New York Leads the Way In the Movement Against Common Core-- At The Polls
By: Dr. Mark Naison
Something truly extraordinary has happened in the New York State Gubernatorial race-something with broad national implications. A big money Democratic Governor, Andrew Cuomo, who thought he was going to make himself a front runner in the 2016 Presidential Race by ramming through legislation requiring teacher evaluations based on Common Core aligned tests, has generated so much opposition among teachers and parents that there are now three different Gubernatorial candidates who oppose Common Core- the Republican candidate, Rob Astorino, the Green Party candidate, Howie Hawkins, and the new and quite formidable challenger in the Democratic Primary, Zephyr Teachout.
There are two reasons this situation is "game changer"
First, it shows how much opposition to Common Core is emerging across the political spectrum. For the last year, Common Core supporters in the media, the corporate world, and the US Department of Education have tried to portray Common Core opponents as extremists whose views should be rejected out of hand, but the what we have in New York is a mainstream Republican, a strong candidate on the left, and a liberal Democrat all saying that Common Core is untested, undemocratic and a threat to strong, locally controlled public schools. And this position is going to be put forward strongly from now until election day. Even if Andrew Cuomo wins the Democratic primary, he will be facing two strong anti-Common Core voices in the general election.
Secondly, Zephyr Teachout's primary challenge to Andrew Cuomo shows that powerful, Wall Street financed Democratic politicians pushing Corporate School reform no longer can no longer be sure that their positions will go unchallenged and their jobs will be secure. Anti-testing activism is now moving into the heart of the Democratic Party, and Democratic politicians like Rahm Emmanuel, Andrew Cuomo, and Dannel Malloy can no longer be sure their big money donors assure their political future. Even the leaders of the national teachers unions have finally, thanks to their enraged membership, gotten the courage to challenge the Obama administration's education policies. Ras Baraka's election as Mayor of Newark over a Wall Street financed Democrat was a first sign of Corporate Reform Democrats losing their vice grip on the party; Teachout's primary challenge is a second, and if Karen Jennings Lewis decides to challenge Rahm Emmanuel in Chicago, maybe, just maybe, the national Democratic party will get the message that its education policies are a disaster.
What does all this mean?
That anti-Common Core voters in New York, now have candidates reflecting their views in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and in third party movements, and do not have to vote against their conscience on other issues to oppose Common Core and the top down, elite financed, coercive approach to School Reform it represents.
And that bodes well for the future of public education in the United States