Common Core, Politics, and Business

Friday, April 19, 2013 -- Kristin Flynn

Although largely disliked, death and taxes are indeed inevitable. And liked or not, implementation of Common Core State Standards is also inevitable for almost every state. But despite that inevitability, there remains some resistance, notably and recently demonstrated by the Republican National Committee passing a resolution opposing Common Core. The resolution referenced the 2012 party platform that states that the RNC “do not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and support providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level.” The resolution concludes by saying, “the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement.”

The resolution was passed on April 12, and the following week, on April 16, Education Secretary Arne Duncan spoke to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to encourage its members to support Common Core. In particular, he expressed concern that the business community's lack of vigorous support for No Child Left Behind would be repeated when it comes to CCSS. "I don't understand why the business community is so passive when these kinds of things happen," he said. While the Chamber has gone on record in support of CCSS, it could be that less than enthusiastic ongoing support could impact effective implementation and follow through. At the meeting, Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna said he was "very concerned"  by the RNC's formal opposition to Common Core and said governors up for re-election in 2014 might start to get nervous about supporting it.

 These issues are related, because adoption of CCSS doesn't necessarily mean acceptance. State legislatures can mandate adoption, but there is also a level of support from social blocs and public and private institutions that can impact the success of implementation. Institutional support can create momentum and a sense of, well, common purpose and collective energy. Institutional indifference, as well as opposition, can do the opposite, and result in ineffective implementation.

 What are the institutions – both on a micro/local and state level and at a macro/regional and national level – that will impact your implementation of Common Core? What doubts and concerns do you experience, both from others but also from yourself? What are the levels of enthusiasm and determination among active CCSS advocates that you know?

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