National Journal -
Republicans and Democrats are in rare agreement that there is a deal to be had on sweeping education legislation. But first they face the near-impossible task of getting past two words that have become explosively controversial: Common Core.
As they try to reach compromise on a rewrite of the 2001 No Child Left Behind law, the last thing negotiators need is the encroachment of a tangential yet inflammatory issue that worries a sizable chunk of the populace. But that is exactly what the Common Core State Standards have become – a litmus test for grassroots conservatives angered by federal encroachment on local schools, and a reliable way for contenders in the crowded GOP presidential field to earn their stripes on the right.
“If you said you oppose Common Core, show me where you stood up and fought,” Sen. Ted Cruz said in Iowa last weekend, in a challenge to his fellow presidential contenders, according toThe New York Times.
Common Core, a complex set of stacked math and reading standards compiled by a group of governors 10 years ago, has become a political lightning rod for the Right since President Obama tied stimulus funding to states’ adoption of them in 2009. Republicans angling for a presidential nomination, including Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, have spoken harshly against Common Core, saying it has been forced on states and comes dangerously close to a national curriculum. Earlier this month, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who once supported Common Core, called it a “frankenstandard.”