Add the Louisiana Senate Race to the list of campaigns where the Common Core State Standards are rocketing to the forefront ahead of the mid-term elections.
Democratic incumbent Sen. Mary Landrieu and her two Republican challengers, Rep. Bill Cassidy and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, are squaring off on the controversial standards, according to a story by Mike Hasten that graced the cover of Monday’s Shreveport Times.
In an interview with Hasten, Landrieu defended the common core, emphasizing that the standards are a local and state effort, and not part of a federal initiative. She also slammed Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal for his effort to repeal the standards, and noted that he was supportive of the common core before he wasn’t.
Meanwhile, both Cassidy and Maness came down on the other side of the argument, popular among Republicans these days: Cassidy insisted that that the Obama administration forced states to adopt the common-core standards in exchange for waivers from the No Child Left Behind law and competitive grant dollars, while Maness explained that the standards are troublesome for students with special needs, like his son.
The debate over the common core already lit up the Senate campaign in Georgia, while other education issues over funding, teacher evaluation and pay, and higher education headlined races in North Carolina and Iowa.
With just over a month left before the Nov. 4 elections, education-focused political action committees are pouring millions of dollars into Senate campaigns. The outcomes of a few very close races will likely decide which party controls that chamber.
In a few weeks, Education Week will release its exhaustive voters’ guide to the 2014 campaign, chock full of congressional seats up for grabs, gubernatorial contests, competitions for state chief, and ballot measures. Stay tuned!