South Carolina's representatives in Congress are lining up in opposition to the Common Core education standards, which outline what students should know and be able to do at every grade level.
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens, introduced a resolution Wednesday "condemning Common Core" and "denounc(ing) the use of federal coercion to lure states into adopting Common Core academic standards."
“Common Core is one of the most frequent concerns I hear from parents when I’m traveling across the district," Duncan said in a news release. "Parents and teachers alike are alarmed by this top-down approach to education that wrongly ties education money for states to the adoption of academic standards that do not fully reflect the values of South Carolina."
U.S. Reps. Mick Mulvaney, R-Indian Land, Mark Sanford, R-Charleston, and Joe Wilson, R-Springdale, signed on as co-sponsors to the resolution.
South Carolina's two Republican U.S. senators -- Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott -- introduced a similar resolution last week.
The standards are the center of a heated debate over how they were developed and adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. They likely will dominate the debate in the race for South Carolina's Superintendent of Education.
A collaboration between two associations representing governors and state schools chiefs, the standards were developed with input from educators and the public and adopted voluntarily by most states, supporters say.
South Carolina adopted the standards in 2010, when the state Board of Education and the S.C. Education Oversight Committee approved them, following the recommendation of a 41-member review panel that compared the Common Core standards with the state's own.
But critics, including most of South Carolina's congressional delegation members, say the standards were pushed on states by the U.S. Department of Education as a requirement to qualify for federal education grants, for which states could choose to compete.
A U.S. Department of Education spokeswoman said that while the Department did require states to adopt standards that prepare students for careers and college as part of its scoring for those grants, it did not specify that Common Core be those standards.