ``To 
     speed this process, the Race to the Top program is going to 
     set aside $350,000,000 to competitively fund the development 
     of rigorous, common State assessments.'';
       Whereas, since the Race to the Top program's inception, 
     States have been incentivized by Federal money to adopt 
     common education standards;
       Whereas States began adopting Common Core State Standards 
     in 2010;
       Whereas States that adopted Common Core State Standards 
     before August 2, 2010, were awarded 40 additional points out 
     of 500 points for their Race to the Top program applications;
       Whereas 45 States have adopted Common Core State Standards;
       Whereas 31 States, of the 45 total, adopted Common Core 
     State Standards before August 2, 2010;

[[Page S824]]

       Whereas States that have adopted Common Core State 
     Standards are given preference in the application process for 
     the waivers issued under the authority of section 9401 of the 
     Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 
     7861) that provide flexibility with respect to certain 
     requirements of such Act;
       Whereas States that have adopted Common Core State 
     Standards are currently collaborating to develop common 
     assessments that will be aligned to the Common Core State 
     Standards and replace existing end-of-the-year State 
     assessments;
       Whereas these assessments will be available in the 2014-
     2015 school year;
       Whereas 2 consortia of States are developing common 
     assessments: the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for 
     College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced 
     Assessment Consortium (SBAC);
       Whereas national standards lead to national assessments and 
     national assessments lead to a national curriculum;
       Whereas education standards help teachers ensure their 
     students have the skills and knowledge they need to be 
     successful by providing clear goals for student learning;
       Whereas challenging academic standards are vital to 
     ensuring students are college and career ready;
       Whereas blanket education standards should not be a 
     prerequisite for Federal funding;
       Whereas States are incentivized to adopt Common Core State 
     Standards by the explicit correlation between the adoption of 
     the Common Core State Standards by the State and the 
     preference provided to such States through the Race to the 
     Top program and the flexibility waivers issued under the 
     authority of section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary 
     Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 7861);
       Whereas the Secretary of Education has created a system of 
     grants and waivers that influence, incentivize, and coerce 
     State educational agencies, commissions, and boards into 
     implementing common elementary and secondary school standards 
     and assessments endorsed by the Secretary;
       Whereas when Federal funds are linked to the adoption of 
     common education standards, the end result is increased 
     Federal control over education and a decreased ability of 
     schools to meet the individual needs of the students in their 
     schools;
       Whereas the implementation of Common Core State Standards 
     will eventually impact home school and private school 
     students when institutions of higher education are pressured 
     to align their admission and readiness standards with 
     curricula based on the Common Core State Standards;
       Whereas the 10th amendment of the Constitution of the 
     United States reads, ``The powers not delegated to the United 
     States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the 
     States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the 
     people''; and
       Whereas, throughout the course of United States history, 
     States have maintained the responsibility of education based 
     on the 10th amendment because the explicit power of educating 
     children was not delegated to the United States by the 
     Constitution: Now, therefore, be it
       Resolved, that it is the sense of the Senate that--
       (1) States and local educational agencies should maintain 
     the right and responsibility of determining educational 
     curricula, programs of instruction, and assessments for 
     elementary and secondary education;
       (2) the Federal Government should not incentivize the 
     adoption of common education standards or the creation of a 
     national assessment to align with such standards; and
       (3) no application process for any Federal grant funds, or 
     for waivers issued by the Secretary under the authority of 
     section 9401 of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 
     1965 (20 U.S.C. 7861), that occurs after the date of adoption 
     of this resolution should award any additional points, or 
     provide any preference, for the adoption of the Common Core 
     State Standards or any other national common education 
     standards.

                          ____________________