Rick Hess directs education studies at the conservative, free-market American Enterprise Institute. We often disagree but I am often impressed that he doesn’t follow “the party line” of free-marketeers. This article is a good example of Hess demonstrating his sharp intellect and his willingness to stray from the rightwing corral.

When it comes to the Common Core, Hess has always been skeptical, though not opposed. In the linked article he explains that the Common Core went wrong because Washington insiders convinced themselves that the nation needed rigorous common standards. Those standards were being developed as the Race to the Top was announced. States couldn’t be eligible for a slice of the federal billions unless they adopted “common college-and-career-ready standards,” shorthand for the Common Core standards. Consequently, dozens of states signed on without even reading the CCSS.

The bottom line is that the D.C. insiders thought they could pull a fast one. They thought the public might not catch on that their state had surrendered its power over its own curriculum and testing. They thought that people might be swayed by a massive propaganda campaign to fall quietly in line.

They were wrong.