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Zeldin begins with an anti-Common Core amendment

October 16, 2015
In The News

ALBANY—The first piece of legislation Rep. Lee Zeldin introduced since his election to Congress was an amendment to an education law that would allow states to withdraw from the Common Core standards without jeopardizing federal funding.

Zeldin’s experience in the State Senate last year inspired the legislation, he told Capital in a phone interview.

“When I was up in the State Senate, I had introduced a bill in the prior session [to] stop the implementation of Common Core for three years, and the biggest criticism I received from people who were in favor of Common Core was that, if the bill passed and was signed into law, New York state would lose federal money,” said Zeldin, a conservative Republican from Suffolk County.

“This amendment doesn’t require a state to have Common Core or not have Common Core, but for any state that chooses to withdraw from Common Core, this dispels any of those claims made either in government or out of government that federal money would be lost,” Zeldin continued, describing the legislation he introduced last week as an amendment to former president George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind program.

Federal lawmakers are currently debating reauthorization of the law.

Zeldin said he did not have a clear idea of the bill's chances in either the House or the Senate.

High Achievement New York, a coalition of business groups that has lobbied in favor of the Common Core, criticized Zeldin for the amendment, which the group’s executive director argued is unnecessary anyway.

States are not required under federal law to adopt the Common Core. Rather, some states that have been recipients of federal grants through President Obama’s Race To The Top program were required to implement curriculum guidelines that boost college and career readiness.

“The amendment is useless since states have always been able to adopt or withdraw from Common Core,” said Steve Sigmund, the group’s spokesman. “It's the functional equivalent of affirming states can pass their own budgets or pick their own state bird without the federal government taking action against them.”