Common Core Playing a Major Role in Polls & Primaries

Karen R. Effrem, MD - Executive Director

The legislative session is now over. The governor and legislative leadership have completed their "Lipstick on a Pig" campaign of trying to convince the electorate that because they have removed references to Common Core in statute, changed the name, allowed parents to comment on and appeal textbook selection (which should have been the norm a long time ago), and pretended to protect personal student data, that things are all better.  Our analysis points out that there are major flaws in all of these bills and that they are merely cosmetic.

The Florida media and the public have never been fooled.  Public opinion as evidenced in the Sunshine State News poll and the Clawson win in Jeb Bush's home state over his anointed candidate clearly show that Common Core is a major issue in Florida and a major problem for politicians that support it.  The governor's struggling poll numbers are yet another indication of problems, as is the abrupt resignation of Republican Party of Florida Chairman Lenny Curry just as the main election season begins.  Curry's resignation is ostensibly to run for mayor of Jacksonville, but we suspect it is because he can read the handwriting on the wall about Scott's electoral difficulties and wants to have a job after this election.  Those electoral difficulties are due in large part to ignoring his base on Common Core and these feeble efforts he has made to rebrand and distract from the real issues will not help him.

Nationally, unbiased polls not commissioned by pro-Common Core groups show findings similar to the other polls we have reported.  The University of Connecticut did a poll showing that while only about 40% of voters know about Common Core, those that do, oppose it:
  • "Those who do know about Common Core, though, are generally skeptical of the initiative's ability to boost the quality of American education. Just 33 percent believe adopting Common Core standards will increase the quality of education in their communities, compared to 27 percent who say it will have no effect and 30 percent who say it will actually be detrimental."
  • "Overall, 38 percent believe Common Core is a good policy, compared to 44 percent who believe the opposite."
  • "Fifty-four percent of Democrats, for example, say Common Core is good policy, compared to 30 percent of Republicans and 38 percent of Americans who've heard of the initiative. The distinction is even more stark along ideological lines: 53 percent of liberals favor the policy, compared to 24 percent of conservatives."
Electorally, there are significant signs that pro-Common Core politicians are in trouble.  In Indiana, two legislators that supported the standards lost their primaries.  In Ohio, an establishment supported incumbent who had badly beaten a challenger just two years ago lost by 22 points to that same candidate, because Common Core opposition was the major issue.  This defeat has shaken up the Ohio Republican Party and legislative leaders prompting this quote in the Columbus Dispatch (Hat Tip to PJ Media):
Speaker William G. Batchelder, R-Medina, said overall the GOP caucus did well, but he lamented the loss of Rep. Peter Stautberg, R-Cincinnati, who was beaten by archconservative Tom Brinkman Jr., a former lawmaker.

Stautberg easily defeated Brinkman two years ago. But this time, Brinkman campaigned hard against the new Common Core standards, and, Batchelder said, that likely played a key role.

"That sucker is a problem. I think we probably should have addressed it," Batchelder said.
Even in North Carolina, winning establishment U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis, despite having the backing of and or millions of dollars Jeb Bush, the Chamber of Commerce, and Karl Rove's PAC  (who "joked" about murdering a sitting US congressman), had to state at least lip service opposition to Common Core during the campaign.    

The primary season is just beginning and establishment, pro-Common Core politicians in Florida and across the nation should take heed.

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