The federal government should stop trying to control local education and curriculum choices, and allow school boards and parents to have the final say in how children are educated, said Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren, who has been voicing concern about Common Core State Standards.
The Illinois Republican, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, told Newsmax TV that the set of learning standard for English and math will have a tremendous impact on the nation's students, but people don't know enough about what the new rules mean.
"For me it really started as a fact finding mission to understand more and from this, a lot of concerns have been raised," said Hultgren. "I am just concerned when our kids are used as kind of experiments for some new ideas across the nation"
Hultgren said it's his fear that Common Core will amount to a federal takeover of the education system, which should not happen.
"Federal government should not be controlling local education or driving curriculum or curriculum choices," said Hultgren. "My fear is this is being taken over. It started out as a state intuitive, with governors and state superintendents, but the federal Department of Education of the administration has seen this as an opportunity to come in and push some agenda items that they might have."
There are may be questions over whether Common Core is constitutional, said Hultgren, who represents Illinois' 14th District based in Geneva.
The program is tying in many other federal programs, such as waivers from No Child Left Behind, so the federal Department of Education is using those programs to get states to comply with Common Core.
Meanwhile, in Illinois alone, some estimates are showing the cost will total around $700 million to comply over the next seven years, money the state doesn't have.
"It's a push to change testing and a push to have all new tests, which would fit under the curriculum of Common Core," said Hultgren. "So if you want to do well on the test if you want to get into college, you really have to follow Common Core. So even if they're going to say, well this is voluntary, in reality there's incredible pressure on local school districts and states to comply with some of the federal push."
He said his current focus is on Illinois, where he is working with local and state lawmakers to encourage them to follow the lead of some other states, who are hesitant to use their children as an "experiment."
Hultgren also spoke about the news that House Speaker John Boehner has a deal in the works to temporarily raise the nation's debt ceiling in exchange for budget and deficit issues.
He noted that it's been frustrating that the "president and the Senate have just said we're not willing to negotiate, we're not willing to talk. That's absolutely wrong."
He said that it's a good step that negotiations may be getting started, although it's too arly to tell what will happen.
Hultgren voted against the last debt ceiling increase, and he wants to see what happens before he decides how he'll vote again.
"My commitment has been is I want to see what are we doing to change this trajectory of our nation of continuing to spend money we don't have, putting our kids and our grandkids further into debt," he said.
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