Though former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told his Fox News Channel audience in early December he was no longer supporting the Common Core standards for which he had avidly campaigned, his message to one of the groups that created the standards was different.
According to The Washington Post, at a recent meeting of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the organizations that created the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), Huckabee urged state education officials to get rid of the “Common Core” name because it has become “toxic.”
As the Post indicates, however, Huckabee still intends to support the standards.
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” Huckabee reportedly told CCSSO members.
As Breitbart News reported in December, Huckabee, who is considered to be a Republican presidential hopeful in 2016, opened one of his shows by telling his audience that people have been posting on his Facebook page that they will never watch his show again because he supports the Common Core standards. Others, he said, have told him they could not trust him because of his support of the standards, and some said he needed to learn the truth about Common Core.
“I don’t support what Common Core has become in many states or school districts,” Huckabee said. “Look, I’m dead set against the federal government creating a uniform curriculum for any subject. I oppose the collection of personal data on students that would identify them and then track them, and certainly any effort to give that personal information to the federal government.”
“I am steadfast in my belief that parents – parents – should ultimately decide the best venue for their children’s education, whether it’s public schools, private schools, religious schools, or home schools,” Huckabee added.
Merely changing the name of the “Common Core” standards, in fact, is becoming the new trend across the country.
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) has used an executive order to purge the name “Common Core” from the standards and refer to them, instead, as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards: “The Executive Order requires that executive agencies refer to the standards, adopted in 2010, as Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards, and encourages citizens and education stakeholders to do the same.”
Similarly, in Iowa, the Common Core standards are now called The Iowa Core, and in Florida, the push is on to delete the words “Common Core” from official education documents and replace them with Next Generation Sunshine State Standards.
The superficial changes are indicative of several things.
First, the Common Core creators, the political class, and the Obama administration have clearly been placed on the defensive by parents, teachers, and American citizens in general – though not all of these groups are fighting Common Core for the same reasons.
For example, while many parents are concerned their children’s education will be dumbed down for the sake of the federal government’s desire to promote economic social justice and redistribution, teachers’ unions are focused on the fact that their angry members face teacher performance ratings that will be tied to students’ test scores on the Common Core-aligned assessments. Note that both the National Education Association (NEA) and Randi Weingarten’s American Federation of Teachers (AFT) have not rejected the Common Core standards at all – only their “implementation” as it has occurred.
As veteran educator and author Marion Brady wrote at the Post about the fact that Americans across the political spectrum are opposed to the Common Core:
Three cheers for those on the political right. Three more for those on the left. May the chaos in Washington and state capitols over education policy help the public realize that, in matters educational, the leaders of business and industry and the politicians who listen to them are blind bulls in china shops.
Compared to most of the complex realities facing humankind, what’s happening to the reality visible out my window is small potatoes. But making sense of it (and all other realities) requires a particular kind of thinking–a kind of thinking that makes civilized life possible. However, the Common Core Standards don’t promote that kind of thinking. That means it won’t get taught, which means it won’t get tested, which means we’re not really educating, which means too much to even try to summarize.
Second, a superficial tweaking of the “Common Core” name demonstrates that the political elite and corporatists funding the standards believe Americans can still be easily misled.
“Political power must be exercised, but parents, grandparents, and thoughtful, caring citizens are the only ones with enough clout to exercise it effectively,” Brady writes. “They need to recognize poor policy when they see it, organize, and act appropriately.”