Making A Difference

Member Group : From the Kitchen Table

I recently received information from a Pennsylvania citizen. Her state senator claimed that Pennsylvania is not doing the Common Core State Standards. He has stated that the bureaucrats have assured him of this, so it must be true. He is categorically refusing to even look at any information that would conflict with his statement.

This is political arrogance at its worst. Unfortunately, this level of arrogance is the rule and not the exception.

If we want that to change, then we must be the ones to change it.

And that means…

…that "being nice" or "focusing on education" is not the goal for our actions in 2014. The goal is to make opposition to Common Core the only politically viable position in this election cycle.

Begin my talking to campaign committees, not legislative staff. It does not matter if the individual is a state representative, a state senator, or the governor. Every single one of them has a campaign committee. Call each, in both major parties. Ask for the candidate’s position on Common Core – before you give your own. Ask if the candidate has stated that position publicly, and if it is on the campaign literature. A private assurance is meaningless – you need a public position.

Do not accept half-a-loaf. Tweaking Common Core is not good enough. It must be opposed.

If the campaign committee cannot immediately give you a position, leave a name and number and ask for a return call with the answer. If they ask for information, provide it. But you are not looking to teach, you are looking for a public position of opposition.

If you receive a fundraising letter from a candidate or a party, call the author and ask about their position on Common Core before you respond. If you do not receive evidence of a public position in opposition, DO NOT CONTRIBUTE. Instead, use their return envelope to let them know that you are withholding your contribution until there is a public position, with evidence, in opposition to Common Core.

Contact the local committee persons in whatever party you are a member of, and ask them if they know about Common Core. If not, offer to share information with them. Those committees endorse candidates, and you want Common Core to be an issue in that endorsement process.

Go online and look up the donors for the candidates in your area. If you know one of them, call and let them know what is going on with Common Core and ask them to join you in talking with that candidate. In politics, money actually does talk. Make it talk for you.

Get more people involved. Put a STOP COMMON CORE sign in your yard. Talk to your fellow church members. Host a coffee in your living room to share your concerns. Write a letter to the editor. The more folks who are talking about Common Core the better.

Get the candidate’s event schedule, and attend all open events. Make sure Common Core comes up at every one. If the candidate is like the senator we spoke about, bring handouts that refute the lie, and when you ask your question, begin by saying that you have information, which you will be happy to share with audience members, showing the truth. Then ask the question. It’s harder to lie when multiple folks in the audience one is lying to have the truth in front of them.

When you speak, be specific and factual. Use original source materials – you can find them at under the Common Core section. Be polite, no matter what. But be relentless.

From now until election day, every politician is looking for votes. Our job is make sure that every politician gets the clear message that votes are connected to opposition to Common Core. And that only happens if each and every one of us is willing to move from political education to political action.