WASHINGTON, D.C. – Less than a week after withdrawing his support for the national Common Core standards, education wonks are lambasting former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee as a flip-flopper.
Education Week’s Andrew Ujifusa points out this week that Huckabee was for Common Core before he was against it. On his radio show in May, Huckabee said conservatives should support Common Core, but on Huckabee’s Fox News show Dec. 8, the former presidential candidate said he no longer supports the national learning standards, Ujifusa wrote.
“Essentially, Huckabee is arguing that when common core started out as a state-led initiative to boost K-12 content standards, it was a great idea. But like barnacles latching onto a ship, the former governor says he doesn’t like how the standards are actually being implemented in schools and districts, and that he doesn’t like some of the ‘agenda driven’ curriculum that’s been developed for the standards (he doesn’t specify what kind of agenda is being driven),” Ujifusa wrote.
“He also says that common core has been used inappropriately to justify collecting student data, although beyond general allusions to fears about federal government getting its hands on that data, he doesn’t specify what’s been inappropriate about that data collection,” he continued.
So what’s the point? It’s not exactly clear.
Huckabee is far from the only person to change his mind about Common Core. It’s been a theme across the country: the more people learn about the national standards, the more they seem to dislike them.
Union officials are raising issues, state lawmakers in Indiana and other states are backing away, and parents across the U.S. are up in arms about the Common Core lessons their children are bringing home. EAGnews has reported about numerous questionable Common Core aligned lessons that clearly promote a very liberal viewpoint of American history and government.
Pornographic novels, lessons about collective bargaining, and books about how Obama saved America from ruin are riding the wave of new Common Core-aligned materials flooding into public schools.
Meanwhile, schools are collecting data on students’ family income, behavioral patterns, likes, dislikes, medical laboratory procedure results, voting status, religious affiliation, hours worked per weekend, non-school activities, computer screen names, and lots of other things.
The information is sent to a nonprofit company headed by Bill Gates, and is shared with the federal government. What either of the two do with the information is anyone’s guess.
Beyond the data collection, there are other very valid concerns about Common Core, such as the cost for technology upgrades needed for online student assessments, the loss of a degree of local control over curriculum decisions, its impact on homeschooling, its bungled and rushed implementation in many places, and numerous other potential problems.
It’s for those reasons and likely others that Huckabee and many concerned parents are jumping from the Common Core ship.
Huckabee told his television viewers “Common Core is dead, but common sense should not be.”
He told the Council of Chief State School Officers, one of the organizations that launched the Common Core experiment, that they should “rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat.” To Ujifusa, the statements are contradictory, and present an opportunity for a “gotcha” hit on Huckabee’s character.
But the reality is Common Core as a brand is toxic, and beyond salvage. Despite Huckabee’s assertion, it’s far from “dead.”
Huckabee is correct in urging those with a genuine interest in reforming public education to save the few good things Common Core has to offer, scrap the rest, and move forward with a rebranded effort that isn’t mired by federal involvement or leftist lesson plans.