The National Governors Association (NGA) owns the copyright – along with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) – to the Common Core State Standards. When the nationalized standards are mentioned these days, however, many governors would rather change the subject.In fact, the NGA, holding summer meetings in Nashville, had not even placed the controversial standards on its official agenda, a sign, as the Wall Street Journal states, “the bipartisan idea has become a political minefield.”
Much to the surprise of many Washington, D.C., pundits, the standards, and even the name itself, “Common Core,” have “become, in a sense, radioactive,” said Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad (R), according to the Associated Press.
Indeed, for Republicans, the issue of the Common Core has also been described by former Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) as “toxic,” and has served to separate the GOP establishment, supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, from constitutional conservatives who oppose the federal government’s hand in pushing Common Core through President Obama’s Race to the Top (RttT) stimulus program and the promise of relief from federal No Child Left Behind restrictions.
Huckabee used to be a big supporter of CCSS.
Now he's against them.
Bobby Jindal used to be a big supporter of CCSS.
Now he's fighting to pull his state of Louisiana out of using both the standards and the tests associated with them.
Just last January, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin defended the CCSS at a NGA meeting.
Last month, she signed a bill pulling her state out of using the standards, a move that a court backed up today as constitutional.
Even the pro-testing, pro-CCSS Chris Christie is reacting to the changed politics around the Core and the ancillary tests that go with it - he announced a review of the so-called effectiveness of the CCSS tests in his state of New Jersey.
Jeb Bush still loves the standards, as does Arne Duncan, Barack Obama, Randi Weingarten, Michael Mulgrew, Bill Gates and a host of editorial boards around the country.
But when you see all these governors (or former governors like Huckabee) who used to support the standards who are running from them as fast as they can, touting their opposition, that's when you know that the politics around the CCSS battle have really shifted.
Maybe Weingarten and Mulgrew think they've done their part to save the standards after engineering a pro-CCSS resolution at the AFT convention last weekend.
But it's pretty clear from what's happening outside of the Beltway that the trajectory in the CCSS battle is not positive for the CCSS.
That's what happens when a reform becomes "radioactive."