This past weekend, I spoke at three events in Ohio on Common Core–new national education standards 45 states have adopted. We had speaking panels in Cincinnati and Cleveland and a 3-on-3 debate in Columbus. Every event was packed. According to registration numbers and crowd counts, some 1,000 people attended altogether.
In Cleveland (you can vaguely see me speaking in this picture), audience members stayed for an hour after the two-hour forum was scheduled to end, and even when we walked off the stage, exhausted from jabbering all day and traveling all weekend, people were still waiting to ask questions. On Monday, I had two dozen emails from people who had attended, asking follow-up questions and for more information.
I brought two giant boxes of Heartland brochures, books, and flyers on school reform and education research, as well as a big stack of School Reform News‘s latest issue. Only a small pile of books remains.
The people were ravenous for information. As I spoke and listened, I could feel the agitation in the audience. Some of that came right out in the open when people lined up by the dozens to ask questions everywhere we went, many of them facing off against Common Core proponents. Here’s the audience in Columbus.
All of these forums were organized a few short weeks before they occurred, with minimal advertising–mostly through email forwards. Several groups are asking me to come back and speak in their hometowns. One lady drove five hours to attend the Columbus event.
Common Core represents a threat to American-style representative government and our freedoms to control our own children and local affairs, as I wrote in National Review Online shortly before the debates. Because it was written in closed-door meetings funded by progressive foundations and companies that stand to gain billions from the education mandates, the public is only now finding out about it. So far, 13 states have reconsidered their adoption of Common Core. Based on what I saw in Ohio, looks like they’re soon number 14. Who’s next?