In a press release issued late Thursday afternoon, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the following in response to skepticism on the part of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley (R) about the Common Core national standards push:

The idea that the Common Core standards are nationally-imposed is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy. The Common Core academic standards were both developed and adopted by the states, and they have widespread bipartisan support.

The secretary’s defensive statement is telling: If the Common Core standards are truly state-led, it is curious that the Department of Education would be weighing in on an issue related to the education standards South Carolina will use. That Duncan has chosen to issue a public statement on South Carolina’s uneasiness about the Common Core push is an indication of just how heavily involved the federal government is with the effort, and the amount of control it stands to gain once states surrender standard-setting authority to Washington.

And it’s not a conspiracy theory—as Duncan claims—if a confluence of evidence exists to support charges that these are national standards.

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