Conservatives who support the Common Core like to blame Obama for making it radioactive. They say that if he and Arne had stayed out, CC would have been non-controversial. Their involvement awakened the Tea Party and others who reflexively dismiss whatever Obama is for.
Peter Greene says balderdash.
“It’s Obama’s fault.
“The state-led initiative was chugging right along, moving forward without any interference from the feds, when somehow, they decided to leap in. Or as Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday recently put it, things were fine “until the President and secretary of education took credit for the Common Core.”This is part of the current conservative CCSS support narrative (you can find put forth by, among others, the boys over at the Fordham). The story goes something like this:
Once upon a time, some noble governors and dedicated corporate guys got together and created the Common Core, and people pretty much thought it was swell. Then the Obama administration tried to get involved with cheerleading and with Racing to the Top and NCLB waivers. This was a Bad Thing because it woke up the Tea Party folks, who began shrieking about federal over-reach. People who wouldn’t have cared one way or another suddenly were against it because Obama was for it and whatever he’s doing, it must be evil. If the feds had just stayed home and tended to their knitting, we would not be having all this CCSS fracasization……….
Even if we pretend that the feds weren’t involved from day one, even if we pretend that the feds haven’t been angling for this for several administrations, even if we pretend that the Obama administration wasn’t sponsoring slumber parties and buying the refreshments for CCSS-writing parties, the feds must still take responsibility for the prime motivator for the whole mess.
States were not open to CCSS because of some burning desire to revamp their education systems. They were all sitting on the ticking time bomb that was (actually, is) No Child Left Behind, otherwise known as ESEA, otherwise known as federal law. The feds were always involved. Always….
“For Pearson et al, CCSS represent a marketing opportunity sent from heaven. CCSS opened up the US education market faster and more completely than a velociraptor fileting a sleepy cow. To open a national market, they needed national standards, not the state-by-state patchwork of the past. They were always going to use every tool at their disposal to make this happen across the entire country, and that toolbox includes the federal government….
“Who can seriously argue that all the states were going to say, “Yeah, we should totally implement this untested set of standards, sight unseen. Especially since they come with a huge price tag. Yes, let’s do it.” Particularly states that had perfectly good standards already. “Now that we’ve paid off this beautiful Lexus, let’s junk it and get a Yugo for twice the cost,” said no car owner ever,
“No, a wave of bribery (Race to the Top) was needed to get the ball rolling. Or do you seriously want to suggest that states would have raced toward the Core for free. And when states wouldn’t fall in line for the bribe, we moved on to the extortion– “I’d hate to see anything happen to your state just because of some crazy No Child Left Behind law; you should really consider getting our special protection waiver plan.”
“Selling CCSS required a federal-sized stick and a DC calibre stick. States do not generally volunteer for massive unfunded mandates. Only a federal-sized sales job would do, even if it had to be carefully calibrated to avoid looking illegal….
“So say what you like. It’s impossible for the administration to have avoided involvement in CCSS. And if by some miracle it had kept its hands off, CCSS would now be an interesting experimental set of standards being tried out in four or five states, maybe. It’s true that Obama didn’t do CCSS any favors, but it would have died on the vine without him.”