“A Sturdy Portion of the Public Is Not”


(Guest post by Greg Forster)

George Will certainly knows how to turn a phrase:

The rise of opposition to the Common Core illustrates three healthy aspects of today’s politics. First, new communication skills and technologies enable energized minorities to force new topics onto the political agenda. Second, this uprising of local communities against state capitals, the nation’s capital and various muscular organizations demonstrates that although the public agenda is malleable, a sturdy portion of the public is not.

Third, political dishonesty has swift, radiating and condign consequences. Opposition to the Common Core is surging because Washington, hoping to mollify opponents, is saying, in effect: “If you like your local control of education, you can keep it. Period.” To which a burgeoning movement is responding: “No. Period.”

Hey, that last part is pretty clever. I wonder where he got it. Hmmmm . . . must have been from Jason! 🙂

19 Responses to “A Sturdy Portion of the Public Is Not”

  1. Jason Bedrick says:

    Still smarting, I see.

  2. Peter Meyer says:

    Dear Greg and George, et al, I do appreciate the free market arguments AGAINST the Commmon Core. But I do wish that every once in a while, you guys would talk about what a “good education” looks like and whether schools (of any stripe) are capable of delivering one. What do you think of state constitutions with education mandates? I understand the delivery system issues and questions, but saying that Common Core is bad just because the feds like it is like saying clean air is bad because the feds push it. And I hate to raise the civil rights question, but as we are drawing near the MLK holiday, I suggest that even the most ardent free marketeer must admit that states rights and local control was perhaps not the best way to deal with racial segregation….

    Happy New Year

    • Greg Forster says:

      Good to know that the Checker Finn tradition of shouting “racism!” when anyone dissents from Common Core will carry on undiminished. In a chaotic world of constant change, it’s good to know there are some things you can always rely on.

    • Jason Bedrick says:

      Peter, please cite where anyone said that CC is bad “just because the feds like it.”

      Go ahead. I’ll wait.

      • Peter Meyer says:

        Jason, I don’t have time to do research for your blog. You mean I have it wrong? The feds liking Common Core doesn’t have anything to do with the right’s — or yours or Jay’s or Greg’s — opposition to it? Or do you want to thread the needle and clalim that it’s my “just because” comment that is impervious to a research hunt? As to Greg’s comment, it’s a simplistic ad hominem not worth a reply…. So, no takers on what a “good” school is? Or a “good” education?



      • Jason Bedrick says:


        I can understand that you don’t have time, but it’s common courtesy to read something before commenting on it. Don’t have the time to do even that? Don’t comment. Certainly don’t cut corners by imagining (in the least charitable what) what the other person’s opinion *might* be and then mock that straw man. It’s unfair, unproductive, and frankly beneath the dignity of someone with your credentials.

        Jay/Greg/Matt and a bunch of others on this blog have discussed good schools in the past. I don’t have the time to research for you, but you’re welcome to peruse the site and I’m sure you’ll find the answer to your questions, if you’re truly interested.

      • Peter Meyer says:

        Point taken, Jason. But it’s still a bit disengenuous to suggest that I’m maligning you in some way, but offer no defense other than maligning me. C’mon. I’m not asking you to do research. If you have a good idea of what a good school, just say it; that doesn’t take research. If I’m wrong in suggesting that your opposition to CC is based on the feds being for it, say so. I’m not asking for research; I’m asking for your opinion(s).

      • Jason Bedrick says:

        As I’ve stated, my opinion has nothing to do with the feds liking it. Federal *coercion* is another matter. I don’t want uniform standards, I want diversity because there is not One Best Way in education — what’s “good” for one child is not necessarily good for another.

  3. Jason Bedrick says:

    That should read “least charitable *way*.

    And to clarify, the “nope” was in response to your second question. The feds “liking” something has nothing to do with my support or opposition, nor Jay’s, nor Greg’s, nor Neal McCluskey’s, etc. You would know that if you read anything any of us wrote, but I guess there’s those darn time constraints again…

  4. Peter Meyer says:

    Oh, excuse me. Blog comments are now peer-reviewed research articles? Oy.

    • Jason Bedrick says:

      Peter, don’t be ridiculous. Reading someone’s work before commenting on it is hardly a high bar.

  5. Peter Meyer says:

    But thank you for at least answering my second question. Got it.

    • Jason Bedrick says:

      The answer to your second question was also an answer to your first. I answered your third question above.

  6. Peter Meyer says:

    And thank you for clarifiying on the “liking” business. We have been down that trail before and I have disagreed about your (and others’) definition of coercian vis a vis CCSS. Thus, I stick to “liking” since there is no federal law against signing on to CCSS (the first definition of coercian). But that aside — not because it’s a minor point, but it has been thrashed out — I would like to know what you or Jay or anyone on this side of the rainbow thinks is a “good” school or “good” education? If there’s a particular paper or blog that you could refer me to — without taking a lot of time — I’d appreciate it.



  7. Peter Meyer says:

    Jason, I’m sorry, but a “good education” and a “good phone” are very different things. It’s like comparing oxygen to Nike running shoes. I’m sorry to say, but there is a body of knowledge — perhaps fungible on the periphery — that can and will spell the difference between a decent job and an indecent one. I would put money on your having had one. And I would put money on your kids, if you have any, getting one. Perhaps it’s like pornography — you know it when you see it — but I don’t think so. It’s easy to say, “There’s no silver bullet.” But to pretend that the inmates in the Washington DC City jail got just as good an education as you and your colleagues did — well, we all know that those prisoners missed something. I challenge you to consider what it is that they missed. And I’m challenging you and your colleagues to spell out what you and your fellow suburbanites learned, so we can put an end to this inner city education debacle…. Let’s get that done, then go back to our fight about the market mechanism for delivering that good — or even also good — education to those who don’t have one….

    • Jason Bedrick says:

      Of course phones and education are different things — no one said they were the same! — but the type of system that produces the best possible phones and the best possible education is the same: a market that is responsive to the needs of the consumers and free enough to innovate.

      (Your “oxygen” example doesn’t work because no one has to provide oxygen.)

      All good phones, at their most basic level, will provide users with the ability to call others and communicate clearly. At its most basic, a good education will produce students who are literate, numerate, and knowledgeable about history, civics, and basic science. But *how* to do that, in what order, and what to test, how, and when are very much open questions. I don’t want a single testing regime that essentially rules out some methods of teaching.

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