Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has added a vocal critic of Common Core to his educational team.
The choice of Williamson Evers, a fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, was first announced by Education Week, citing confirmation from multiple sources. Evers has spent decades working in California’s education system, serving on standards commissions created by Republican governors Pete Wilson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He also served as an assistant Secretary of Education in the later years of George W. Bush’s administration.
In January 2015, Evers wrote a stinging denunciation of Common Core for Education Week, claiming it was fundamentally an “undemocratic” attempt to undermine local control of schools and create a national education “cartel.”
“By creating the [C]ommon-[C]ore content standards behind closed doors, the authors increased the alienation of the public from schools as institutions worthy of loyalty,” Evers wrote at the time. “The general public had no voice in creating or adopting the [C]ommon [C]ore.”
Evers has also been a public critic of California’s new history standards, which he alleges promote political progressivism and encourage the spread of factually untrue information.
The choice of Evers lends support to Trump’s claim that, if elected, he will act to get rid of Common Core, though it’s not entirely clear how he would do so. Common Core was created as a compact between the states, and while the Obama administration encouraged its adoption using federal subsidies, the government has no direct control over the standards. (RELATED: Trump’s Common Core Promise Can’t Be Met)
The move also reflects a growing focus on education and related topics from Trump’s campaign. Just in the past month, Trump has unveiled a $20 billion federal school choice plan, as well as plans to promote merit pay for teachers and provide six weeks of paid maternity leave for new mothers.
Evers isn’t the only education expert Trump has picked up recently. In August, he brought on Rob Goad as an adviser; Goad has been working as an aide to Indiana Rep. Luke Messer, a prominent advocate for school choice in Congress.
Trump has also put Gerard Robinson, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, on his transition team as well. Robinson served as Florida’s top education official from 2011 to 2012, and since then has conducted policy research on school choice and the role of for-profit schools in the U.S. educational system.
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