Blame the Common Core for Miley Cyrus, phones in toilets, and … everything else?

If you thought that “bullies, playground predators, or school violence” were the most dangerous things school children face, you are, according to the Family Research Council, missing the “spreading, hidden nightmare facing” millions of students as they start a new school year.

It’s the Common Core State Standards, which, the ultra-conservative Christian group said in a fund-raising e-mail, is a “morally corrupt federal takeover of education”  that will lead to “a nation where children are indoctrinated with a liberal ideology that celebrates sexual perversion, worships the creation rather than the Creator, all at the expense of academic achievement and our nation’s Christian heritage.”

Those must be some mighty powerful standards.

The real problem with this rhetoric isn’t that some people believe it, or that Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council who wrote the fund-raising letter, is not the only Core opponent spewing such garbage, but that such sentiments are bleeding into the mainstream conversation and drowning out reasonable criticism of the standards and/or their development and/or their implementation.

Such extremism allowed for the rise of the amusing Twitter hashtag #thnkscommon core, on which Core supporters blame everything that goes wrong with absolutely everything on the Common Core.

 

Funny as these tweets are, they nevertheless bolster the idea that all Common Core opposition is nutty. Some of the opposition obviously is. But some of it is important. This report released last May from the Southern Poverty Law Center explains the dangers of the former to the latter.

The report, called “Public Schools in the Crosshairs: Far-Right Propaganda and the Common Core State Standards,” explains the difference between legitimate criticism of the standards — which comes from various points on the political spectrum — and the right-wing campaign to cast the initiative as a “nefarious plot” by liberals to wreck the country. The report notes that this far-right campaign is really “a proxy for a broader assault on public education itself.” The report notes that some critics have raised legitimate questions about the funding, authorship, content and implementation of the standards.

Conflating what’s nonsense and what’s not does a disservice.

Here’s the fund-raising anti-Core Family Research Council e-mail:




Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
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Valerie Strauss · August 14, 2014