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April 29, 2014 9:56 AM The Anti-Common Core Trip

By Ed Kilgore

If you are surprised by the intensity of conservative opposition to the Common Core Standards initiative—which, after all, is in no small part the product of collaboration between the business community and both Republican and Democratic governors—check out this list of crazy beliefs about Common Core prepared by Conor Williams of the New America Foundation for TPMCafe:

Last month, in Arizona, a state senator (and gubernatorial candidate) called the standards “pornographic.”
Common Core protesters in Florida agreed, but added that the standards were “communistic,” and contributing to the “Islamification” of American education. Utah activists agreed.
Similarly, Tennessee’s Daily Roll Call discovered that the standards are actually part of a Muslim Brotherhood plot.
By contrast, Virginia activists believe that the United Nations’ “Agenda 21” is behind the standards. Opponents in Georgia agreed. Oklahomans agreed, but wondered if it might also be “a plot by the New World Order.”
Still others, like conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum has decided that the standards—which were endorsed by Jeb Bush and other prominent Republicans—are part of a federal effort at left-wing indoctrination. (They also found a list of suggested readings pornographic.)
Similarly, Glenn Beck reads the standards as “the progressive movement coming in for the kill.” (He has a forthcoming book elaborating on this view.)
Other Floridians threatened online retaliation against the state’s school board members.
Finally, inevitably, Florida protesters saw Hitler lurking in the standards. A columnist in Georgia saw both the Hitler Youth and “the seeds of socialism.”
With that sort of zaniness at the heart of the anti-Common-Core movement, it almost makes it seem pedestrian that the state representative trying to stop their implementation in Kansas hasn’t actually read them.

Just about everything positive you can say about Common Core is boring and wonky. Much of the negative case is hallucinogenic in its appeal as well as its origins. In the long run, supporters probably don’t have a chance. In the short term, the issue is a big problem for Jeb Bush and Chris Christie.


Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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