May 222013

Step One: Catchy Title

The title is an important part of any anti-Common Core piece. A popular choice is to incorporate the word “rotten,” which too many just can’t pass up (here, here, here, here, and here). Also popular: something connoting or indicating a leftist/Marxist conspiracy, for instance, “Common Core: Rotten to it’s leftist core,” “Obama Trying To Take Over Public Education With ‘Common Core’ Curriculum That Teaches Socialism,” “‘Common Core’ The Marxist Brainwashing Of America’s Schoolchildren,” or “Common Core GED textbook: ’9/11 hijackers were poor Afghanis.’”

Step Two: Select Your Boogeyman

The obvious choice is President Obama, but don’t limit yourself to the guy in the White House. And, ObamaCore might be catchy (here, here, here, and here), but it’s not terribly creative. Seriously, it just takes ObamaCare and changes ONE LETTER! Bill Ayers is a strong choice for a boogeyman (hereherehereherehere, and here). Linda Darling-Hammond is the leading boogeywoman (herehere, and here). Combine two or all three for the most potent boogeyman concoction.

Step Three: Pick a Persuasive Argument

Big choice here. Once you have an irresistible title and boogeyman (or more), you need to actually construct your anti-Common Core argument. You have a few options.

You can go with the “Common Core is a socialist/Marxist/communist plot” – but those arguments are getting a lot of airplay already (here, here, here, here, here, and here). Another popular choice is the Common Core is a UN conspiracy (here, here, and here). If you’re more familiar with pedagogy, you could run with the Common Core as a progressive takeover of schools (here, here, and here).

Less common arguments are that Common Core is a secret attempt to indoctrinate students about immigration (here); that the new standards will eliminate cursive instruction (here); that examples of suggested texts are too sexually graphic (here); promotes a “homosexual agenda” (here); that it’s part of “the apology tour for American exceptionalism (here); or that the standards promote “extreme environmentalism” (here).

For those seeking bolder arguments, there is “Common Core forcing Marxism/Nazism on America’s children,” or that it’s comparable to what Hitler did while in charge of Germany (here, here, here, here, here, and here).

The argument that Common Core is federal intrusion into public education? Please, that’s soooo pedestrian and boring. It’s probably important to include so you can say something about the Constitution or states’ rights, but it’s a less flashy argument than some of the ones listed above.

Step Four: Construct a Conclusion

The title, boogeyman, and argument are all essential, but you really need to build to your concluding remarks. The smart move seems to be suggesting the new standards will be an absolute disaster (here), that we must overthrow tyranny (here), the standards cost too much (here), or that anything the feds are involved in is bound to fail (here and here).

Side Comments

In seriousness, opposition from a few key right-wing pundits (Malkin and Beck) seems to have stirred up the anti-Common Core hysteria of late. It’s also possible that the standards didn’t get much attention when they were simply words on a page as opposed to something actually happening in the classroom (at least in some places), complete with assessments tied to the standards. And, it’s completely plausible that the right just needed another topic to cause a stink about.

[Disclosure: I am working for the American Federation of Teachers this summer, although none of my work relates to the Common Core. Additionally, I composed this post on my own time.]

 May 22, 2013  Posted by on May 22, 2013

  3 Responses to “A Guide to Writing Right-Wing, Anti-Common Core Articles and Blog Posts”

  1. If you would take a second and look at the timeline for the opposition to Common Core in Indiana, you would see that opposition formed well in advance of any rightwing commentators ever taking note of Common Core. Secondly, look at the sponsors of the anti-common core legislation in Indiana. Democrat legislators, including a high school chemistry teacher, sponsored this bill. It was and will always be a bi-partisan effort in Indiana. Don’t try to muck it up with propaganda, it’s so childish. I will not approve your comment as it does nothing to further the debate with a probing question or offer any new information, it only spreads negativity.

  2. Erin, while I think you are right in what you say, there is a bigger picture available as I explain below. In the case of bringing those on “the right” along with those who oppose the Common Bore on factual grounds, presenting it (or anything factual) in the light of being an established “enemy” is/can be the first step on the road to this that I posted on Diane Ravitch’s blog (that I say you also commented on):
    “There is a more fundamental point to be made here. While I think the case for Stalinism has been successfully made, that does not mean the motivations are Stalinist, and I argue forcefully that they are not. Corporate power has no political or ideological loyalty whatsoever, just loyalty to it’s own power, influence and money. They will make use of strategies and tactics from any and every source so long as they match their particular needs. In effect, corporations are the biggest and possibly the oldest “No Labels” movement out there. It’s interesting that there is a small but growing grass roots “No Labels” movement afoot. Citizens are abandoning party affiliations, ideologies, abandoning all political identities in favor of a purely empiricist approach in the examination of and advocacy for any particular policy. It is not just independent, but anti-partisan in nature. This is perhaps the main reason that the oligarchs and plutocrats fear the Occupy movement, Occupy is not distracted by the divisive, deceptive methods that have neutered the vast majority of the rest of the population. As we have seen in the growing resistance to the corporate reform movement, once a citizen understands how they have been lied to and what the lie seeks to divert their gaze from, they won’t fall for it or other similar lies again. They develop heightened vigilance in other areas as well. As we have seen happen on occasion, there is strength in numbers that the machinations put forth by wealth and influence cannot overcome. Though there are not always the numbers needed to prevail, victory will always be highly probable when there are. This is why in addition to education, the right to vote is under assault. No bread and circuses for me, I have remembered history.”

  3. [...] the last few months, the louder critics of the Common Core learning standards have associated the initiative with varying degrees of evil: [...]

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