Populist Force Of Parents Against Common Core Grows Strong

Published May 6, 2015

Hillary Clinton liked it when support for Common Core was “bipartisan … or, actually, nonpartisan,” but finds it painful now that the nationalized education standards supposedly have been politicized.

That’s what the would-be Democratic presidential nominee said on her recent campaign stop in Iowa.

But what did she mean?

Her remarks came as hundreds of thousands of parents coast-to-coast were pulling their children out of Common Core-linked standardized testing, an opt-out protest of unprecedented magnitude and one that is likely to grow as parents discover they have reached a critical mass for protecting their children from reprisals.

Could this have been the politicization of which Clinton complains, perhaps the latest manifestation of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” she railed against years ago?


Two of the states with the heaviest parental opting-out are deep-blue New York and Oregon. Anti-Common-Core activists range from progressive to conservative to libertarian to many parents who aren’t particularly into political ideology and just care about their stressed-out children.

Clinton’s assertion did put her on record as an advocate of Common Core, which really comes as no surprise, given her failed effort during husband Bill’s administration to install an earlier version of managed-workforce-oriented national standards under the banner of Goals 2000/School-to-Work.

It is helpful for candidates to take a position on controversial issues. Politically, what this means is if the 2016 presidential race comes down to Hillary Clinton against Republican Jeb Bush, as some pundits forecast, the two major parties will present two gung-ho backers of Common Core. For millions of Americans who are working in every state to topple the Core, that will be a big problem.

Could this single issue concern them enough to go third-party? Or go fishing? Possibly.

If Hillary Clinton truly likes nonpartisanship, she should love this grass-roots movement she is going to encounter wherever her Scooby-Doo campaign van takes her.

However, it is clear her idea of nonpartisanship (and Bush’s as well) involves a consensus of powerful moneyed interests, such as those in philanthropic foundations, government, big business and big education who put together Common Core and rolled it out in 2009 without public debate or buy-in.

In essence, Clinton-versus-Bush II would be Chamber of Commerce Democrat versus Chamber of Commerce Republican as far as Common Core is concerned.

To gauge the populist force that is gathering, consider that in 2014 about 60,000 New York students sat out the Common Core tests, while more than 190,000 had boycotted 2015 English tests, with three-fourths of districts accounted for as of late April, and math testing now underway. In Portland, Ore., opt-out rates are uneven, but at several schools they are upwards of 25%.

[Originally published at Investor’s Business Daily]