Common Core is it a Tea Party issue?

I’ve been involved with the Tea Party Movement since the earliest days.  I’ve done everything from directing traffic, writing articles, maintaining the website, and participating in the leadership committee at the local level here in Huntsville.

From the earliest days we focused completely on fiscal issues politically and constitutional government in our education efforts.  I remember a debate in the early days on whether we should have an opinion on immigration policy.  Some thought it was not a fiscal issue and others thought that it was.  This focus on fiscal issues is one of the things that I liked about the Tea Party Movement and I’ve heard many other people say the same thing.

But in recent months I’ve noticed that Tea Party groups across Alabama have taken up the banner against Common Core State Standards.  This was only a little surprising at first because back then I didn’t know much about CCSS.  Now that I have done some research and know that most of what is said against CCSS is false, it pains me to see Tea Party groups involved in opposing it.

CCSS is not, in my opinion, a Tea Party issue.  Involvement in this issue strengthens the impression that the Tea Party is a fringe group of wingnuts.  Don’t think so?  View this video taken at a meeting of the Wetumpka Tea Party and tell me you think this is good for the cause.

Common Core opposition is an issue taken up by a few strident activists in Alabama.  The average voter will take a look at who are supporting the standards and who are against them and will quickly decide that the standards are a good thing.  A few will decide to look deeper into the issue and like me will discover that the claims made against them are mostly rubbish.  In so many words, this is a loser issue for the anti-CCSS groups.  I already see some movement away from it in some places.  For example, Common Core issues are no longer front and center for the Wetumpka Tea Party.  They have removed the video linked to above from their website and from their Youtube account.  Why?  Maybe because  Becky Gerritson, their president, was considering running for office.

The point?  It is an embarrassing issue for anyone who opposes it when the people they are trying to influence are informed and not members of fringe social conservative groups.   Tea Party groups across the country are best advised to begin distancing themselves from an issue that strengthens the impression that the Tea Party is a fringe group itself.

4 thoughts on “Common Core is it a Tea Party issue?

  1. CCSS is an everybody issue. These are bad standards, developmentally inappropriate for the early childhood grades, and severely lacking on many levels for all grades. They were developed in secret by people gagged by NDAs, and even now the copyright holders refuse to disclose the records of the development process. How were the five unqualified lead standards writers chosen? What objections were raised by the feedback groups and verification committee? We don’t know. There are also major, entirely legitimate concerns about student privacy.

    I come at this subject in the opposite direction from you. I started off as a CCSS supporter but then read more about it and became concerned. I will admit there is a good bit of disinformation out there, but that’s what happens when a huge, complicated policy change is rammed down the public’s throat with little time to discuss or digest the relevant issues. There is also a good bit of disinformation on the pro-CCSS side, mainly because the people gushing over it are just repeating talking points but haven’t really looked at the issues. I limit my research and reading to reputable sources, and I always seek confirmation of anything that sounds fishy, yet the more I read, the more concerned and dismayed I become.

    Gloss over it all you want, but this is a legit issue.

    1. Give me one example of a standard that is “developmentally inappropriate”. I’ve heard a lot of talk about it but not one example.

      Developed in secret? There were hundreds of people involved in the process, literally. The start of the process began publicly and with fanfare. The release of the standards was publicized and anticipated. Some secret.

      I fail to see why the process used really matters. That’s done. It may not have been done to your liking but it’s done. Now is the time to focus on the results. If there are problems with the standards themselves, please be specific. Give an example of a standard that is inappropriate in some way and tell us what is wrong with it.

      As many times as I’ve challenged people over this issue I never get answers to questions like those above. All I ever get is more suggestions of conspiracy and rants about how things were shoved down people’s throats.

      Just give me an example of a standard that is wrong. Better yet, show me a standard that allows the federal government to take over our schools and indoctrinate children. That’s the one I’ve been looking for.

      1. Just one article discussing the problems with the early childhood standards, but there are plenty more:

        The fact that you are not aware of the specifics of such complaints demonstrates that you really are deficient in your knowledge of this subject. I myself refused to jump into the debate until I had read enough to have some idea what I was talking about. The fact that you started this website and yet are so uninformed is a little surprising. Besides attacking those on the other side, I don’t see that you’re offering much here.

        Regarding the issue of secrecy… Normally when state standards are developed, all records and communications are a matter of public record. Common Core was developed in a closed process; all records are sealed, and all participants are gagged by NDAs. If you will recall, this type of secrecy was one of the things that doomed HillaryCare. The public was outraged that such important policies were being developed behind closed doors.

        At the state level, Common Core should have been openly discussed and debated. There should have been town hall meetings all over the state so that officials could address concerns and answer questions. Instead, it was adopted with little fanfare and the public really didn’t know what was happening.

        I don’t make the indoctrination charge. However, if you look at the arc of federal involvement in education, it has for some time been bending inexorably toward centralized control. This is one more step toward an eventual national curriculum. Many of the more prominent Common Core backers (e.g., Fordham) are already calling for a naitonal curriculum, and others are urging that the Core-aligned standardized tests be used to force states into curricular boxes. This should be concerning to all of us.

        1. Thanks for the article. You know it doesn’t present an example of an age inappropriate standard – which is what I asked for. Just one.

          I think that the criticism that some early standards may not be developmentally appropriate is the single criticism that *may* have some merit. But this article, like every article I have read on this criticism, speaks only in generalities and does not present any specific standards that they consider to be inappropriate. I assure you I am “aware of” many such articles but they all share the same defect – they don’t present any “specifics of such complaints”. They all just espouse vague fears of things that might happen.

          That aside, let’s look at their “main arguments”.

          1. They say the standards “will lead to long hours of direct instruction”. That sounds good but where is the proof of it. The math standards have been used in Alabama for most of two years now. Where are the reports of “long hours of direct instruction”?

          2. They say the standards “will intensify the push for more standardized testing”. The wording of the sentence tells you what it is: a suspicion. They think that some people will “intensify a push”. What evidence do they present that some mysterious group will “intensify a push”? None.

          3. They say “Didactic instruction and testing will crowd out other crucial areas of young children’s learning”. But they offer no proof or examples that prove what their fear is based on.

          4. They say “There is little evidence that standards for young children lead to later success.” We’ve had standards for all grades for decades in Alabama. Where were these criticisms then? What damage can they show that the (very similar) previous standards did to young children?

          You said, “Normally when state standards are developed, all records and communications are a matter of public record.” Are they? Alabama changes standards every six years. Where are the public records of the meetings and discussions about them? Do you have a copy? Have you read them? I think you are just blowing smoke.

          “At the state level, Common Core should have been openly discussed and debated.” The Alabama Board of Education held several open meetings about the standards at many places across the state. This was done prior to their official adoption. You must not have been as interested at the time.

          “However, if you look at the arc of federal involvement in education…” I agree that federal involvement in education has been increasing and I think it should be stopped. (I think the Department of Education should be disbanded.) But the connection between federal involvement and voluntarily adopted common standards is not there. What is the tie between the two? I can’t connect those dots.

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