Reports of the Common Core Standards' demise are premature
Journalists say three events constitute a trend. In education policy, apparently, it only takes one.
In Tuesday’s election, Tony Bennett, the state superintendent of education in Indiana, lost his bid for re-election to Glenda Ritz, a teacher. Bennett had been a strong advocate of the Common Core State Standards, and a couple of commentators, in the wake of the election, suggested that his defeat spells doom for the standards.
It might be time to take a deep breath.
There were three other state chief elections on November 6 in states that have adopted the Common Core State Standards, and all three incumbents won. There were eleven gubernatorial elections that day as well, and the incumbents’ party prevailed in all but one. The Common Core State Standards were not an issue.
Further, Bennett lost for many reasons. According to Scott Elliott, a reporter for the Indianapolis Star, Bennett had garnered fierce opposition from the teachers’ union for pushing through a tough teacher-evaluation law and vouchers to pay for students to attend private schools. He also alienated many teachers with his blunt rhetoric. The election was far from a referendum on the Common Core Standards.
This doesn’t mean that Common Core supporters should rest easy. A recent survey by Achieve found that most of the public is unaware of the standards. Without a stronger base of support, the standards could be vulnerable to attacks from critics.
But as with Mark Twain, reports of their demise are premature.
Robert Rothman is a senior fellow at the Alliance for Excellent Education.
*In the original publishing of this post, Glenda Ritz was mistakenly written as Gloria Ritz. It has been edited to reflect this correction.