Tracking the Bipartisan Opposition to the Common Core

Early political opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) appeared to mostly come from conservatives concerned about what they perceived as an increasing federal role in state education. A new report from the Brookings Institution shows how criticism has evolved to include the wider political spectrum when it became linked to other initiatives, like teacher reform, and when speed of implementation seemed to take precedence over other classroom concerns. “The evolving politics of the Common Core” by Ashley Jochim and Lesley Lavery theorizes that the growing opposition occurred because issues like evaluation, accountability, and privacy were ignored in the fervor over adopting the CCSS.

“This analysis holds several lessons for education reformers. Most salient from our perspective is a call for advocates to make central and take seriously the politics of implementation,” write the authors. “Observers of politics often forget that fights do not end once agreements are forged and written into law. To move from vague proclamations of support to full implementation requires highly specific decisions to be made about who to target, how much money to invest, and which stakeholders to engage. The winners and losers of political debates are profoundly shaped by these choices; some individuals face greater oversight, some programs win a greater share of available dollars, and new regulatory authorities are established and threaten existing power bases.”

Read “The evolving politics of the Common Core,” by Ashley Jochim and Lesley Lavery, Issues in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution (May 2015)

Educational Standards