Fox News Channel host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) is considering a 2016 presidential bid, and one of the first things he has done to test the waters for his candidacy is to abandon the Common Core academic standards, a sign that the new education program is fast becoming a toxic issue for political candidates.
Paul Bedard of the Washington Examiner reported that, backed by ministers who would like to see an evangelical Protestant in the White House, Huckabee plans to address David Lane’s evangelical Arkansas Renewal Project December 12-13.
During his FNC show over the weekend, however, Huckabee made a special note of letting viewers know he was no longer supporting the Common Core standards for which he and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) have been avid campaigners.
Huckabee opened his show 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 or that he needs 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 said.
I believe education is a local or state function, not a federal one. Sadly, the very label, Common Core, has come to be associated with things that I detest, like agenda-driven curriculum that indoctrinates instead of educates. I’m convinced that the term “Common Core” needs to disappear from the lexicon of education policy. It’s a toxic term because it’s come to mean things that most of us can’t stomach, like top-down federal intrusion into the local schools where you live.
In distancing himself from Common Core, however, Huckabee accused others of “hijacking” the standards for the purpose of personal data collection and indoctrination.
Interestingly, the so-called “architect” of Common Core, David Coleman who is now the president of the College Board, told Michael Farris, founder and chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), that he was not happy about the student database either. In an interview in July, Farris said Coleman told him the collection of personal student data was not originally part of Common Core and that other people have seized upon the opportunity to develop a centralized data collection effort through the standards’ implementation.
The notion that the Common Core standards were “hijacked” by “others” is interesting in light of Breitbart News’ report last week that the origins of Common Core can be found in the ties among Barack Obama and Bill Ayers, who were on the board of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge (CAC), founded by radical communist Ayers and for which Obama served as chairman, and current U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, who was CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. The purpose of the CAC was indoctrination and income redistribution.
In fact, President Obama and Secretary Duncan still are actively promoting Ayers’ Small Schools Workshop in the U.S. Department of Education’s recent document, Promoting Grit, Tenacity, and Perseverance: Critical Factors for Success in the 21st Century.
Huckabee’s abandonment of Common Core, nevertheless, may be what Americans will see more of as the education hot-button issue could be a key topic in the 2014 and 2016 elections.
Joy Pullmann at Heartland.org writes that while “politicians who ignore this sleeper topic endanger themselves in 2014 and 2016,” they have chosen to ignore it because they believe Common Core to be a subject about which many Americans know little about:
The polls don’t actually offer politicians much comfort, although many of them undoubtedly trust that public ignorance is a good omen for their support. That seems to be the line from the White House, where a spokesman attempting to cover for Duncan told “Politico” that “supporters of the new standards should focus on the substantial number of parents who routinely tell pollsters they don’t know enough about the Common Core to have a firm opinion.”
Observing that most grassroots Common Core opponents are women–hence, Secretary Duncan’s recent controversial comment that ‘white suburban moms” are attacking his signature endeavor–Pullmann writes that the “biggest thing Washington politicos may be overlooking about Common Core is the simple fact that wedge issues matter.”
“Getting passionate people to vote is half the point of a campaign,” she adds. “The Common Core moms have a reason to vote, and boy, do they have a lot of friends.”