Presidential candidate Donald Trump released a new video Tuesday in which he reiterates his pledge to kill Common Core and says U.S. public schools are in catastrophic shape.
“I’m a tremendous believer in education, but education has to be at a local level,” Trump says to open a video he put on Facebook Tuesday. “We cannot have the bureaucrats in Washington telling you how to manage your child’s education.”
“So Common Core’s a total disaster,” he continues. “We can’t let it continue.”
Trump then makes a brief but intense attack on the quality of U.S. schools.
“We are rated 28 in the world, the United States, think of it! Twenty-eight in the world,” he says. “And frankly we spend far more per pupil than any other country in the world, by far; it’s not even a close second.” The U.S. is performing so badly, Trump says, that some “Third World countries” are beating it.
Trump’s description of the U.S. as 28th in the world appears to be derived from 2015 rankings released by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, which placed the U.S. 28th in a ranking of countries based on international test scores.
Other parts of Trump’s comments don’t ring entirely true, though. While the U.S. does spend more than most countries on education, a handful of countries (Austria, Luxembourg, Norway, and Switzerland) spend more. Trump’s characterization of Common Core as the work of Washington bureaucrats is flawed as well. While the oft-criticized math and science standards do aspire to be national in scope, they were not created by the federal government. Instead, they were created at the behest of the National Governor’s Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, two collaborative bodies of state-level officials.
Common Core was embraced by the Obama administration, which promoted it through the Race to the Top program, but the standards have never been under federal control. In December, Congress passed a new education bill that compels the federal government to remain entirely removed from the adoption of education standards at the state level, making Common Core totally untethered from Washington.
Trump’s video is one of the few times a candidate has specifically talked about K-12 education during the 2016 campaign, though it comes just a week after Republican candidate former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush released a detailed education policy plan on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Other than vowing to kill Common Core and to make education an “absolute priority,” Trump doesn’t specify what else he would do as president to improve American schools.
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