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Why is the Common Core curriculum splitting conservatives?

A teacher welcomes pupils in a classroom at David Johnston primary school on September 4, 2012.
A teacher welcomes pupils in a classroom at David Johnston primary school on September 4, 2012.
Pierre Andrieu/Getty Images

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The Common Core standards, which were introduced four years ago in 44 states and D.C. with the backing of Republicans and business groups, have become a divisive issue within the conservative movement.

The standards were adopted by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers to raise in 2010 students’ math and English proficiency. But of late, many Republicans who had backed the program have switched course. Indiana became the first state in the nation to opt out of Common Core after adopting it. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin has said he wants his state to come up with its own educational goals. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been questioning whether teachers should be evaluated through these new standards. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is also having a change of mind. Ted Cruz of Texas, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Florida’s Marco Rubio all oppose the new curriculum. The conservative faction supporting the standards, which has quickly dwindled in size, include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

In 2009, the Obama Administration linked the adoption of Common Core to  “Race to the Top” grant money, fueling criticism that this is another yet instance of government overreach. Do you support Common Core?


Charles Sahm, the deputy director of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for State and Local Leadership, where he directs the Institute’s education reform efforts. His piece, “The Incredibly Stupid War On The Common Core” is in today’s Daily Beast

Lindsey Burke,  Will Skillman Fellow in Education, The Heritage Foundation