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article imageOp-Ed: Common Core Rorschach test — We all hate it in different ways

By Calvin Wolf     Jul 11, 2014 in Politics
The American Federation of Teachers, a previous ally of Common Core education, has withdrawn much of its support, meaning the controversial legislation now faces political attacks from both sides of the aisle.
At first, it was political conservatives who were rankled by the idea of Common Core education, viewing the attempt to unify K-12 education standards across the many states as heavy-handed federal overreach. Local school districts would now receive their marching orders from Washington, angering conservatives who saw local education needs as being pushed aside for "one size fits all" teaching. Liberals were more supportive of Common Core, perhaps worried that some districts were focused on not teaching subjects like evolution, sex education, or more difficult math and science courses.
But now liberals are turning against Common Core, too. According to TIME, the American Federation of Teachers, once one of the most ardent supporters of Common Core, has just withdrawn much of its support. This liberal teachers union, which was instrumental in helping get Common Core applied to 45 states and the District of Columbia, has delivered a crushing blow by withdrawing its full endorsement of the program.
Teachers are growing wary of having their job performance linked to student standardized test scores, a controversial practice which some say is necessary for Common Core to have any teeth. Teachers are also criticizing uneven implementation of Common Core standards and tests, alleged profiteering by for-profit education companies, and overly-difficult material and test questions.
The two-front attack on Common Core, with conservatives disliking the loss of local control and the rise of federalized education and liberals disliking the increasing scrutiny of teachers and the entrenchment of the for-profit testing industry, may give both Democrats and Republicans more political ammo for 2014 and 2016. Will they unite to change or eliminate Common Core, or will they use each other's criticism of Common Core as political leverage? Could Common Core be the political Rorschach test for the next election cycle?
Everyone dislikes Common Core, but what do they dislike about it? Will liberals mock conservatives' complaints about Common Core overriding local parents' wishes about the teaching of evolution, sex ed, or world history versus world geography? Will conservatives mock liberals' complaints about teachers being unfairly judged by Common Core test scores? The controversy could reveal just how strong political gridlock is.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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