Funny Or Trump: Watch the Hilarious Online Spoof That Calls Out GOP Rhetoric on Common Core Standards

The hell with books, because learning to read is no longer important. Instead, get out your number 2 pencils, kids, because school’s now only about scantrons and standardized testing! Yippee!

You can thank the Common Core State Standards for those tests — and for all the kids with mustaches and microchips in their eyes. At least that’s what you might believe if you listen to the rhetoric about school standards from the leading Republican presidential candidates — or if you only watch the first half of a new spoof video on the humor website Funny Or Die.

The video may be fun to watch but it’s also comedy with a message, promoted by the public policy organization Center for American Progress, which has long supported the standards. Buried in the punchline is an attempt to dispel myths about what the standards actually do: “Common Core is just some standards my teachers use so, you know, we can get into college, and get a job,” the eldest daughter says in the video, “and hopefully move out of our crazy parents’ house.”

But don’t you worry, Common Core foes— the “Pod People” haven’t brainwashed everybody just yet: There’s still Donald Trump and Ted Cruz!

Earlier this month, leading Republican presidential candidates Trump and Cruz uttered so many Common Core gaffes during a single debate that The 74’s Carolyn Phenicie couldn’t stay silent. Here’s a rundown of the candidates’ three boldest proclamations, and Phenicie’s attempt to bring them back to reality — mutant armies not included:

DONALD TRUMP: “It [the Common Core] has been taken over by the federal government. It was originally supposed to be that way [developed by states and voluntarily implemented by states and districts]. And certainly sounds better that way. But it has all been taken over now by the bureaucrats in Washington.”

FACT: It was the states — more specifically the Council of Chief State School Officers and National Governors Association — that developed the standards. During the Obama administration, the Education Department has played no specific role in the implementation of those standards, and the classroom curriculum used to meet the broad goals set out in Common Core is created by districts and states, as it always has been. Further, states have made tweaks to the Common Core standards since their initial adoption and, in some cases, have decided to drop the standards entirely. (Check out our flashcards: Understanding the Common Core in 2 minutes or less)

TED CRUZ: “The Obama administration has abused executive power in forcing Common Core on the states. It has used Race to the Top funds to effectively blackmail and force the states to adopt Common Core.”

FACT: States competing for Race to the Top funds in 2009 got more points on their application for the adoption of “internationally benchmarked standards and assessments that prepare students for success in college and the workplace.” Adopting those standards won a state 40 points out of 500 possible, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Congress has not funded Race to the Top grants in the annual appropriations process for several years, and several states – notably Oklahoma and Indiana – have dropped the Common Core.

Former Louisiana Gov. and GOP presidential candidate Bobby Jindal sued former Secretary Arne Duncan and the department, alleging that they offered an illegal “quid pro quo” to states to adopt the standards in exchange for Race to the Top money. A federal judge ruled against Jindal in September.

TED CRUZ: “The one silver lining of Obama abusing executive power is that everything done with executive power can be undone with executive power, and I intend to do that.”

FACT: Federal law already prohibits the government from forcing states to adopt Common Core.  

The Every Student Succeeds Act, which Obama signed into law in December, includes 13 references to the Common Core – all limitations on federal power to meddle in curriculum.

Specifically from the law: “No officer or employee of the federal government shall, through grants, contracts, or other cooperative agreements, mandate, direct, or control a state, local education agency, or school’s specific instructional content, academic standards and assessments, curricula, or other program of instruction…including any requirement, direction, or mandate to adopt the Common Core State Standards.”

To the contrary, ESSA specifically protects states’ rights to “enter into a voluntary partnership with another state to develop and implement” challenging academic standards.

— Carolyn Phenicie contributed to this report

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