Bashing the Common Core

Is there a “conservative” attitude toward the new(ish) Common Core State Standards?  Though as we’ve noted, conservatives disagree, the session at the on-going Conservative Political Action Conference about the standards sounded like a bash-fest.

In the pages of The American Conservative, Gracy Olmstead offered a fly-on-the-wall report.  Conservative luminaries such as Phyllis Schlafly, Lindsey Burke of the Heritage Foundation, Robert Enlow of the Friedman Foundation, and Jim Stergios of the Pioneer Institute took the CCSS to task for centralizing education.

Such centralization, Schlafly warned, does not occur in an ideological vacuum.  With more control from Washington comes more “liberal propaganda,” Schlafly insisted, as she has done before.  Enlow warned that centralization introduced yet another level of government control, blocking parents from their rightful control of their children’s education.  And Stergios insisted that the CCSS claim to be “state-led” was laughable.

Did this CPAC panel define the only “conservative” position on the Common Core?  As Stergios noted, many conservatives like the core.  He thought that opinion was “ludicrous.”  But correspondent Gracy Olmstead disagreed.  She noted that the standards still attracted fans and foes from all political sides.

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  1. My sense is that Common Core presented itself as a state initiative, not federal, and as such gained support from conservatives who basically supported the advent of more decentralized national-but-not-federal initiatives. But that this conservative view shifted after the Obama-Duncan Dept of Ed added Common Core adoption to the criteria considered in Race to the Top Grants, in effect endorsing Common Core.

  2. Seeker

     /  March 9, 2014

    Former (secular) homeschooling mom of a now-high-school freshman. When my kiddo was still a high schooler, the conservative religious homeschoolers burned many pixels throwing hysterics over the Common Core. What it basically boiled down to was outrage that any child need to know a certain minimum of knowledge–the conservatives found it highly threatening.

    • Seeker, But here’s the thing that I don’t get: When Arthur Bestor wrote Educational Wastelands in 1953, and again when Allan Bloom published Closing of the American Mind in 1987, both were heartily embraced by political and social conservatives. Neither of the authors were politically conservative, but their complaints that America’s education system had been watered down and dumbed down became must-read books for conservatives. Haven’t social conservatives always harped on the fact that American public schools are dumbed down? Shouldn’t the logic mean that any ratcheting up of standards would be seen as a conservative cause?

  1. Astorino Blasts the Common Core: “Our Children Are Not Guinea Pigs!” | I Love You but You're Going to Hell
  2. Building the Machine: Conservatives Debate the Common Core | I Love You but You're Going to Hell

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