I keep talking about the Common Core being a decision made at the federal level and foisted on states and localities. Advocates of Iowa’s version of the Common Core are careful to say that the Iowa Core was a state choice and that the adoption of the Common Core by individual states is purely “voluntary.” It’s true that the federal government cannot force the states to adopt the Common Core, but to say that its adoption is purely voluntary is disingenuous. The federal government made it clear that adopting the Common Core was a condition of getting waivers from No Child Left Behind and for qualifying for Race to the Top money. In other words, the federal government coerced the states into adopting the Common Core by threatening to withhold federal funds for education. Common Core supporters can defend that practice if they want, but they’re insulting our intelligence if they claim that it doesn’t undermine the values associated with federalism and local control.