Why Are Corporations and Republican Governors Promoting Common Core?

Several large international corporations have begun advertising campaigns to promote the Common Core State Standards Initiative. This may help explain why so many Republican governors are also supporting Common Core. Critics worry that the Common Core is more concerned with creating good workers than creating good citizens.

Intel, Cisco Systems and ExxonMobil have all begun campaigns to build support for Common Core. Common Core is also supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents over three million businesses, and the Business Roundtable, which represents over 200 CEO's of American corporations.

At a Sept. 17 event hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Intel, Cisco and ExxonMobil, all described their efforts to promote the Common Core, according to Education Week.

ExxonMobil has had a lot of emails after it began its pro-Common Core ad campaign, Patrick McCarthy, executive director of the ExxonMobil Foundation told the audience. Ninety-nine percent of those emails were from those opposed to Common Core, he estimated.

Carlos Contreras, director of U.S. education for Intel, said his company is promoting Common Core with its employees and asking those employees to show up at community events to speak in support of Common Core. Still, he added, about half of those employees do not know what Common Core is and a substantial minority are opposed to Common Core.

The ExxonMobil website states why the company is promoting Common Core.

It reads, in part, "The standards are designed to be robust and relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college and careers. With American students fully prepared for the future, our communities will be best positioned to compete successfully in the global economy. The Common Core State Standards are anchored by requirements for college and career success, providing a more accurate and rigorous description of academic readiness."

The company also has a commercial announcing its support for Common Core, which aired during The Masters golf tournament.

The support of corporations may also help explain why so many Republican governors and former governors support the Common Core. Republican Governors Chris Christie (N.J.), Bill Haslam (Tenn.), Rick Scott (Fla.), Rick Snyder (Mich.), and former Republican Governors Jeb Bush (Fla.) and Mitch Daniels (Ind.) have all supported Common Core. Bush has claimed that over half of the Republican governors in the country support Common Core. Haslam was among the speakers at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce event.

At a Wednesday panel discussion on the Common Core at Family Research Council, The Christian Post asked why so many Republican governors are supporting the Common Core. Bob Morrison, senior fellow for policy studies at FRC, speculated that those Republicans may be aligning their interests with those of international corporations.

Morrison recalled attending a National Education Summit in 1996 at the IBM headquarters. At that time, Republican governors at the event were arguing that the U.S. education system needed to be reformed to prepare students for 21st century jobs.

Every parent wants their child to be gainfully employed, Morrison said, but "the end product of education" should not be "to make them willing, compliant workers for international corporations."

That Common Core is more designed for vocational training than deep thinking, has been one of the many criticisms from opponents. The Common Core, for instance, favors more reading of technical manuals in lieu of classic literature and fiction.

In a July op-ed for The Daily Caller, Glenn Jacobs, co-founder of The Tennessee Liberty Alliance, complained that "Common Core is designed to churn out young people who will be educated enough to work, consume, and pay taxes, but who are not encouraged to be creative, or to use critical thinking, or to develop anything remotely characteristic of those who possess superior minds and the ability to achieve great things."

If Morrison is correct and Republican governors are supporting Common Core out of their deference to large corporations, then the Common Core detractors may find common cause with the "new populists." As The Christian Post recently pointed out, a group of conservatives are criticizing the crony capitalism, within both political parties, in which politicians show favoritism to corporations that help them stay in office.

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