We knew all this about the tea party agenda, of course, because the tail on this dog is wagging away here in New Hampshire. But here is Politico breaking the story open with a long report detailing the role opposition to the Common Core plays in the larger tea party strategy to privatize public education:
What started as a ragtag opposition led by a handful of angry moms is now a sophisticated national movement supported by top donors and strategists on the right. Conservative groups say their involvement already has paid dividends in the form of new members and troves of email addresses.
But that’s just the start.
A draft action plan by the advocacy group FreedomWorks lays out the effort as a series of stepping stones: First, mobilize to strike down the Common Core. Then push to expand school choice by offering parents tax credits or vouchers to help pay tuition at private and religious schools. Next, rally the troops to abolish the U.S. Department of Education. Then it’s on to eliminating teacher tenure.
“This is going to be a huge campaign,” said Whitney Neal, the group’s director of grass-roots activism. She plans to kick it off within weeks with a series of videos that will “connect the dots” between killing Common Core and enacting other conservative priorities.
The campaign will build to a march on Washington this summer, perhaps in partnership with radio host Glenn Beck. “This is definitely an institutional priority for us in 2014,” she said. “We’re putting a lot of time and resources into it.”
“The grass-roots support for this is stronger than for anything else we work on,” Fieler said. “This is an issue with great political promise.”
That same political calculation is evident in FreedomWorks’ draft plan for an Educational Freedom Campaign. Picking up the mantle of parental rights “casts a passionate and caring light on our activists — different from the image currently portrayed by media,” the draft states. The campaign also offers a rare chance to attract new members from outside the tea party — “especially minority communities.”
Already, the strategy is paying off. FreedomWorks started the year in contact with a few dozen stalwart foes of the standards; it now holds weekly strategy sessions with more than 200. “Common Core is bringing in people who are brand-new to activism. They’re coming out of the woodwork,” Neal said. “That’s huge for us.”
Parents who teach their children at home aren’t directly affected by the new standards but fear they will face pressure to follow them when most textbooks, not to mention the SAT, are aligned to Common Core. Homeschoolers also sense an opportunity to grow their ranks by fanning anger at the public education system.
The anti-Common Core movement so far has been about saying “no” to the standards, “but at some point soon, we’ll have to define what ‘yes’ is — and school choice is a perfect ‘yes’ for people to galvanize around,” said Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute, a conservative think tank.
Read the whole thing here: For right, Common Core fight prelude to bigger agenda – Stephanie Simon – POLITICO.com.
The Pioneer Institute is, of course, the primary resource New Hampshire’s Common Core opponents have drawn upon for their talking points.