Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The New Enemies List

The Tea Party threat is over. Well, over-ish.

I've been writing about this in the context of other topics, but I believe it deserves its own attention. Over the past ten days, I've noticed a shift  in the narrative about the Enemies of the Core. Back in the day, the Core's enemies were those crazy fringe Tea Partiers. No longer.

On April 21, The Daily Beast attributed attacks on the Core to "an unholy alliance between the Tea Party and the teachers' unions." That article got some play across the internet.

By last weekend, the calmer voice of MSNBC reporter/commentator Steve Kornacki was also discussing Core opposition under the headline of "Unions and Tea Party Find Common Ground."

Yesterday, Michael Petrilli at the Core-loving Thomas B. Fordham Institute was discussing opposition and dividing it into two basic groups-- Libertarians and conservatives on the right, and the NEA on the left. No Tea Party in sight, but the union wanted to use this chance to back away from policy "it has never liked in the first place." Not only do unions oppose CCSS now, but despite but what you may remember seeing and hearing, they never did. Hooray for rewrites of history.

And of course today, Brookings releases a new "study" showing that both unions and teachers are the biggest problem with education reform.

I popped on over to the NEA websites to see any signs of this new opposition, but no-- at NEAToday the most current CCSS article is still President Dennis Van Roekel's weak and almost-immediately-backpedaled-from denunciation of the implementation of the core. That was back in mid-February. At nea.org, a link to a CCSS-shilling article about how change can be swell is still on the front page. So if the NEA is opposing CCSS, it's doing so very very quietly.

Why make the extra effort to hold up the unions as CCSS opponents? Are we trying to bring conservatives to heel on CCSS by trotting out the standard boogie-men of unions? Are we just putting more weight into the Reformster narrative of teachers as the biggest obstacles to education (just as doctors and nurses are the biggest threat to health).

I'm going to read the timing as desperation. It wasn't that long ago that Reformsters were busily trying to convince teachers that all teachers really lerve the Core. Apparently we've stopped trying to sell that story and we're heading back to teachers as education-hating obstacles to truth, beauty and the American way. I can live with it.

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