The New York state ballot is expected to see a new political party listed in November: the Stop Common Core Party.
The candidate will be Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino, who established “Stop Common Core” hoping to tap into the frustrations of parents and educators over the controversial school standards.
Astorino, the Westchester County executive, is challenging Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who irked some of his supporters in the New York state teachers unions for his support of Common Core State Standards, which supporters say presents higher standards but opponents say amounts to a national curriculum.
New York state ballots generally contain multiple parties – or ballot lines – that can show clout by endorsing one of the two main party candidates, or being a spoiler by nominating their own candidate. Democrats in the state, for example, often pursue the endorsement of New York’s Liberal Party, while Republican candidates seek the endorsement of the Empire state’s Conservative Party. The more parties that endorse a candidate, the more times that candidate’s name appears on the ballot.
Astorino said he has enough signatures for a new “Stop Common Core” third party ballot line. After getting the endorsement of the Conservative Party, this means his name will appear on the ballot three times in November, according to the Journal News in White Plains, New York.
This ties the New York governor’s race firmly in the middle of a national education controversy over the K-12 math and English standards. Three states – Indiana, Oklahoma and South Carolina – voted to repeal the standards that were initially adopted by 44 states and the District of Columbia. Other states have pending legislation to repeal the standards, and still others are debating delaying the standards or changing the implementation.
The Obama administration backs the standards, which were developed by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
Astorino has called it “Cuomo’s Common Core.”
“Our children aren’t guinea pigs, Governor Cuomo, and we want them educated by teachers – not faceless bureaucrats in Washington,” he said in a video, according to the Journal News.
For his part, Cuomo has conceded problems with implementation of the standards, and appointed a task force to review the issue. Cuomo, once a strong proponent of the standards, even agreed with the legislature to delay using the test results to determine student performance and teacher evaluations.
Cuomo — who is also mentioned as a potential Democratic presidential candidate in 2016 — said during an anti-Common Core protest in February that he understood the concerns of parents.
“I’m sort of where the parent is, standing outside with the sign,” Cuomo told reporters Feb. 20 in Rochester. “And by the way, I would hold the same basic sign that the parent is holding. I think the way they have implemented Common Core as failed utterly. There is massive confusion, massive anxiety and massive chaos all through.”
Even being listed on the ballot three times, the GOP candidate still has a lot of catching up to do; a Wall Street Journal/NBC 4 New York/Marist poll this week showed Cuomo leading Astorino 59 percent to 24 percent among registered voters statewide.