Bipartisan U.S. Education Overhaul Fires up Emboldened Tea Party

Saturday, June 01, 2013
(photo: Dave Martin, AP)

A new set of education standards adopted by the Obama administration—and supported by some conservatives—has sparked opposition from the Tea Party movement.


Known as the Common Core State Standards, the regulations seek to change the way math and reading are taught in public schools and to emphasize critical thinking and problem solving.


The standards were written by education officials from various states, including those with Republican governors, and were embraced by the U.S. Department of Education.


Supporters include individuals and organizations on the right, such as Rupert Murdoch, Jeb Bush and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which promotes conservative policies.


And yet, Tea Party groups from Pennsylvania to Georgia to Michigan have protested the standards and lobbied lawmakers to prevent their schools from adopting them. They claim that the multi-billion-dollar program was instituted with little advance debate and would result in federal control of education across the country.


Legislation has been introduced in nine states that would at least temporarily block the standards. Two states, Indiana and Pennsylvania, have already put a hold on the program. However, a Tea Party-backed resolution to block Common Core in Louisiana was defeated this week in the state Senate.


A featured article on the conservative National Review Online claims that much of the criticism of Common Core is based on misinformation and “deliberate misunderstanding.”


The Tea Party seems to have had little wind in its sails since President Barack Obama’s re-election last year, but it got a shot in the arm with the recent revelation that the IRS had given extra scrutiny to Tea Party group applications for tax exempt status. “

-Noel Brinkerhoff, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Tea Party Groups Mobilizing Against Common Core Education Overhaul (by Peter Wallsten and Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post)

Turmoil Swirling Around Common Core Education Standards (by Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post)

The Tea Party’s Next Bogeyman: Obama's Common Core Conspiracy (by Tim Murphy, Mother Jones)

Louisiana Senate Kills Tea Party-Backed Resolution against Common Core (by Lauren McGaughy, Times Picayune)

Billionaires are Bankrolling “Populist” Public Education “Reform” (by Ken Broder, AllGov) 

Obama Education Plan Backfires: Popular Principal Removed to Make Way for Stimulus Money (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)               


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