AUSTIN — Attorney General Greg Abbott’s gubernatorial campaign turned up the rhetoric against federal education standards Monday, soliciting donations with a fiery call to arms that “We must crush Common Core.”
“Help Greg Abbott ensure that President Obama’s Common Core stays OUT of the Lone Star State by making a contribution today,” said the email from campaign staffer Lynn Haueter, adding that “we can’t let the Obama Administration get its hands on Texas schools.”
Of course, the national standards crafted by governors across the country and adopted by almost all states are already not much of a threat to the Lone Star State because of the efforts of Abbott and others. Texas formally rejected Common Core in 2010 and passed a law prohibiting public schools from adopting them. Last month, Abbott confirmed that in a new ruling.
Abbott has vowed that “as governor, I am not going to allow Common Core in Texas.”
His Democratic opponent, state Sen. Wendy Davis, has also said she opposes Common Core, but has not made it as central to her campaign.
While Texas was joined by only Alaska in refusing to help develop the standards, several states have since joined the anti-Common Core movement, the Texas Tribune reported Monday.
The birthplace of No Child Left Behind is also in the vanguard of the anti-CCSS movement:
“Texas was in front of opposing the standards right before they even came off the press. But the other state boards of education weren’t paying attention to Texas’ reasons. What Texas was doing just wasn’t on the horizon for them,” said Sandra Stotsky, an education researcher and longtime opponent of the Common Core.In the years since, similar concerns have driven four Republican controlled states — Indiana, Louisiana, South Carolina and Oklahoma — to announce that they were dropping them from their public schools. Several other states, including Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio and Missiouri have faced pressure to do the same....Only Alaska joined Texas in refusing to sign on to developing the Common Core standards. A few months later, Texas was among the earliest states to turn down participation in the Obama Administration’s signature education program, the Race to the Top competition, a decision that was dismissed as politically motivated posturing from Gov. Rick Perry, who was facing a primary challenge from then-U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. The program had initially set aside $4.35 billion in grants for states that agreed to put in place overhauls like Common Core.“This effort can be seen as a step toward a federal takeover of the nation’s public schools,” wrote Education Commissioner Robert Scott, who expressed his concerns in a November 2009 letter to the state’s congressional delegation. “I believe that the true intention of this effort is to establish one set of national education standard and national tests across the country.”When Texas decided not to participate in Race to the Top, Scott, along with Perry, were the Common Core’s “most explicit and vocal critics,” said Rick Hess, an education policy expert with the conservative American Enterprise Institute. What they identified would form a key argument against the standards that their proponents would have a difficult time shaking, he said.“Part of what they pointed out is that Common Core is not just reading and math standards; it’s also an invitation for the federal government to play an increasingly large role through this national program,” he said. “If you don’t trust the federal government to mind its P’s and Q’s, that’s probably a lot more significant than whether you think they are slightly better reading and math standards.”
So far, much of the political opposition is coming from Republicans.
Many Democrats remain supporters (though quiet ones) of the Common Core, as do Democratic Party functionaries like the teachers unions.
But Wendy Davis, the Democrat running for governor of Texas, is an interesting exception to that.
Political expediency says even if she wanted to support the Core, to do so in Texas would be political suicide.
As that environment starts to spread nationally (and you can see it happening already - the polling trajectory of the Common Core is squarely negative - see here, here and here), it will be come more advantageous for Democrats in other states to jump on the anti-CCSS bandwagon too.
We're not there yet, but we're getting there and when we do, that's when it will become official - Common Core will be deader than disco fashions from the 70's.
The polling shows something that is very, very important to understand:
The more people become familiar with the Common Core, the less they like it.
And the less people like the Common Core and the more the opposition to it grows, the more politicians we're going to see oppose it and the quicker we'll see it die.