After the Spring 2014 primaries, the Common Core State Standards were viewed as a political hot potato. As former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said, “the Common Core has become toxic, I think it’s radioactive…It has become an incredibly controversial topic on both the left and the right.” Even so, the Common Core turned out to play a role in some of the governor’s races in November 2014.
In this analysis of candidate positions and the role of the Common Core across the 36 gubernatorial races of 2014, CPRE researchers Bobbi Newman, Jonathan Supovitz and Arial Smith used campaign websites, debate transcripts, State of the State addresses, Twitter accounts, and candidate interviews, to identify the positions of 62 of the 81 candidates (including 3rd party representatives). Our findings show that support for, and opposition to, the Common Core was pretty evenly split, mostly across party lines. Arguments in support of the Common Core tended to emphasize economic benefits, while opposition emphasized Federal intrusion and the importance of local control. In a few races, the Common Core became a substantial issue.