As Americans become educated about the controversial Common Core standards, more states are finding ways to make U-turns to get their students, parents, and teachers out of the nationalized system of standards.
Once thought to be a champion for education initiatives, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) is now finding himself to be an outsider as more of his Republican colleagues are renouncing the Common Core standards. Bush and allies, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and primary private funder of the standards Bill Gates, continue to support them despite their increasing unpopularity.
The Wall Street Journal observes:
Mr. Bush’s embrace of Common Core, as well as his support for legalizing undocumented immigrants, is coming to define his national profile ahead of a possible 2016 presidential bid. These stances isolate him from the conservatives who dominate Republican nominating contests. Last week, they demonstrated their power by ousting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a Virginia GOP primary.
In Cincinnati, Ohio, on Monday, for example, the RNC held a $32,400 per “co-chair” fundraiser with RNC chairman Reince Priebus and Bush as the headlined speaker.
Ohioans Against Common Core, however, was on hand with a clear message: #StopJebNow. Grassroots activists pointed out that both the RNC and the Hamilton County GOP have passed resolutions rejecting the Common Core standards initiative.
According to the RNC platform:
Resolved, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is – an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal;” and be it further
Resolved, that the Republican National Committee rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student’s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state; and be it finally
Resolved, that the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods, p. 36); and therefore, the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.
Heidi Huber, a parent organizer of the Ohio event, said her group wanted to be sure to let the entire RNC know that conservatives in Hamilton County are against Common Core and Bush’s message.
“Our presence sort of cast a cloud over the event, highlighting an absence of cohesion they so desire heading into the general,” Huber told Breitbart News. “Our State Treasurer, Josh Mandel, was also in attendance and is, to my knowledge, the only state treasurer to come out rejecting Common Core.”
“Our #StopJebNow rally was intended to be a wake-up call from ground zero, Hamilton County, Ohio,” Huber continued. “We are considered the key county in the key state for presidential elections. Jeb Bush and his Common Core accomplices need to be recognized as violating a basic Party tenet.”
“Many of us participating in Monday’s rally are elected County Central Committee members who understand that without principles, there is no Party,” Huber said. “The word from inside the event noted that Jeb received strong pushback about Common Core and was told he was ‘dead wrong’ on the issue.”
“Yesterday’s rally should be repeated across the country to send the clear message, our children are not for sale,” she added.
In fact, as the Hechinger Report, an independent education news outlet, observes, the “common” in Common Core is now “fractured” as more states pull their support from the standards most adopted sight unseen.
As the report indicates:
Fewer than half of states that signed up to share exams will administer those tests next year. Seventeen states are planning to use their own tests or other versions, including one created by ACT, the college testing giant. And other states are wavering about whether to adopt the shared tests, including New York and Michigan.
An Education Week analysis found that now just 42 percent of K-12 students will take the tests designed by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC) if loyalties stick in 2015 and beyond.
The state that has scored the biggest win against the Common Core standards is Oklahoma where Gov. Mary Fallin (R), though chair of the National Governors Association – one of the developers and owners of the standards – signed a bill that repealed the standards in her state and returned Oklahoma’s public schools to their prior standards.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R) has also signed a bill requiring her state to replace the Common Core standards. It remains to be seen what the “replacement” standards will look like.
In other states, such as Indiana, where Gov. Mike Pence (R) claims to have “repealed” the Common Core standards but actually simply “rebranded” them with another name, anti-Common Core grassroots groups continue to push their message to get the standards repealed.
Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) in Louisiana, who was previously in favor of the Common Core standards, is now actively trying to remove his state from their hold.
In Missouri and North Carolina, lawmakers are also working on ways to replace the Common Core standards.
As the Hechinger Report notes, “The Common Core’s main selling point was that new, shared standards would ensure American students were learning at the same rates across state lines.”
With the “common” in Common Core now already fractured, however, what is the point of continuing to sell them as the education panacea they never were in the first place?