Supporters of new Common Core national education standards have won a battle within the American Legislative Exchange Council about whether to support or oppose Common Core.
Over the weekend ALEC rejected a proposal to oppose Common Core, according to The Ed Fly blog. The vote is important because ALEC is influential among conservative policy makers — often drafting template legislation for lawmakers to introduce across the country.
Instead the ALEC board of directors voted to remain neutral on Common Core, leaving the decision to states.
The ALEC battle was important enough for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to weigh in last year in an effort to head off the group officially opposing Common Core. ALEC staying out of the fight will likely mean fewer states getting cold feet and withdrawing from the consortium before the standards are fully implemented (Fall of 2014 in Florida).
Common Core is a growing touchstone among some conservative and liberal education advocates.
Conservatives worry Common Core creates sweeping national education standards and tests, taking decisions out of the hands of locals. Teachers unions and others on the political left worry Common Core is a way to standardize and mass produce education, making it easier to wring profit from schools.
Indiana’s recent Superintendent of Public Education election was widely viewed as a national proxy for Common Core and other education reform policies. Incumbent Republican Tony Bennett lost his reelection bid to Democrat Glenda Ritz.
Supporters argue Common Core will raise the bar for many states, and encourages critical thinking and analytical skills. The new standards are designed to prepare high school graduates for college or the work force.
Common Core also allows easier comparison among states and internationally.
Here’s more on the ALEC debate from Education Week.