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The Common Core, a set of standards for kindergarten through high school that has been ardently supported by the Obama administration and many business leaders and state legislatures, is facing growing opposition from both the right and the left even before it has been properly introduced into classrooms.
Most days political activism can feel like a never ending series of head knocks on a wall. When your thick activist head finally breaks through a wall, some idiot immediately shows up with another one.
And on it goes.
So it's nice to find out every once in a while that something we're working on is gaining traction.
There is a hint of strange bedfellows action going on here, which is probably the only reason that the Times decided to publish this, but why waste time ascertaining the motives of the Dark Side?
Tea Party conservatives, who reject the standards as an unwelcome edict from above, have called for them to be severely rolled back.
Indiana has already put a brake on them. The Michigan House of Representatives is holding hearings on whether to suspend them. And citing the cost of new tests requiring more writing and a significant online component, Georgia and Oklahoma have withdrawn from a consortium developing exams based on the standards.
At the same time, a group of parents and teachers argue that the standards — and particularly the tests aligned with them — are simply too difficult.
Those concerns were underscored last week when New York State, an early adopter of the new standards, released results from reading and math exams showing that less than a third of students passed.
“I am worried that the Common Core is in jeopardy because of this,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “The shock value that has happened has been so traumatic in New York that you have a lot of people all throughout the state saying, ‘Why are you experimenting on my kids?' ”
Supporters worry that opposition could start to snowball as states face new exams in 2014-15.
“The danger here is that you have two kinds of problems going on,” said Kati Haycock, president of the Education Trust, a nonprofit group that works to close achievement gaps. “One is a Tea Party problem, which doesn’t have deep roots but does have lots of political muscle behind it, and then you’ve got a bit of antitest rebellion coming from the left. The question is what’s going to happen if they both get together. That’s the more terrifying prospect.”
A note on media bias here: the Tea Party opposition is labeled "conservatives" but the teachers' organization gets a free pass on being liberal, which is a subtle and ongoing tactic that the Times pretty much invented and perfected.
What they are really worried about is the opposition from the teachers, for a couple of reasons. First, if their interests dovetail with the Tea Party movement's it makes it nigh on impossible for them to whip out the "crazy fringe" template they usually use when covering all things conservative.
The second, and more obvious reason, is that the MSM and the Democrats have been engaged in a decades-long canonization of the teaching profession. If they end up being opposed to this because large numbers of left-leaning parents begin complaining, even this administration is going to have a hard time selling it as being what's best for the children.