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As Congress moves to consider renewal of the main federal education law this summer, the administration has been working behind the scenes to incorporate language that would give the U.S. Department of Education centralized control over K-12 curriculum across the country , including a national test that all students would take multiple times per year.

This morning, 118 educational and other leaders released a manifesto opposing these efforts. You can read it and add your signature at www.k12innovation.com .

Readers of First Things might be especially interested in an essay I’ve written, appearing in the online journal The Public Discourse this morning, about how nationalizing control of K-12 education would impact the dissolution of American culture:

Suppose you were nostalgic for the culture wars of the 1990s. Most of us have been relieved over the past decade, as the level of cultural savagery has begun to recede, and Americans with different religious and moral viewpoints haven’t been quite as eager to viciously tear each other apart as they used to be. But suppose you missed the height of the culture wars, and wanted to find a way to bring it all back. You could hardly do better than to turn over control of K-12 education to the national government. If the 1990s were a culture war, the 2010s will be a culture Ragnarok.

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