Anatomy of a Conservative Headline: The Common Core Edition

The Humboldt Republican Women Federated (HRWF) last week declared on their extremely entertaining web site that . . . “Over 80 PERCENT Of New York Residents Say Common Core Is A Disastrous Failure”.  Now, it is always difficult to decipher what content exactly is the HRWF’s.  In this case, the entire thing is from the  Daily Caller,  tie non-conformist Tucker Carlson’s site.

Humboldt Republican Women Federated
Humboldt Republican Women Federated

The Caller’s story from “Education Editor” Eric Owen.  Here is some reporting…

“The poll, by the Times Union of Albany and Siena College Upstate Education, shows that a whopping 82 percent of the Empire State’s residents want to abandon the Common Core Standards Initiative in its current form.”

This article in turn can be sourced to NBC’s Albany affiliate WNYT whose headline takes the hype down a notch and returns the at least a little closer to reality… “Poll: overwhelming majority of NYers oppose Common Core”.

Neither story links to the poll itself, but thankfully, this is one that publishes much of the crosstabs, and here they are.

I’ll go through a few that I think get to a clearer picture (and a number way below HRWF’s 82%) that say that Common Core is if not “disastrous” then at least confusing and perhaps implemented to quickly.

Question 1 A1. Overall, would you rate the quality of public education in New York as excellent, good, fair, poor, or do you not have enough information in order to say?

Question 1 A
Question 1 A

46% said good-ish  37% bad-ish.  Of the good(ish) folks 56% were Dems,  47% Republican and 40% other.  Take home – more thing the system is working than not, most that do think it’s working OK are left of center.

Question 7A below then asks “How much attention have you been paying to each of the following recent educational initiatives in New York? Have you been paying a great deal of attention, some attention, not very much attention, or no attention at all to each of the following?”

Question 7 A

 The following are the answers for Common Core.  73% are paying some attention or more. And of the registered partisan folks – 79% of Dems and 79% of Republicans are paying somewhat or more attention.

Question 8A then asks if the surveyed supports the implementation of Common Core in their schools.

Question 8 A

23% do, 43% don’t, and 23 % don’t know or refused to answer.  That is the number I think the Caller’s Eric Owen and the local Republican women were  looking for – not 82%.  Of those that support the implementation – 28% were Democrats and 20% Republicans.  Of those opposed the corresponding numbers were 37% and 55%.

Finally, the sexy headline that was first taken out of context, then hyperbolized stemmed from Question 10 A.  Has the implementation of the Common Core been rushed, resulting in confusion?

Question 10 A
Question 10 A

82% said yes (ish).  49% of Dems and 57% of Repubs strongly agree with that contention, and I don’t disagree.

But here’s the thing.  If it isn’t implemented now, even with strong backing from many in the business community and from right wing pundits like Bill Bennett who do care in a having a set of national standards, it will never get done.  Do you see Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or even Chris Christie or Jeb Bush passing something like this with the difficulty their base would have with it?  I don’t.

And the reason the Common Core, or something like it as it evolves, is important is we don’t want to leave regions of the country behind.  That what is currently happening as local and state governments cut out this or that section of the curriculum which may not comport with their beliefs.

I realize there is strong opposition against Common Core coming from the left too.  This liberal is in favor of a set of common, testable standards for our nation’s children.  I’m also in favor of paying close attention to these standards going forward to make sure our children are well served.    We can start doing this by paying less attention to the HRWF’s and Daily Caller’s nonsense and start paying attention to actual news items on the subject.

Speaking of which, here’s a good recent article from the NYT which isn’t particularly favorable to the common core, but it also isn’t panning the entire program whole cloth.

Here is another recent article that talks about the conservative politics of Common Core.  The opposition to this started in the Tea Party right and is moving to the conservative mainstream as conservative politicians begin to realize how important this is to their fervent base.    The real problems with Common Core are reasons this will be something to keep an eye on, and to make sure the reporting is accurate.

My brain talk tells me that there are obviously going to be issues with Common Core as one would expect when a national program is implemented. Let’s not let the true believers on the right get away with confusing their anti-government dogma with something we should all want.  A common set of core education standards for the nation.

Who knows… maybe at some point we could get civics back into the curriculum?


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