Editorial: Common conspiracy — Rancor over Common Core standards is dividing state GOP
by The Anniston Star Editorial Board
Nov 15, 2013 | 2424 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale. Photo: Dave Martin/The Associated Press
Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale. Photo: Dave Martin/The Associated Press
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Lacking any meaningful opposition from Democrats on which to focus their attention, Alabama Republicans are in the process of taking on each other.

The dustup from the 1st congressional district brouhaha between the GOP establishment and Tea Party wings of the party had hardly settled before Sen. Scott Beason, R-Gardendale, began stirring things up.

Alabamians know Beason as the man who cost the state millions in legal fees in defending an indefensible immigration law and who gave the word “aborigine” new meaning when he applied it to African-Americans. Now he plans to sponsor a bill to repeal the Alabama College and Career Ready Initiative, commonly referred to as the Common Core standards.

This issue has already divided the party. When Mary Scott Hunter, a Huntsville Republican and member of the state Board of Education, spoke out in favor of the Alabama course of study that aligns with the Common Core, the Madison County GOP formally censured her.

Beason is promising to reopen that wound and pour salt in it. That may matter little, since Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, R-Anniston, said this week that he has no plans to introduce a Common Core debate to the Senate when the 2014 session begins. Likewise, the state Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday by a 6-2 vote that reaffirms its control of curriculum for Alabama’s public schools.

Beason’s point was reiterated by Joy Pullmann of the conservative Heartland Institute in a letter to The Star this week. In her view, the “Common Core was created and led by outside, non-transparent lobbying groups.” To her, the whole effort was “un-democratic and non-transparent, and therefore antithetical to the American birthright of representative government.” It was an interesting position to take by a research fellow at a think tank funded in part by the conservative Koch Brothers and dedicated to providing information to legislators to sway their votes — in other words, lobbying.

Whether you buy the idea of a federal conspiracy to take over education or not, keep this in mind. The National Governors Association, not the White House, developed Common Core. Its purpose is to equalize classroom expectations across the country. Despite charges to the contrary, states using Common Core still have control over their curriculum and over the materials used to teach it.

Moreover, 45 states already have adopted the Common Core standards, so if this is an “un-democratic, non-transparent” violation of American values, the conspirators sure have put one over on a lot of people.

Conspiracy theories, by their very nature, are hard to prove or disprove. However, in this case the evidence is overwhelming against the alarmists. The Common Core is an effort to improve the education of our children. It is that simple.

As for the conspiracy theorists, evidence that runs counter to what they believe is usually written off as part of the conspiracy. It reminds this page of the old adage.

“Convince a man against his will, “He’s of the same opinion still.”
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