A political party can be defined many ways, but it is essentially a group made up of people who believe in a particular philosophy. Those people attempt to elect to public office others of like mind – members of their party. The party itself is nothing more than an organizational structure for this group. In Oklahoma, there are two main “groups”, the Democrats and the Republicans. Both of these organizations have a statement of philosophy, known as a “Platform”.
A Platform addresses some of the issues facing the County, State, and Country. In Oklahoma, the Republican (or GOP) Platform for the State of Oklahoma addresses many things. Education is addressed in the second section, just below Family. Here is a direct quote, from Section II (Education), Subsection B (Curriculum), Number 10:
We oppose participation by Oklahoma in the Common Core State Standards because it transfers control of local schools, student data and curricula form the local school boards.
The Platform was created by the activists within the Republican Party, first at the Precinct level, then at the County Conventions, and finally the State Convention held earlier this year. In addition to the State Platform, the Republican National Committee has also addressed this issue. Here is some of that text:
"Resolved, the Republican National Committee, as stated in the 2012 Republican Party Platform, “do[es] not believe in a one size fits all approach to education and supports providing broad education choices to parents and children at the State and local level,”(Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods, p.35), which is best based on a free market approach to education for students to achieve individual excellence; and be it further
Resolved, the Republican National Committee recognizes the CCSS for what it is-- an inappropriate overreach to standardize and control the education of our children so they will conform to a preconceived “normal;” and be it further
Resolved, that the Republican National Committee rejects the collection of personal student data for any non-educational purpose without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student‟s parent, and that it rejects the sharing of such personal data, without the prior written consent of an adult student or a child student‟s parent, with any person or entity other than schools or education agencies within the state; and be it finally
Resolved, that the 2012 Republican Party Platform specifically states the need to repeal the numerous federal regulations which interfere with State and local control of public schools, (Renewing American Values to Build Healthy Families, Great Schools and Safe Neighborhoods, p. 36); and therefore, the Republican National Committee rejects this CCSS plan which creates and fits the country with a nationwide straitjacket on academic freedom and achievement."
Today, Governor Fallin issued an Executive Order in support of Common Core, placing her in direct opposition to the State Platform and the Republican National Committee on this issue. The divide within the Party over this issue is enormous, with people such as former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush on the same side as Governor Fallin. In opposition are a wide range of conservatives such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, talk radio host Glenn Beck, and many grassroots organizations both locally (ROPE in Oklahoma) and nationally. In some states, it has even been cited as cause for a primary challenge to a sitting Governor – such as South Dakota.
It remains to be seen if this will add to the momentum building for a primary challenge to Governor Fallin. Rumors have recently circulated that former State Senator Randy Brogdon is considering just such an effort. In 2010, Fallin won the GOP Primary 136,477 to 98,170. Considering the giant fundraising advantage ($2,765,635.66 for Fallin to Brogdon at $437,642.24 in that election), a well funded challenge would have a legitimate chance of making up the 38,307 voter gap. This action will certainly not do anything to quell the rising discontent from the activist base of the party.