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Opening Arguments

No core on the Core

Why we probably won't be seeing Mike Pence's name on the presidential ballot in 2016:

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has made a serious miscalculation on what could easily become the sleeper issue of the 2016 presidential campaign, Common Core.  After dramatically withdrawing Indiana from participation in Common Core, Pence was poised to become a hero to the grassroots movement resisting this egregious bid for federal control of America’s traditionally independent and locally-run education system.  Instead, Pence has created the illusion of quality and independence, while installing second-rate standards that are little more than Common Core rebranded.

For some on the left, Common Core is a (misguided) bid to secure “social justice” by dumbing down the most challenging state education standards—along with the SAT.  For others on both sides of the aisle, Common Core is an opportunity to pitch texts and technology to a newly nationalized education market.  Unfortunately, when it comes to the constitutional principle that education should remain in the purview of America’s states and localities, Common Core is an outright disaster.

Pence may have calculated that formally withdrawing Indiana from Common Core, while effectively reinstituting it under another name, would win him admirers from both sides of the debate.  Yet this baby cannot be split.  Pence’s rebranding effectively keeps Indiana’s education system within the Common Core.  The growing national movement of opposition to this federal power-grab will not be fooled.

You can love Common Core or hate it, but pick a side and defend it. Trying to have it both ways is too politically cute and then some. I'm not sure about Common Core being the sleeper issue of the presidential campaign, but it's surely going to matter to the GOP base, which hates it with more of a passion than the GOP establishment loves it. If Pence were to entertain the notion of running, I suspect the base would look at his stands on all other issues in search of similar positional chicanery.