Making a Good Idea Toxic: The Demonization of the Common Core

Michael B. Henderson and Martin R. West of the Brookings Institution have published an interesting paper on Partisanship and Public Opinion on the Common Core.

The essence of the paper is a description of how Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has mobilized public opinion in that state against the Common Core issue (for which he formerly was a strong supporter) in order to further his presidential ambitions.

Public opinion has been swayed – particularly among conservatives – against the “Common Core” – not so much because of the concept of the Common Core – but against the name itself.  As the article points out, public opinion is in favor of the concept – but partisan bluster about the Common Core label has made the name quite toxic and a hot potato among those who are positioning themselves as a candidate of choice among the conservative base.

 The effect has been to add confusion to the issue by demonizing the name – NOT to build knowledgeable support or opposition to a concept.

Read this excellent paper yourself – look at the charts – and decide for yourself.

 This is an example of the power of the Critical Skill called “Communications” which has been used effectively to make the Common Core a negative political issue rather than to make a transparent argument for or against an educational reform concept.


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