Over the past few years, as almost every state adopted the Common Core standards, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan insisted they did so voluntarily. He insisted that the creation of the standards was “state-led” and that the federal government had nothing to do with it. No part of these statements was true. The states adopted the CC because they would not be eligible to compete for a share of nearly $5 billion in Race to the Top funding unless they did so. “State-led” meant that the Gates Foundation, which enjoys a close relationship with the US Department of Education, paid more than $200 million to create and evaluate CCSS, and as much as $2 billion to aid in their promotion, advocacy, and implementation.

It would be illegal for the US Department of Education to direct, supervise, or control curriculum or instruction, so Duncan has pretended he was an arms-length observer.

But he was not and is not.

Mercedes Schneider tells the story here of Duncan’s efforts to force Indiana to stick with standards that were allegedly “state-led” and that were not as good as the standards that Indiana previously had. On what legal authority does he have the right or power to tell a state what its academic standards should be? None.

When Indiana recently threatened to drop the Common Core, the US Department promptly sent out a letter threatening to withdraw the state’s waiver from NCLB, on grounds that Indiana had promised to adhere to high academic standards as a condition of getting the waiver.

The irony here is that Indiana already had superior academic standards prior to adopting the Common Core. Even the conservative policy group, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, rated Indiana’s academic standards as at least equal to, perhaps superior to, the Common Core.

Duncan likes to tell the media that “we are lying to our children.” In this case, to put it euphemistically, he is prevaricating to the public.