#NCGA: A Common Core food fight?

coreWant to send blood pressure readings through the roof?  Mention those two magical C-words among a crowd of people and stand back to watch the ensuing fireworks.  Common Core is a federally-coordinated public education curriculum endorsed by the educrats, The US Chamber of Commerce, and other Big Business entities. Supporters see it as a way to ensure that ALL public school students are being held to the same rigorous standards. Opponents see it as governmental overreach, liberal indoctrination, and a gross violation of privacy, among other things.bel

Numerous “red” states have already said vaya con dios to Common Core.  North Carolina is seeking to join that distinguished group.  But first, there needs to be some sort of agreement between the two Republican-controlled chambers of The General Assembly  which have passed different flavors of legislation dealing with Common Core. Common Core opponents in the Senate are being led by Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and majority whip Sen. Jerry Tillman.  Tillman penned a column for our web site where he praised the legislation passed by his chamber.   State Rep. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus) is critical of the Senate bill, labeling it simply as a “rebranding” of Common Core.  Pittman is warning that the state House is preparing to accept the Senate version and discard the House bill — which he says goes further than the Senate bill by actually killing Common Core. legis

Here is the Senate’s take on dealing with Common Core.  Here is the House version of the anti-Common Core legislation, which Rep. Pittman and other House conservatives strongly support.  For anything concrete to come out of this debate, the two chambers will have to sit down together and work out their differences. It’s important that those of us who have to live with the consequences of those decisions work to ensure those discussions go in the right direction.

2 thoughts on “#NCGA: A Common Core food fight?

  1. Common Core is an issue that the Republican grassroots is deeply engaged with, and not one that will be easily punted. Many Republican activists follow the details of this issue and will not suffer being made fools of. I know of few other issues that the GOP base is as engaged in as Common Core at the present time. Politicians will emerge as either heroes or villains from their performance on stopping Common Core, and because of the degree to which people are following this issue neither the politicians nor the media are going to be able to control the narrative.

    On the opposite side, of course, are some well heeled special interests who would like to save Common Core. Some politicians may be tempted to try to thread the needle and pacify both sides. This is an issue where that will not work.

    The politicians with the most to gain or lose on this issue are, in order, Thom Tillis, Dan Forest, and Pat McCrory.

    Tillis could hit a grand slam with a GOP base that is still largely wary of his candidacy. The bill that was passed by the House gets very good reviews among conservatives. As long as that is the final bill, Tillis will emerge a hero on a high priority issue, which should help a good bit in energizing the conservative base to support his Senate candidacy. If he backs down, then what happened initially in the House will probably be seen as a smoke and mirrors dodge, and Tillis’ stock among conservatives will melt down dramatically.

    Dan Forest has taken a high profile position on this bill, and has also been pleasing conservatives, but the weaker bill that emerged from the Senate has conservatives scratching their heads. Presently Forest is very well regarded by conservatives as being solid on issues and willing to fight for them. If he defends the weak Senate bill or fails to push in that chamber for the House bill, then his stock can also fall substantially with grassroots Republicans.

    McCrory is at present not as much under the gun, but many grassroots Republicans have been somewhat wary of him on issues, and his comments about vetoing the bill are not well received. If the legislature screws up and no bill emerges, he may largely dodge the bullet. If the Senate bill or something similar gets to his desk, the negatives he would get from vetoing it would be less than if it is the stronger House bill.

    Forest and McCrory are not on the ballot this year, and there is time for the issue to die away, except that if nothing is done it will without a doubt be back in 2015 and 2016 until a stake is driven through the heart of Common Core. Politically McCrory would probably be better off pleasing the grassroots this year, and hoping the special interests get over it by 2016. If the grassroots are denied this year, it is extremely unlikely that the issue will be over until they prevail.

    Tillis has an election this year and does not need a black eye with the grassroots five months before the election. At this point, one has to recognize that the House bill would not have made it this far but for two factors, 1) the hard work of a key group of House conservatives, and 2) Tillis allowing them to proceed. An abandonment half way through would likely hurt Tillis more than if he had bottled up the issue from the beginning. Trust is something Tillis badly needs to build among conservatives, and hanging tough on a very high profile issue would help him a lot in that regard. If he fails to do so, I do not see any other good opportunity to do any repair work in the trust area before November.

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