In the most recent release of Education Insider survey data from Whiteboard (pdf) there were questions about Common Core participation in WI and LA. It’s hard to miss that pretty much every Republican who (a) has national aspirations in 2016 and (b) whose last name is not ‘Bush’ is moving away from Common Core.* Marco Rubio, the Florida senator and Bush protégé is the latest to try to create some breathing room. That’s a problem for Common Core supporters because appealing to primary voters is always a race to the right for Republicans (and the left for Democrats). That’s why the ante on Common Core opposition keeps going up. First it was ok to just do some saber rattling. Then efforts to rebrand the standards with a new name, for instance Arizona. Then dropping out of the Common Core assessment consortia (multiple states now including UT, AL, IN, FL, GA, PA). And now dropping the standards themselves is on the table in some places, for instance ME where the state’s Tea Party governor is shoring up his base in a likely three-way race for reelection.
It’s only 2013 right now so there is a lot of time before the primaries. That means a lot of time for the stakes to continue to rise as politicians vie to be more gangsta against the Core than the next guy. At a minimum it’s a distraction and implementation problem, but arguably a more serious threat. It’s easy to see the same politics that doomed Clinton’s national testing push at work here. Motivated Republicans against, unenthusiastic Democrats for. And a center that is not broad enough to hold.
Update: New Jersey readers are already writing to note that Chris Christie is still supportive. It’s a blue state but fair point.