Chapel Hill EWA Seminar On Common Core (Pt II)

Yesterday, I did a short write-up of one of the videos taken at the EWA Seminar in Chapel Hill on January 12th.  Today is party two, “The Southern Context Of Common Core”.

The Southern Context of Common Core
20 minutes, 17 seconds
Participants: Jill Stancill and Ferrell Guillory

Description: “Education Writers Association conference panel on the Southern context of Common Core. News & Observer Education Reporter Jane Stancill interviews Ferrel Guillory, member EducationNC Board of Directors and professor of the practice at the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication.”

I’ll be referring to Jane Stancill as JS and Ferrel Guillory as FG throughout this article.

Be mindful of who Guillory is.


Overall, my take is that this discussion here is more about driving a narrative about the South and is less about Common Core or even really education. This conversation is more about Stancill and Guillory’s opinions about Republicans and their foothold in the South.

47 second  mark: JS asks FG what about Common Core has generated such heat in the South? Where do you see that movement going?
FG responds by pointing to 2010 and 2012 Republican gains nationally and in the states and continued on to link that all the way back to Reagan’s ‘A nation at risk‘ and Nixon in terms of the ‘Southern Strategy’.

FG then compares Reagan’s ‘education agenda’ to the current school choice movement – vouchers, less government control, abolishment of the DOE.  FG says that the sons and daughters of “Reaganites” are now in power and they are questioning the dynamics that grew out of a ‘A nation at risk‘.

FG: ‘What’s going on in the South is Republicans arguing with Republicans.’

 5:00 mark: JS asks what is it that we should understand about the South … are there shifts in political power that we should think about when covering education in a more broad way?

FG: What is essential to say here is that the South has become the base of the National Republican party. The National Republican party has no way to win the presidency without the South.

Guillory continued on to say that the 2016 primaries will have to “deal with the South”.

8:20 mark: JS talks about the way Republicans are staking themselves out differently, being either for or against Common Core.  JS asks if Common Core is going to be a big part of the debate in 2016.  FG agrees it will be an issue.

10:58 mark: Q & A session begins.

Question: Common Core, in part, came out of the National Governor’s Association. What do you make of so many Governors now turning against it? Is it just political opportunism?
FG: “That was five years ago… there’s been an election since then…”
FG goes on to say states have become polarized. Uses Jindal as an example of shifting his support, implies it is due to Presidential aspirations.

LL1185 Comment: Gee, the massive public outcry in Louisiana had nothing to do with it, eh?

Question: Is some of this (Common Core backlash) because it has been associated with the Obama administration because of Race To The Top?

FG: Yes I think that’s some of it.
FG then makes a remark the Common Core developers were careful to say they wanted this to be national standards, not federal standards. FG characterizes RTTT as the Obama administration “trying to be helpful”.

LL1885 Comment: The overall implication in that question is that you’re a racist for opposing Common Core. If it wasn’t meant to be federal, then why the Race To The Top requirement for ‘Career and College Ready’ when Common Core was the only thing out there? I think Mr. Guillory is over-simplifying the amount of money and collusion between the DOE and the CCSSO, NGA, Achieve and Bill Gates.  This administration wasn’t trying to be helpful, they were trying to be dictatorial with that Race To The Top requirement.

Question at 15:23 mark was interesting.
The person, who isn’t identified, mentions the idea of standards getting on their radar when Achieve talked to the state board of education in Nevada in 2002 or 2003.  The question put to Guillory is whether he thinks lawmakers feel like they’ve been left out of decision making on standards or are they were simply not paying attention and are now trying to catch up.  FG goes into a long explanation about the long, great history of Democratic lawmakers (he names Easley) have done in Education. Then he makes this comment:

“This assault on Common Core…in the South…is also partly an assault – maybe unintended or unspoken – on the emerging… what had emerged as the settled policies… the consensus policies that Southern states needed to reform themselves in education, step by step.”  

Is Guillory saying here that attack on Common Core is an attack on the education establishment or just the established policies of which many are proving outdated?

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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