Politico’s crack reporter Stephanie Simon discovered a growing backlash among states against the presumption in the Common Core that all students are college-bound.

She writes:

“Florida students no longer need chemistry, physics or Algebra II to graduate from high school. Texas just scrapped its Algebra II requirement. And Washington state has dropped its foreign language mandate.

“A standards rebellion — or in the eyes of the opponents, the dumbing down of America — is sweeping red states and blue, promoted by both Republicans and Democrats. President Barack Obama has called for a rigorous college-prep curriculum for all students. States, however, are responding with defiance: They’re letting teens study welding instead of Spanish, take greenhouse management in place of physics and learn car repair instead of muddling over imaginary numbers.

“The backlash stems, in part, from anger over the Common Core, a set of standards that Obama has promoted as a way to guide students through a demanding college-prep curriculum from kindergarten through high school. But it’s more than that. It’s pushback against the idea that all students must be ready for college — even if they have no interest in going.

“Manufacturing associations, trade groups and farm lobbies have fueled the resentment at universal college prep, arguing that it’s elitist, that it demeans blue-collar workers — and, not incidentally, that it’s cutting off their pipeline of new workers.

“We need pipefitters and welders just as much as we need folks who want to pursue a four-year degree,” said Rebecca Park, legislative counsel for the Michigan Farm Bureau, which wants more vocational classes to count as science and math.”

Many people–especially policymakers and financiers who went to Ivy League colleges–would like to believe that all students are college-bound. But their beliefs are contradicted by reality when it turns out that a substantial number of youngsters would rather work than go to college, and that there are many jobs that pay well, don’t require college, and can’t be outsourced. Ideally, people should be able to get as much higher education as they want and need, but the biggest obstacle is the cost. It is easier to raise the bar higher and higher than to do something significant about lowering the cost of college. How about free community colleges(again), where people can get higher education without assuming unreasonable debt?