Open Letter to Gov. Hickenlooper on Common Core

Jan 16, 2014 by AFP

January 21, 2014

The Honorable John Hickenlooper
The State Capitol
200 E. Colfax
Denver, CO 80203

Dear Governor Hickenlooper:

In politics, as in life, there’s no shame in admitting that a decision made in haste or passion turned out, on deeper reflection, to have been a mistake. That’s why Americans for Prosperity and its statewide grassroots network respectfully asks that you take a year-long time out, for further evaluation and debate, before plunging ahead with the latest federal education fad called Common Core.

We recognize that state leaders of both parties were well-intentioned when they gave Common Core early approval. But so much troubling new information has come to light since then – so many problems are being reported from other Common Core states — that this would be a good time to pause, look at the problems Common Core is creating elsewhere, and revisit the question of whether it’s right for Colorado.

Anyone can make the mistake of leaping before you look. But in Colorado’s case, there’s still time to deploy a parachute before the unfortunate impacts of this initiative are felt in Colorado school rooms. The consequences of a misstep now will be felt in Colorado schools for years to come. There’s no shame in taking a thoughtful pause before moving forward.

The more Americans learn about Common Core, the more questions and concerns arise, on everything from the watered-down standards and the politically-correct classroom content, to the “teaching to the test” rigidity. As the realities of Common Core belatedly become apparent to parents, teachers, administrators and school board members, a backlash is building, which has some states turning thumbs down and others taking a second look. We think Colorado should do the same.

Colorado isn’t the only state that embraced Common Core before flaws in the concept became so apparent. But how we handle this situation now, or mishandle it, is critical, with real-world consequences in our classrooms for decades to come. Other states have been applying the brakes, in order to take another look. Colorado should too.

One of the nation’s foremost experts on Common Core, Dr. Sandra Stotsky, will be in the state as our guest later this month, speaking on the issue. We would happily make her available if you or your staff would be interested in hearing her critiques of the program.

We thank you in advance for giving these matters your serious thought. And we stand ready to work with you, respectfully and cooperatively, to have the informed debate about Common Core that was lacking the first time around.


Dustin Zvonek
Colorado State Director
Americans for Prosperity

Cc: Senate President Morgan Carroll
Cc: Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman
Cc: House Speaker Mark Ferrandino
Cc: House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso