COLUMBUS, Ga. – In state after state, the new national K-12 learning standards for math and English – known as Common Core – are causing a rift among many Republican leaders and the rank-and-file party activists.
That intraparty squabble nearly resulted in an embarrassing moment for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal during last weekend’s state GOP convention.
According to the Political Insider blog on AJC.com, GOP activists were set to vote on a resolution that openly rebuked Deal for supporting the Common Core learning standards.
But one of Deal’s fast-thinking political allies used a parliamentary procedure to prevent the vote from happening.
Former state Sen. Seth Harp called for a quorum in the convention’s final minutes before the vote could take place. About 800 delegates were needed to establish a quorum, but only 600 were counted. Most of the party faithful were “streaming out” of the convention center “after a chairmanship race had drained the convention of much of its drama,” reports the Political Insider.
The resolutions will now go before the GOP executive committee for a final vote. Committee members are believed to hold a favorable view of Common Core and are expected to protect Deal from being publicly chided by his own party.
Deal did not escape the weekend convention politically unscathed, however. The controversy forced the governor to spend a portion of his Saturday morning speech attempting to make nice with the anti-Common Core crowd.
During his speech, Deal highlighted a recent executive order in which he barred the state from collecting or sharing with the federal government any personally identifiable data on students or their families, reports GAPundit.com.
Critics fear that newly designed Common Core-aligned standardized tests will generate student-specific data that will be used by the federal government and education technology companies to track each student’s academic and personal characteristics.
Deal said he would welcome legislation next year that would enshrine that principle in state law, reports the Political Insider.
Whether that’s enough to appease Georgia’s GOP activists remains to be seen.
But as this convention drama shows, opposition to Common Core is growing and it’s putting many Republican leaders in a politically uncomfortable position.