Karen Wolfe, a parent in Los Angeles, tries
to understand why liberals and progressives find themselves
to Common Core and lumped together with the Tea
Party, with whom they otherwise have no agreement. While the Tea
Party opposes the Common Core because they fear a federal takeover
of public education, liberals and progressives have different
reasons to oppose the Common Core. Karen Wolfe writes:
Ideologically speaking, it is baffling that any liberal
would adopt the education reform agenda with its call to deregulate
schools as a public good, and destabilize labor unions which have
historically been huge supporters of the Democratic party.
(Although one only has to consider neo-liberalism to understand the
call to privatize.)
But, in education, for
liberal politicians, money trumps ideology. Politicians simply
cannot resist the money — or at least the possibility of preventing
the billionaires from filling the campaign coffers of their
opponents. When billionaires like Eli Broad pretend to be
Democrats, it’s a very effective way of infiltrating the Democratic
inner sanctum, long a champion of public education. (I say
“pretend” after a Common Cause complaint to the Fair Political
Practices Commission revealed that Eli Broad and other billionaires
had secretly funded opposition to Governor Brown’s tax proposition
while publicly supporting it.)
Ideology only
explains a small part of the opposition to Common Core.

If liberals oppose Common Core for any ideological
reason, it’s probably less about an ideology than a distaste for
lining the pockets of giant corporations. It’s more likely that the
overwhelmingly negative reaction to Common Core isn’t ideological
at all.
Many critics feel like the major
purpose of Common Core is to make teaching measurable. Even if one
is convinced that that goal is a reasonable one to cure what ails
our schools — and many of
us are not — some
things are not easy to quantify. Think of the best teacher you ever
had. It’s doubtful that you conjure images of Scan-Tron
Let me say for the record, if it need saying,
that I have no sympathy for the Tea Party. I want more government
support to alleviate social and economic problems. I want the
federal government to return to its role as a guarantor of equity,
not a force to compel states to enact policies that are harmful to
children and to public education. I want more funding for programs
that benefit needy children. I think their obsessive hatred for
everything associated with President Obama is absurd. I disagree
with President Obama about education, but I voted for him, and I
support him in other areas, especially if he is serious about
inequality, which is the cancer of our society. I oppose the Common
Core in its present form because I fear that it was designed to
make public education look bad, that it was designed as part of a
larger plan to measure every child and every teacher, and that it
was designed to enrich big corporations like Pearson and the dozens
of other entrepreneurs now sucking public money out of the schools.
Until teachers in every state have a chance to revise the Common
Core and make it developmentally appropriate, I will continue to
oppose it. Until the Common Core is decoupled from the Common Core
testing, I will continue to oppose it. The passing marks on the
federally-funded tests were set far too high for most students, and
we will see massive failure rates among our neediest students if
the cut scores are not readjusted to align with the reality of how
children learn and what they know and should know. The Common Core
will die a natural or unnatural death at the hands of parents,
teachers, school boards, and citizens if it is not open to
criticism and revision. As more states test the Common Core, the
opposition will grow bolder, as it has in New York. Given how toxic
it is now, it may be dead already. Politicians, who usually don’t
give a fig about education, now are distancing themselves from the
Common Core.