Common Core: “Obamacare For Education”

In some offline talk about the political implications of Jeb Bush’s staunch support of Common Core Standards for K-12 education, I’ve heard that a majority of people have no idea what the initiative is, and that those who do certainly don’t share the right-wing view that it’s some sort of conspiracy to destroy local control of schools.

Fair enough, but if #Hating on Common Core was a Twitter hashtag, it would be trending. Aside from the growing number of rebellions against Common Core in Republican-controlled state legislatures, there’s a sense that this is on the verge of becoming a major hot-button issue among grassroots conservative activists. If you want a market indicator for its potential, look at that ideological petri dish, the Georgia Republican Senate primary. Rep. Jack Kingston, who has been struggling to overcome a reputation as a RINO appropriator, came up with this gem in a Washington Examiner op-ed attacking the administration’s request for funding of education grants:

A competitive grant from Washington means states get to compete for their own tax dollars by kowtowing to Obama, Duncan, and their teachers’ union overseers. The Department of Education, by carrot and stick, can enforce their vision of schooling on classrooms throughout the country, all the while hiding behind it being “optional.”

The most notorious competitive grant is the Race to the Top program, the vessel through which the Common Core national education standards were coerced upon 45 states and the District of Columbia. By giving out waivers to the No Child Left Behind mandates and some Race to the Top dollars in exchange for Common Core compliance, the White House got its “Obamacare for education” imposed on states while claiming the initiative was voluntary, state-driven, and competitive.

Them’s some real spinning, eh? But I’m probably not the only one who figures the “Obamacare for Education” label for Common Core will make an appearance in one of the many ads Kingston (the biggest spender in the GA Senate race) will run between now and the May 20 primary. Jeb Bush should take notice.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.