Chamber Targets Conservatives With Pro-Common Core Campaign

Friday, 14 Mar 2014 02:40 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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As a growing number of states — and tea partyers — try to repeal national Common Core academic standards, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is partnering with other business groups to infiltrate the airwaves and tout the program, Politico reports.

The ads, which will begin running Sunday and could last for months, will air on Fox News Channel and other conservative outlets, and will showcase teachers singing the program’s praises. The Chamber’s website has published numerous pro-Common Core articles.

At the same time, according to Politico, a campaign is underway throughout red states to inundate state lawmakers with emails, calls and visits from small-business owners and corporate executives – and in some cases military officers — arguing a better-educated workforce benefits everyone, as well as the economy.

So far, business groups are winning the war, Politico reports. Business coalitions have helped keep Common Core alive in Georgia, Arizona, Indiana, and Wisconsin, states where bills were underway to alter or scrap the standards altogether, though Indiana is expected to punt the standards in coming days.

'It feels like there’s a bit of a momentum shift," Cheryl Oldham, vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, told Politico.

But Common Core has struck a chord nationwide with detractors, who are critical of both the standards – "an overreach into local control of education standards and curriculum" — as well as their troubled implementation, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which represents 1.5 million members across the country, says the Common Core implementation is "far worse" than Obamacare, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Rank-and-file tea party members are not backing down from what they view as Common Core’s establishment agenda and principles.

"Frankly, they can rant and rave as much as they want," Republican Arizona state Rep. Al Melvin told Politico. "They’re not going to affect me, and I don’t think they’re going to affect any others. I’m a businessman. But sometimes, these chambers of commerce get it wrong.

Conservative columnist Michelle Malkin opines in The National Review that in Common Core, the Chamber has made a deal with the "left-wing, corporate-bashing Center for American Progress in a new Bootleggers and Baptists coalition."

Both groups profit from increased government intervention, Malkin writes. Chamber backed corporations cash in on "the public schools' Common Core captive guinea pigs in testing, teaching, data collection, and data analysis" while big government advocacy groups diminish local and parental control over education while expanding Washington’s reach "ensuring the Fed Ed bureaucracy."

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia adopted Common Core standards in 2010. Texas, Virginia, Alaska, and Nebraska not do so and Minnesota adopted only the Language Arts portion, according to U.S. News, noting that South Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma and Kentucky are trying to halt or abolish the standards. Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and Kansas have tried unsuccessfully to nullify them.

The Obama administration provides states with "substantial incentives" to implement Common Core standards and the majority of states signed on "with little public debate," according to Politico.

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