WASHINGTON, D.C. – Just who is Arne Duncan trying to fool? It was not so long ago that he made public appearances attacking anyone who had the nerve to question the value of the new national Common Core academic standards.

He described opposition to Common Core as “more than a little silly,” suggested that the critics are nothing more than a bunch of ignorant ”white suburban moms” and practically begged reporters to refute criticisms of Common Core.

Now, in the face of a growing national backlash, Duncan seems to be backtracking.

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In a hearing before the U.S. House appropriations subcommittee Tuesday, Duncan said he merely favors “high standards” in public schools, and added that whether they are “common or not is secondary,” according to Education Week.

Horse hockey.

If that were the case, Duncan would have encouraged states to allow the thousands of schools across the nation with high standards to skip Common Core and keep doing what they’re doing. That is certainly not what’s happening.

Duncan also testified that there are “zero” federal grants tied to Common Core.

What absolute nonsense.

The Obama administration, with Duncan’s blessing and full cooperation, used the $4 billion “Race to the Top” program, as well as waivers from the “No Child Left Behind” law, to practically bribe states into adopting the standards.

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The fact is that we’re in an election year, and the Obama administration is very eager to preserve Democratic control of the U.S. Senate. Common Core is proving to be wildly unpopular across the nation, among people of all political persuasions, and now the administration is desperately hoping voters will forget who imposed this mess on us in the first place.

It would be a lot easier to respect Duncan if he looked in the camera and maintained his stubborn defense of Common Core, or sheepishly acknowledged that he was wrong about the new standards.

But watching him act as though he never pushed for Common Core in the first place is downright sickening. No wonder people despise two-faced, self-serving politicians so much.