Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R), now a conservative radio host, stood up to some in his party today when he supported the Common Core State Standards designed to raise the level of learning among all students in the United States.
Created by the nation’s governors—30 are currently in the GOP—the standards have recently been cast by conservatives as a menacing, federal push on local control of the nation’s schools. But even Huckabee, who is a darling of the right, sees that the standards are hardly dangerous. “Parents and people involved in their local schools should let it be known that core standards are valuable, and they’re not something to be afraid of—they are something to embrace,” Huckabee said on his radio program Wednesday.
What’s more, the former governor jabbed the Republican National Committee for passing a resolution against the standards and for trying to condemn the nation’s children to knowing less than everyone else in the world. “It’s disturbing to me that there have been criticisms directed by the RNC. I think that’s very short-sighted,” Huckabee said.
Plenty of conservatives were part of the group of governors, state education chiefs, and others who called for a set of core standards for U.S. education to make sure that all students had the skills to be competitive in the global economy. But now Alabama, Michigan, Florida, and Indiana—states that had been among the 45 adopting the Common Core Standards—have taken early steps toward abandoning the standards and the assessments that will accompany them starting in 2014. Each of these four states has a Republican governor.
It’s rare when leaders from both parties, along with interest groups and advocates across the spectrum work together, and though some conservatives have attempted to make this a partisan spat, Huckabee’s support shows that Common Core is still a smart and worthy goal.
Our guest bloggier is Jenny DeMonte, the Associate Director for Education Research at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.