Last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) took a shot at the Common Core State Standards in an email to supporters claiming they contain “anti-American propaganda, revisionist history that ignores the faith of our Founders.”
But while the Common Core is a set of math and English standards, it does not have a history, civics, or social studies curriculum. The only readings the Common Core requires are the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and Lincoln’s second inaugural address.
Paul’s strategy may not play well in his home state of Kentucky, which was one of the first states to adopt the Common Core. The state has seen its college and career readiness rates jump by over 25 percent since their adoption.
Support is strong elsewhere as well. Forty-five states and the District of Columbia decided to voluntarily adopt the standards in 2010. While there have been three states that have dropped the standards since, and there are real concerns about how often the Common Core-aligned tests should be administered and how they should be used for things like school accountability, student promotion, and teacher evaluations, the standards themselves still enjoy a broad and diverse coalition of support. Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, teachers unions, civil rights groups, military leaders, and numerous education groups have all voiced their strong support and continue to advocate for the standards.
And just this past Sunday, President Reagan’s former Secretary of Education and conservative talk show host Bill Bennett had this to say: “Here is what you can really do—download the standards themselves. The Common Core standards… Not what someone said the standards were. Not what Google reported. Not what some citizens group decided was Common Core, but the actual standards themselves… You tell me what’s wrong with saying kids should learn how to parse and diagram sentences, memorize, read the Declaration of Independence. That’s what I want to know.”
At the same time, however, some Republicans continue to push wildly incorrect Common Core storylines such as claims that the Common Core will turn students gay, were informed by the Muslim Brotherhood, and are a communist plot.
Will Ragland is campaign director of education policy at the Center for American Progress.