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Common Core as Divisive Political Tactic?

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Common Core: these days, those two words alone can draw up ire or passion as quickly as just about any other issue. You’d think an effort to improve school standards and promote higher expectations for students — adopted by 45 states, embraced by the business community, and endorsed by education reformers from both parties — would be about as controversial as puppies or apple pie.

Well, think again.

Attacks against the “Common Core” standards have left the boardrooms of activists or conservative pundits and steadily filtered in to local candidates’ election tool belts.

WHNT News 19 has heard from both sides of the coin on dozens of occasions over the past several months. We spoke to the Chairman of the Madison County Young Republicans about how quickly Common Core has left the realm of education and leaped into politics.

Brent Beal says he’s the first to admit there is a lot of misconception out there when it comes to Common Core.

“Some of this – every problem in the school system – has been lumped into being Common Core related,” Beal says.

So – candidates using this singular, decisive issue as a tactic to appeal to the fears or misconceptions of what very well can be a misguided electorate – is that unethical, or just the nature of the beast; just politics?

“I think sometimes it is unethical,” says Beal. “I’ve been to so many different political meetings and we have folks from state auditor, to lieutenant governor to secretary of state candidates on down to local representative candidates who are all running against Common Core – I don’t know if that’s a state auditor issue or even a lieutenant governor issue.”

One thing Beal says he can certainly stand by is the call for voters to educate themselves, and shoo away political ads designed to sway your opinion with the mention of two mere words.

“Don’t be swayed by just what someone tells you,” Beal advises. “There is a ton of actual good information out there from people who actually know what they’re talking about.”

Tell us your thoughts. Comment below or sound off on WHNT News 19’s Facebook page.