If the bill that would cripple the Common Core education standards and testing is going to get a last-minute ride on another bill before Sine Die on Thursday, it’s a well-kept secret.
The bill has already died in committee, but there remained both advocates and opponents of Common Core in the halls of the Capitol on Tuesday. The opponents are more numerous, or at least more passionate.
Common Core likely will live to be implemented in schools for at least another year, even if legislation to gut it finds a procedural mechanism in the final two days of the General Assembly. The reason is as messy as the whole issue, but it boils down to the fact that opponents of the original legislation appear not to have formulated a fully coherent plan to replace Common Core.
And, as seemingly always in complex bills, there were problems with overly generalized language. One potential result could have been the disallowance of any standardized tests not produced in Georgia. This would effectively have left the state without standards at least in the short term
While there are significant problems with the early implementation of Common Core, the opposition is largely political. Although states adopt Common Core voluntarily, the federal government has held over the states the possibility of losing certain federal funds if those states decline to adopt Common Core.
Moreover, the White House has been foursquare behind Common Core. For a lot of people, that’s reason enough to oppose it. And the curriculum standards do include politically tinged teachings, such as unchallenged ones about global warming and evolution.
The apparent inability to quash Common core in the legislature all but guarantees that it will be a campaign issue in the spring and fall elections. Look for GOP primary challengers in particular to point out the alleged gutlessness of Republican incumbents in the legislature to take on Common Core and the liberal bullies in Washington.
Gov. Deal likely will keep Common Core a back-stove issue. Polls indicate that Common Core is not an issue that’s going to light a fire under many people to flock to the polls and vote. Deal, and other incumbent office-holders, likely won’t be overly troubled by the issue in their campaigns unless they bring it up too often themselves and put their foots in their mouths along the way.
Democrats, too, would do well to let this dog lie. If they find themselves defending Common Core too often and too stridently, they likely will find themselves defending Barack Obama too. That’s not a prescription for Democrats winning elections in Georgia this year
Attacks on Common Core will almost certainly happen again in the 2015 session of the legislature. It’s interesting to note that by then, more features of Common Core are scheduled to have been implemented. Will that further entrenchment of the curriculum and testing make it that much harder to uproot?