Last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, commentator Michelle Malkin criticized Ohio Governor John Kasich for supporting Common Core State Standards. “[Kasich] pretended that he was on the side of local control. Ohio grassroots activists and moms know better,” Malkins claimed, The Hill reports.
Malkin also took issue with Republicans who support the standards more generally: “They sneer at the people who fought against them and call them out…And then they go and campaign on our side knowing that they stabbed us in the back.”
While Malkin may speak for a small subset of conservative voters who would like to go back to old education models, even though they weren’t working, polling shows most parents and teachers strongly support rigorous academic expectations that prepare students for colleges and careers.
Experts like former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett point out that misleading and often down right false information perpetuated by opponents like Malkin have tainted perceptions of the Common Core. But the standards remain a fundamentally conservative idea that preserve local control of education issues.
“Dishonest critics have decided that the Common Core is a pestilence on the land and have so characterized it,” Bennett wrote last year. “It is not…It is time for integrity and truth in this debate. The issue of honest standards of learning for our children is too important to be buried in an avalanche of misinformation and demonization.”
“If the Common Core truly were, as opponents claim, a national curriculum, I wouldn’t be supporting it. But it’s not. It’s a set of standards,” Michael Brickman, then national policy director for the Fordham Institute explained in 2014. “And despite what some Common Core opponents have said, decisions about textbooks and curriculum are still determined at the local level.”
It may be easy for Malkin and others to rally Common Core opponents by stirring concerns about federal overreach, but the facts make clear Common Core State Standards are the work of states, and state and local communities are continuing to improve and build on the standards.