I read a piece on The Daily Beast written by Ken Stern, a lifelong Democrat and former CEO of NPR, entitled “How I Left the Liberal Bubble and Learned to Love the Right.” I found it interesting, and as a conservative, I appreciate his willingness to engage.
He pointed out how people’s views of universal health care changed based on who supported it, and then I came to this excerpt about Common Core:
This dynamic is not just limited to political science games. When it was originally introduced, Common Core was one of those increasingly rare policies that drew support from across the political spectrum. As recently as 2013, it had incredible public support, at about 83 percent. But around then, the Tea Party, licking its wounds from its 2012 electoral disaster, latched on to the concept as an example of unwarranted federal intrusion on local governance, even though Common Core from inception was a state-driven initiative. Support for the idea quickly plummeted, so by 2016 only 35 percent of Republicans were willing to support Common Core. But when you describe what Common Core is—standards for reading and math that are the same across the states—without mentioning the “Common Core” brand, support among Republicans instantly pops up to more than 50 percent and strong opposition largely disappears, from 34 percent to 14 percent. Lest you think this is a Republican folly, the same dynamic holds true for Democrats, though a little less strongly, probably because Common Core is not an identity issue for Democrats.
So much for non-partisan understanding. Common Core support was at its highest in 2010 when it was introduced, and nobody knew what it was. Support has declined ever since. Common Core was an unwarranted federal intrusion through Race to the Top and NCLB waivers. It was state-driven in that Governors, and state boards of education signed because of potential federal dollars. State legislatures were bypassed, and it was not a transparent process.
Common Core has a brand because the standards are weak. Both Republicans and Democrats supported Common Core, and there were both Republicans and Democrats in opposition. There was grassroots resistance by parents to Common Core one to two years before the Tea Party got involved.
Stern undermines his message by taking a shot at the Tea Party and painting Common Core opposition as Tea Party-driven. It’s not. Does he think the Tea Party has led tens of thousands of people to opt-out from the Common Core-aligned test they have in New York? Not a chance.
The Tea Party was involved, but they don’t own the opposition.
As far as partisan headaches for those of us who oppose Common Core, Republican governors have been some of the worst.