Former Tennessee Congressman Explains ‘Why Voters Love Common Core’

Former Tennessee Congressman Explains ‘Why Voters Love Common Core’

Writing at the Daily Beast, former U.S. Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. (TN-D), has decided that “voters love Common Core” simply because the standards “work.”

Ford’s interpretation of the midterm election results is that voters sent a message not to abandon the Common Core standards.

Using the now all too familiar talking points of elitist proponents of the controversial Common Core standards, the former congressman writes the debate over the nationalized education initiative has simply been fueled by opponents who “spent this past election season distorting and misrepresenting the progress going on in the classroom.”

Those who oppose the Common Core, however, should not be concerned about Ford’s criticism because he does feel sorry for them and believes some of them are “genuinely confused about Common Core’s development and purpose…”

“Fortunately, on November 4 a majority of parents decided it’s hard to deny success in the classroom,” he says, nevertheless.

Ford’s penchant for analysis of academic standards is unknown, but he was described in 2010 at the Beast as someone from “a dynastic political family tree in Tennessee (with the requisite bad apples),” who “left the state and embarked on a new seven-figure job working for Merrill Lynch.” 

Like Gates-funded Fordham Institute president Michael Petrilli, Ford has bought into the fairy tale that opposition to the Common Core by parents and citizens in general amounts to little more than a tiff.

As Breitbart News reported several weeks ago, Petrilli predicted after the election that though the Common Core had suffered a few bruises, the majority of states will move ahead with what he terms are “higher standards,” though no independent group has determined they are, in fact, “higher.”

Petrilli is also looking forward to the bench of 2016 establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, and John Kasich, whom he cites as strong supporters of the Common Core.

Ford appears to be on board with Petrilli, and also Rick Hess and Mike McShane of American Enterprise Institute, who declared recently that Common Core was “invisible” during the midterm elections.

Writing additionally that 12 incumbent governors who publicly support Common Core easily won reelection, and that in only four states were the standards really an issue at all, Ford also says, “in the 44 states where Common Core is used, only 6 governors and 4 superintendents said they wanted to change course on Common Core.”

Surely, these Common Core supporters protest too much, with so much ink wasted and time spent on statistics over such an insignificant electoral issue.

In his own home state of Tennessee–before he decided he wanted to run for the U.S. Senate from New York–Ford writes that Common Core is a success because “college-readiness rates among high school students saw the biggest improvement this year since the state began testing.”

Interestingly, as Fox News reported, Tennessee appears poised to repeal the nationalized standards, with two Republican state senators, Mike Bell and Dolores Gresham, having introduced legislation two weeks ago to do just that. The measure comes on the heels of Gov. Bill Haslam (R) calling for a public review of the Common Core.

In fact, during the summer meetings of the National Governors Association (NGA), one of the owners of the copyright to the Common Core standards, told the Wall Street Journal that the controversial reform had become a “political minefield” and “radioactive,” certainly not the kind of language used to describe a mere blip of an electoral issue.

“Like many other states, this is a key issue this year in Tennessee,” said Bell, chairman of the government operations committee. “I believe we need control over our own state standards.”

Parents, teachers, and citizens against the new standards, of course, will be watching to ensure the standards ultimately chosen for the Volunteer State are not simply a “rebrand” of the Common Core.

The problem with Ford’s analysis, however, is that the Common Core standards have never been proven to be valid measures of “college readiness.” As Breitbart News reported in April, Ze’ev Wurman, a visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and former senior policy adviser with the U.S. Department of Education, demonstrated that claims that the Common Core is internationally competitive and reflective of college-readiness are actually not valid.

Wurman, the author of “Common Core’s Validation: A Weak Foundation for a Crooked House,” published by the Massachusetts-based Pioneer Institute, described two studies conducted by Validation Committee members, who signed off on the Common Core standards in 2010, and then later attempted to find post facto evidence to justify their decisions. In both studies, the research was poorly executed and failed to provide evidence of the claims of Common Core supporters.

In addition to polls demonstrating plummeting support for the standards, the spike in homeschooling as a result of the Common Core presence in traditional school environments is yet another sign of the reform’s imminent demise.

As The Heartland Institute’s Joy Pullmann told Breitbart News recently, “To pretend Common Core is a non-issue ignores the Common Core supporters who are bailing on its federal tests like rats from a sinking ship.”


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