Would you buy Obamacare under a different name?

March 11, 2014 6 Comments

Let’s say you were approached by a political strategist, gathering public reaction to a plan to save Obamacare. He asks, “If Obamacare was rebranded as a state-governed initiative with a different name, like IndianaCare, and put through a Hoosier process, do you think people would buy it?”

You would probably laugh and say people would see right through it as a cheap trick.  It doesn’t matter what it’s called, it doesn’t matter who controls it, the only thing that does matters is whether or not it is an intrinsically good program that will work.

Since we’re already in a “what-if” scenario, imagine the strategist was working for conservative republicans. Your answer would morph from a laugh to a smack, followed with the comment, “What’s wrong with you guys, you’re supposed to oppose this, not try to sell it.”

This “what-if” scenario is a reality for Hoosiers facing a rebranding of the Common Core  into “new” Indiana standards. Legislation passed by the Indiana General Assembly initiated a process to replace the Common Core with improved standards. The process is currently being conducted by Governor Mike Pence’s new agency, the Center for Education and Career Innovation (CECI).  However, the recent release of the “new” standards revealed they contain almost all of the Common Core and look strikingly similar, causing many to fear it is a rebrand, not a replacement.  While it may have gone through a “Hoosier” process to rename it, the flawed content hasn’t been removed.

Surprisingly, there are republican legislators who dismiss the concern that the “new” standards mirror the Common Core. They claim it’s unavoidable, the former Indiana standards and the Common Core, which were used as a base for the new standards, share so many similarities that we were bound to have overlap. The reality is that all sets of standards share similar DNA, in the same way a pig and a human do. (Yes, it’s true. After chimpanzees, humans share more DNA with pigs than any other species.)

All sets of standards include many of the same components, like adding two numbers between 0-9, but the technical language, which articulates how that translates for students, creates a very different product. In the case of the “new” standards, they haven’t altered any of the  Common Core genes, they’re still a pig.

The CECI  released a statement calling the “new” standards a first draft, and they intend to make improvements before the State Board of Education votes on the final draft. What those changes will be, and whether or not they will be enough to end the Common Core debate in Indiana will largely be determined by the CECI, under the direction of Governor Pence. The final vote by the State Board of Education to accept or reject the final standards is also controlled by the governor, they’re his appointees.

In his State of the State address, Pence promised standards “written by Hoosiers, for Hoosiers, that are uncommonly high.” This promise can only be kept if he exerts strong leadership over his staff and appointees and delivers improved standards, not a rebrand. If it’s the latter, he will likewise be rebranding the Common Core as his own initiative, the consequences of which will be far-reaching.


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Comments (6)

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  1. Debra Klinger says:

    I am in absolute 100% agreement with every ounce my being with throwing CCSS in the trash can where it belongs, right next to Indiana’s latest rebranded “draft”. I have studied the topic extensively, and lived through the horror of it’s implementation on my kids. From fuzzy math to developmentally inappropriate standards… all the way to the “informational text”, “close reads” and loss of literature debocles… I am WITH you. Here’s the thing: I lean left. Especially on social issues. Yep, even on the Affordable Care Act. I hope to convey to our politicians that this issue fully crosses the aisle. Conservative or Liberal, wealthy or struggling, black, white, Asian or Hispanic, urban or rural…we all want the same thing for our children. Just after health and love, every parent in the state of Indiana wants and needs a world-class education for their children. Those who show leadership will get re-elected (or reappointed), those who fail our kids will not. We will not go quietly into the night and we will make sure of it. When our kids’ futures are depending on it, there isn’t much that would stand in our way. The decision makers need to hear that fact. You know how a mother can literally lift a car off her child to save them? Yep – it’s like that.

    • Erin Tuttle says:

      Thanks for your comment. The Anti-Common Core motto should be, “Left, Right, Unite.” The people fighting Common Core cross the political spectrum,includng people from the left like Anthony Cody, Diane Ravitch etc. I like to say there is so much to hate about the Common Core, everyone can find something to hate about it.

      The post is meant to provide an analogy to see how ridiculous the rebrand is, but it does come across a little right leaning. The question wasn’t do you buy the idea of universal healthcare, it was would you buy insurance through Obamacare in its current form if it was rebranded. I certainly don’t want anyone to feel association with the anti-Common Core “movement” implies an approval of any other ideological stance, nor is it exclusive to the right.

      I’m glad you are engaged on the issue and enjoy reading your responses. You did a great job at the public hearings!

      • Debra Klinger says:

        I agree and in my haste I realize my comment may have come across as thought I thought poorly of your post. I realized the healthcare analogy as just that and thought it was a good one. I have extremely high respect for all your work on this issue and though this site may be written from a more conservative viewpoint than my own, I don’t find any of your communications to be overtly biased. I was just trying to convey what you’ve phrased so well… Left, Right, Unite!

  2. Jamie says:

    Erin, thanks for clearing it up. I, too, lean to the left and am dead set against Common Core and any standardized / high-stakes testing in the schools. I believe in local control of community schools, and that education is not a race to anywhere. My children’s education isn’t for sale to the highest bidding profiteer. Yes, I would buy Obamacare in it’s current form if it was rebranded, but I get what your message is. A rose by any other name is still a rose; a stinkweed by any other name is still a stinkweed.

  3. Jeannie says:

    Way back in the 80s when OBE was first being piloted, our superintendent said they would be willing to change the name if that would help us to accept it. They soon learned that they couldn’t ask permission to change the name; they needed to change it without anyone being smart enough to see through the magical name change.
    For all those who love local control – don’t overlook the fact that choice/charter schools are public money – spent by private entities – with no school boards. Some call it public/private partnerships. Some call it taxation without representation. Some call it the end of public education. And, some call it fascism. Then end result will be that every school of any sort that takes the public money will be controlled by the federal government.

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