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 TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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