The anti-Common Core movement within the Republican party and conservative circles is real
- and it's got to scare the hell out of Jeb Bush, Michelle Rhee, Arne Duncan, Barack Obama and the rest of the education corporatists:
The Common Core system is meant to unify K-12 education standards in states across the nation.
having the opposite effect within the Republican Party, as a rift grows
between supporters including high-profile figures such as Jeb Bush,
Mitch Daniels and other Republicans who had a hand in crafting it and
those who fear it's a well-disguised federal takeover of schools.
from conservatives has reached a boiling point, leading the Republican
National Committee last week to adopt a resolution condemning the
More than 100 parent groups and other organizations
held a "Twitter rally" this week to galvanize opposition to the
standards. Pundits such as Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck are leading
the charge against Common Core, and that effort is spurring action in
Republican lawmakers in Alabama this week are
introducing legislation to get their state out of Common Core, which has
been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.
backlash and RNC resolution are major setbacks for what had been, until
recently, widely accepted as a significant step forward for the nation's
public schools. It also was seen as a rare bipartisan accomplishment.
would be a huge political mistake for the Republican Party to repudiate
its long-standing commitment to high standards," said Michael Petrilli,
a Common Core supporter and executive vice president of the Thomas B.
Fordham Institute, a conservative education think tank.
tragedy. It was really Republicans and conservatives that were the first
ones to push for high standards. I understand the federalism concerns,
but this is getting caught up in a larger anger against President
Obama," he said.
Indeed, the Obama administration strongly
supports Common Core, though it didn't have a hand in crafting it. The
standards which do not establish specific curricula, but instead set
English and math benchmarks for students at each grade level were the
joint effort of the National Governors Association and Council of Chief
State School Officers.
already in effect in Kentucky, and are scheduled to go into effect in
other states this year or next. Sitting Republican governors, such as
Louisiana's Bobby Jindal, Tennessee's Bill Haslam, still fully back
Common Core and are preparing their states for implementation.
other Republicans see it as another step in the slow erosion of local
control over education. That concern drove the RNC to address the issue
last week, passing a resolution blasting Common Core as a
"one-size-fits-all" system and "an inappropriate overreach to
standardize and control the education of our children."
members see their resolution as a response to growing outrage within the
party over Common Core, and some argue that Republican governors simply aren't responsive to what average citizens want.
we do as a party must reflect the wishes of the grass roots," said
Solomon Yue, the RNC committeeman from Oregon. "As governors, they might
take a position that will get them re-elected. As a party, we must take
a principled position. If we believe in local control, then oppose
Common Core. If we believe parents know better than governors, then
oppose Common Core. If we believe we should not use
one-standard-fits-all, then oppose Common Core."
Grassley, Iowa Republican, jumped into the mix Thursday by criticizing
the White House for tying money and other perks such as points in the
Race to the Top grant competition to adoption of Common Core.
is now circulating a letter asking Senate Appropriations Committee
leaders to approve legislation to prevent the federal Education
Department from taking any action that would "directly or indirectly"
set academic content.
"Federal incentives have clouded the
picture" and marred what had been a voluntary state-run effort, Mr.
Grassley said, echoing the widespread conservative fear that Common Core
is the first step in a national curriculum.
Supporters of the standards are trying to hold their coalition together under unprecedented pressure.
Foundation for Excellence in Education, founded by Mr. Bush and a
strong voice in favor of Common Core, is accusing the RNC of having "no
real debate on the issue" and caving to fear and paranoia.
believe the vote was due in large part to the enormous amount of
misinformation and myths that still exist about this state-driven,
voluntary effort," Foundation spokesman Jaryn Emhof said in a statement
Thursday. "The Common Core standards are not a national curriculum or a
national mandate. Common Core standards will not erode students' privacy
rights or allow the federal government to inappropriately track
students as some pundits have declared."
Others hold out hope that
fear will subside once the standards are examined more closely. It's
simply a matter of whether Common Core backers can make that case
effectively before states such as Alabama and others pull out of the
"My hope is that when Republican governors and
legislators look at this [RNC] resolution and consider whether they want
to have the Republican party be opposed to standards and testing, they
will push to undo this," Mr. Petrilli said.
It's great to see this opposition bubbling up from conservatives and Tea Party types.
It makes it very difficult for education corporatist Republicans like Jeb Bush to "hold their coalition together" and it begins to undercut the meme that Common Core is an uncontroversial, bipartisan movement to improve school standards across the nation.
It also will make a Jeb Bush run for president almost impossible.
Bush is flirting with running, although I have always thought those Bush trial bubbles in the press were more about Jeb aggrandizing his own ego and promoting his businesses than a serious attempt at gauging public interest in his running for president.
Nonetheless, if Bush does want to run, he is going to have a difficult time winning the GOP nomination with many rank-and-file Republicans opposing Common Core, one of Bush's signature policy agenda positions which he shares with Barack Obama and Arne Duncan.
In fact, Arne has appeared at Bush's education propaganda-fests, something else that will be held against Bush.
So this opposition to Common Core that is coming from Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck and others serves two larger purposes to me:
1. It means the Common Core movement now has to fight anti-Common Core people on both the right and left
2. It means Jeb Bush has one more ball and chain around his leg dragging him down for a White House run. If the Bush name wasn't enough of a drag, now he's got Common Core too.
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