Agenda 21, Death Panels, Shariah Law, and Now . . . . ObamaCore


A few days ago I was thinking about the Common Core, a bipartisan set of standards for K-12 education that was adopted by most states in 2010 and is now slowly getting rolled out. The reason I was thinking about it is that CC has lately become yet another pet rock for the right, bitterly denounced as a liberal scheme to take over the schools and brainwash our children. How did this happen? What’s the history behind this turnabout, which is especially peculiar given that CC grew out of the “accountability movement,” which was originally associated more with the right than the left in the first place?

Today, Paul Krugman directs my attention to Bill Keller, who provides this brief potted history:

The backlash began with a few of the usual right-wing suspects. Glenn Beck warned that under “this insidious menace to our children and to our families” students would be “indoctrinated with extreme leftist ideology.”

….Beck’s soul mate Michelle Malkin warned that the Common Core was “about top-down control engineered through government-administered tests and left-wing textbook monopolies.” Before long, FreedomWorks — the love child of Koch brothers cash and Tea Party passion — and the American Principles Project, a religious-right lobby, had joined the cause. Opponents have mobilized Tea Partyers to barnstorm in state capitals and boiled this complex issue down to an obvious slogan, “ObamaCore!”

….In April the Republican National Committee surrendered to the fringe and urged states to renounce Common Core. The presidential aspirant Marco Rubio, trying to appease conservatives angry at his moderate stance on immigration, last month abandoned his support for the standards. And state by red state, the effort to disavow or defund is under way. Indiana has put the Common Core on hold. Michigan’s legislature cut off money for implementing the standards and is now contemplating pulling out altogether. Last month, Georgia withdrew from a 22-state consortium, one of two groups designing tests pegged to the new standards, ostensibly because of the costs….The Common Core is imperiled in Oklahoma, Utah, Alabama and Pennsylvania. All of the retreat, you will notice, has been in Republican-controlled states.

That’s about how I figured it, but I’ll bet there’s a more interesting story to be written here by some scholar of the right. I’d really like someone to do it.

NOTE: I should add that I personally have no opinion about the Common Core. I haven’t spent any time looking at it or listening to the debates that led up to it. I’m only curious about this on a political basis. How is it that something which was entirely bipartisan up until 2010 managed to morph into a conspiratorial threat to the American way of life in only two years?

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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