This is not a “nonpartisan” exercise. This is an ideological crusade by the tea party. The group’s 40-year-plan “to take back our country” tackles four areas: educational, judicial, political and cultural, and it seeks to infuse them with conservative teachers, judges, politicians and musicians, as tea-party co-founder and local resident Mark Meckler has stated.
The latest political battleground has spilled into our schools and our children’s classrooms, focusing on the Common core curriculum. Common Core was created by the U.S. governors five years ago as a bipartisan effort to set standards in American schools. It has been adopted in the public (and private) schools in our community — and most of the nation, for that matter.
Common Core is fueling divisions among Republicans nationwide, but our community’s GOP political groups — largely influenced and led by arch-conservative retirees and activisits — are tilting toward the tea-party aligned officials, including Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, who want to delay or abandon it. Some examples:
•Paul Haas, a candidate for county superintendent of schools seeking to unseat Holly Hermansen, said at a candidate’s forum this week he is opposed to Common Core curriculum, adding that he has won the endorsement of the Nevada County Republican Party. Though Haas has said he’s not affiliated with the tea party, his Common Core rhetoric — a “top-down solution,” “expensive experiment” and so on — closely matched what you hear from the tea-party aligned officials.
•The local GOP website reads: “COMMON CORE TOWN HALL — DISCUSS THE PROBLEMS AND HOW YOU CAN OPT OUT!” pointing to a “town hall” meeting on April 29 at the Elk’s Club in Grass Valley. That’s an activist-minded call to action by the local GOP, not merely a discussion.
Among Republicans, supporters of Common Core include moderate Republican governors and former Florida governor Jeb Bush, who view it is a way to improve student performance and the competitiveness of American workers.
But the tea-party contingent likens it to Obamacare. Paul and Cruz, among others, are sponsoring a measure that would bar federal financing of Common Core.