Some of the nation’s top Common Core experts are weighing in on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s recommendation to the creators of the initiative to “rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat.”
As Breitbart News reported on February 1st, Huckabee urged members of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), one of the groups that “created” the Common Core State Standards, to get rid of the “Common Core” name because it had become “toxic.”
Education Week‘s Andrew Ujifusa observed last November that Huckabee served as the conference’s keynote speaker.
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” Huckabee told CCSSO members.
Kansas Commissioner of Education Dr. Diane DeBacker, who attended the CCSSO meeting, tweeted out the following:
Mike Huckabee speaking in support of common core standards at CCSSO meeting in Richmond, VA.
— Diane DeBacker (@dianedebacker) November 15, 2013
In December, however, Huckabee told his Fox News audience, “I don’t support what Common Core has become in many states or school districts.”
“Look, I’m dead set against the federal government creating a uniform curriculum for any subject,” Huckabee said. “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.”
In fact, Huckabee’s “rebranding” of Common Core, without eliminating the standards, is a trend in the states.
As Breitbart News reported, Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) issued an executive order requiring that the Common Core standards adopted by her state in 2010 now be referred to as “Arizona’s College and Career Ready Standards.”
In Iowa, the Common Core standards are now referred to as “The Iowa Core,” and in Florida, some state officials hope to replace the words “Common Core” with “Next Generation Sunshine State” Standards.
“I’m surprised Governor Huckabee wants to change the label on the bottle of Arsenic to Sweetwater, but still give the Arsenic to all the nation’s children,” Common Core expert Dr. Sandra Stotsky told Breitbart News. “A skunk by any other name still smells.”
Stotsky, who was asked to be a member of the Common Core Validation Committee, added, “I would hope that Governor Huckabee comes to realize that all children need more rigorous mathematics standards, especially minority children, and that Common Core’ s high school mathematics standards were designed to dumb everyone down because its designers don’t think any minority children are capable of a STEM career.”
In a statement to Breitbart News, Hillsdale College Professor Dr. Terrence Moore, author of The Story-Killers: A Common-Sense Case Against the Common Core, said, “Governor Huckabee’s position is that of someone who has not made the effort to understand what the Common Core really is or what a truly liberal education really is.”
“Perhaps he, too, is a victim of soundbites and talking points and slick campaigning,” Moore added. “Nonetheless, we expect more insight from our leaders, especially from someone who has been responsible for an entire state’s education.”
Similarly, Dr. Anne Hendershott, sociology professor at Franciscan University, told Breitbart News, “When Governor Huckabee says that he does not ‘support what the Common Core has become in many states and school districts,’ I have to wonder what he thought would happen when he and the other governors invited the Federal Government into their school districts to mandate federal standards.”
Hendershott, who has written extensively in opposition to Catholic dioceses’ adoption of the Common Core standards, added Huckabee “had to know that standards always drive curriculum. He had to know that local school districts would lose control over what they were teaching once the federal government began mandating what students would have to learn.”
“I understand that federal dollars for education is a temptation for even conservative governors,” said Hendershott, “but this deal with the federal government was never going to turn out well for children, teachers, and parents.”
Educator and statistician Dr. Mercedes Schneider, who has compiled one of the most comprehensive websites regarding the Common Core standards, also spoke to Breitbart News about the notion of “rebranding” Common Core.
“That’s what businesses do, they play the game,” said Schneider. “They market their product differently so more people will want to buy it. Huckabee’s so blatant about it, he didn’t even try to couch the words.”
“But social media is blowing the whistle on these Common Core supporters,” Schneider said, adding that more parents and teachers are involved in the grassroots movement against the Common Core initiative.
“Grassroots is the resistance and it is expressing itself in social media,” Schneider said.