Lt. Gov. Dan Forest has made repealing the Common Core education standards one of the crusades of his office, solidifying his hero status on the Tea Party Right in the Republican Party.
So you’d expect Forest and his staff to be a little excited about Thursday’s vote by a legislative study committee to recommend a bill to repeal the standards.
But Forest — or someone on his staf f— got a little ahead of themselves in their jubilation. Forest’s office put out a press release calling the vote a great day for education and then apparently forgetting that the bill still has a ways to go.
“The General Assembly listened to the voices of thousands of parents, teachers, administrators and concerned citizens about the issues with Common Core. This legislative action allows North Carolina to develop its own rigorous standards, created by its own teachers, school administrators, business leaders and parents.”
The General Assembly didn’t do anything. The summer session convenes next month.
A study committee simply made a recommendation. That’s what happened.
It is certainly a significant step for folks opposed to Common Core, but there has been no vote by the House or Senate and no bill is on the way to Gov. Pat McCrory for his signature.
The General Assembly still has to pass the bill and McCrory has to sign it, which is another interesting part of the story. McCrory openly favors Common Core and he and his education advisor have said so repeatedly.
The North Carolina Chamber, a major backer of both McCrory and Republican legislative leaders, also supports it. The question is now what will the chamber do and more importantly what will McCrory do?
It is hard to see him taking on the Tea Party wing of his party with a veto, especially on Common Core, something that has become something of a litmus test issue ever since President Obama announced he was for it.
Republicansgovernors like Bobby Jindal and Scott Walker used to be on board with the federal standards, but they have backed away as the Tea Party protests and conspiracy theories about the alleged takeover of the state’s schools by the federal government or the United Nations or a band of communist aliens have taken hold on the far right.
It is worth noting that there is some opposition to Common Core on the left too, but it is the far right that is driving the repeal efforts in North Carolina and would be most aggressive in attacks on McCrory if he changed his mind.
The Common Core study committee also brought us an interesting quote from Sen. Jerry Tillman, who has been an outspoken advocate of repealing the standards after sponsoring legislation just a few years ago that helped set them up in North Carolina.
Tillman said he was upset about “taking education out of our hands and putting it in the hands of conglomerate states.” Conglomerate states? Interesting to way to put it. Sounds like another way to say the United States. Wonder if Tillman is upset about that whole arrangement too?
Chris Fitzsimon is executive director of N.C. Policy Watch.