The Corner

Pence Disappoints on Common Core

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a potential 2016 presidential run by Indiana governor Mike Pence. That is all to the good. Yet Pence is being touted, and is touting himself, as an opponent of Common Core and a defender of state and local control over education. That is incorrect.

Pence did preside over Indiana’s withdrawal from Common Core, yet he quickly turned this triumph into a charade. Instead of returning to Indiana’s superb pre–Common Core standards, Pence stacked the replacement committees to ensure the return of Common Core. Indiana’s new standards are nothing but a slightly mangled and rebranded version of what they supposedly replace.

Common Core opponents are deeply disappointed by this outcome. The plucky Indiana mothers who ignited the national rebellion against Common Core are wondering why Governor Pence seems to have betrayed their trust.

Word about Pence’s disappointing performance on Common Core hasn’t gone out widely, but it will. That creates an opening for potential presidential candidates like Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who recently took a stand against Common Core.

Yet the Indiana fiasco is also going to put pressure on candidates who claim to oppose Common Core to prove their sincerity. Will they directly criticize Indiana’s rebranding charade? Will they specify the steps they will take to move away from Common Core? After Pence’s performance, a simple statement of suspicion about this ill-conceived attempt to nationalize American education isn’t going to persuade.

I don’t expect to agree with the next Republican presidential nominee on everything. There’s an awful lot to recommend Mike Pence, and despite this disappointment he deserves serious consideration by Republicans and conservatives. Yet Pence’s attempt to present himself as an opponent of Common Core isn’t acceptable and ultimately won’t fly. If anything, Pence has left himself vulnerable to a slashing attack during the Republican presidential debates by an opponent with the guts to convincingly oppose Common Core.

Stanley Kurtz — Stanley Kurtz is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

Most Popular

U.S.

Nathan Phillips Lied. The Media Bought It.

If you’re in a public place and someone starts heckling you, are you entitled to heckle back? How about if someone does something much worse than heckling you in a public place? What if that person in fact takes a drum up to you and starts banging it in your face? Are you entitled to heckle back? How about ... Read More
Religion

The Covington Affair

‘A  fuller and more complicated picture emerged.” Just so.   For an overheated few minutes, the world (meaning the world of people engaged in producing and consuming nanosecond-by-nanosecond commentary on the Internet) was rapt with revulsion at the sight of a group of smirking high-school boys — ... Read More

Alert: NRPlus Call with Devin Nunes is Imminent

We are delighted that Republican congressman Devin Nunes is joining us this week for a call with our NRPlus members. It’s Wednesday at 11:45 a.m. If you are a member, you should have an invite in your inbox. If you are not, you can sign up here. I’ll be moderating and we’ll be taking your questions through ... Read More