Former CNN anchor-turned education reform expert Campbell Brown recently attacked opponents of the Common Core standards and potential GOP presidential candidates who have flip-flopped on their views of the initiative.
In a Washington Post column over the weekend, the founder of the Partnership for Educational Justice accused Governors Bobby Jindal (R-LA), Chris Christie (R-NJ), and Scott Walker (R-WI) of “pandering” to conservatives at CPAC by professing their recent dislike of the controversial reform.
Conservative activists who have been learning about Common Core for years now — far longer than Brown has been an education reform expert — probably recognized that Christie was not all that convincing regarding his “grave concerns” about the standards, especially since he has yet to do much in his own state to eliminate them.
Similarly, while Walker has confronted the teachers’ unions in Wisconsin, both his lack of commitment to fully repeal the Common Core and his ardent support of workforce development — espoused by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — suggest he believes a function of government is to provide big business with a labor force.
Jindal may have once supported the Common Core, but he is now one of the very few sitting governors who has attempted to eliminate the initiative from his state. In fact, late last week a U.S. District Court judge ruled that Jindal’s case against the Obama administration’s alleged federal overreach has standing and may proceed.
Alternately, Brown defended former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) – who was booed at CPAC because of his adamant support for both Common Core and amnesty for illegal immigrants:
Meanwhile, former Florida governor Jeb Bush has become a target for standing by Common Core as a voluntary minimum level of rigor for all states. His message to governors: Go ahead and set your own standards if you want; just make them at least as rigorous.
Brown doesn’t appear to know a lot about Common Core. Those who have been up on the standards will have some issues with her comments:
Let’s be clear about what Common Core is. It spells out what students should know at the end of each grade. The goal is to ensure that our students are sound in math and literacy and that our schools have some basic consistency nationwide. But the standards do not dictate a national curriculum, and teachers are not told how or what to teach.
Heather Crossin, co-founder of Hoosiers Against Common Core, has been around the block a few times now with the standards.
“Campbell Brown makes the same, tired mistakes so many out of touch reporters and politicians do — wishfully dismissing the complaints of tens of thousands of parents across the country as being politically motivated or the result of misinformation,” Crossin told Breitbart News. “Politicians who turn such a blind eye to the fierce and growing band of parents opposing Common Core, as Brown would have them do, do so at their own peril.”
Crossin observed the power of the grassroots, anti-Common Core movement — the same one that forced a bill to reauthorize the federal No Child Left Behind (HR5) law off the floor of the U.S. House late last week.
“If catapulting Common Core to being a number one presidential litmus-test issue wasn’t enough to prove the power of the anti-Common Core movement, the fact that HR5 — which would have increased the arm of the federal government in spite of some good provisions — was pulled from a floor vote does,” said Crossin. “It means the cries of parents can no longer be ignored and drowned out by the numerous deep-pocketed groups who are used to ruling D.C.”
“Brown is completely incorrect in her claim that the development of these standards was driven by the nation’s governors,” Louisiana parent activist Anna Arthurs told Breitbart News. “Bill Gates has admitted the origins of Common Core began in the summer of 2008 when Gene Wilhoit and David Coleman came to his Seattle home and gave a sales pitch about their idea to Bill and Melinda Gates.”
“Within weeks of this meeting, Mr. Gates made a commitment to bankroll the development of the Common Core State Standards,” Arthurs added.
On its home page, Brown’s pro-Common Core “Partnership” states, “Education policies should be rooted in evidence and common sense, and they should always make student learning the top priority.”
It is surprising that Brown’s organization should choose to support the Common Core initiative, which meets none of the criteria of its proclaimed mission statement.
The unproven Common Core standards were adopted by 46 states prior to even being published. No independent studies have been performed to validate the claims of proponents that the standards are “rigorous,” “internationally benchmarked,” or make students “college- and career-ready.”
As for “common sense,” where is the “sense” in eliminating truly proven, high-level standards — such as those in Massachusetts — and replacing them with the unproven Common Core?
In response to Brown’s remarks, president of Restore Oklahoma Public Education Jenni White told Breitbart News that she wrote comments in a blog post last September to counter “the same tired comments that were dragged out of every closet from every sector once the tide started to shift in our direction.”
Nearly every shot fired in the “War against the Core” has been fired by regular, plain old, “we the people” citizenry. The parents crowding into forums on Common Core, lead by citizens themselves, or staying up half the night researching the initiative on their own because they are dealing with kids crying over math homework for which they can provide no help, are not power brokers who can afford lobbyists, three color mailers or 30 second spots on CNN – they are not exercising their right to “politics” – they are exercising their right to self-government. The Common Core fight isn’t about politics, it’s about governance – it’s about “we the people’ – and that’s EXACTLY the way it SHOULD be in America.
A number of 2016 hopefuls who are solidly against the Common Core standards spoke at CPAC this year. In addition to Jindal, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), and Dr. Ben Carson all targeted Common Core over the weekend.
As the Washington Times observed, “nearly six in 10 of the more than 3,000 voters who took part in The Times/CPAC straw poll over the weekend said that they ‘would never vote for a Republican nominee that supports Common Core.’”
The magnitude of the anti-Common Core grassroots movement is unlike any seen recently in the nation.
“If the Common Core reform were truly ‘state-led,’ as it was sold, you wouldn’t have this groundswell of opposition and anger from parents,” New Hampshire grassroots parent organizer Ann Marie Banfield explained to Breitbart News. “This reform is the result of a heavy-handed federal overreach into our local classrooms, and we are confronting it.”