Arne’s Former Speechwriter Explains Why Conservatives Should Support the Common Core

Diane Ravitch's blog

David Whitman wrote a paper for the Brookings Institution called “The Surprising Roots of the Common Core: How Conservatives Gave Rise to ‘Obamacore.'” The goal of the paper is to persuade readers that conservatives, starting in the Reagan administration, laid the groundwork for national standards and tests. As a participant in some of the events he describes, I have a somewhat different take on the past.

Whitman was Arne Duncan’s speechwriter from 2009 to 2014. He is the author of a 2008 book for the Thomas B. Fordham Institute calling “Sweating the Small Stuff,” which praises “no-excuses” charter schools. His prime example was the American Indian Charter School in Oakland, whose leader subsequently resigned after $3.8 million went missing in a state audit. Given Whitman’s admiration for “no excuses” schools, it makes sense that he wrote speeches for Arne, who believes in them as an effective answer for the educational…

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