Is McCrory (and the NC Chamber) relevant?

Nice NC Policywatch article looking at the dissension between the Republican-led NC legislature’s support for repealing Common Core and the clear opposition of the NC Business community and Governor McCrory:

Governor Pat McCrory has previously upheld North Carolina’s decision to adopt the Common Core State Standards.

Speaking to a group of business-minded folks at a state chamber of commerce meeting last summer, McCrory praised Common Core.

“It’s not the standards that are bad; it’s the execution which must be improved here in North Carolina.”

But as the legislature hovers close to joining a handful of other states that have repealed the academic standards, frequently referred to as “Common Core,” McCrory’s words, communicated through his education advisor, Eric Guckian, have gotten softer…

Now that the House language is the primary bill up for consideration in a conference committee, the [NC] Chamber doesn’t want anything to do with it all.

“In its latest version, this legislation is not only a step backward for our classrooms but it is a step backward for our manufacturing floors to the research labs and garages where the next big ideas are being born,” said a representative of the NC Chamber in a statement…

Whether or not McCrory will veto any legislation that is ultimately passed is still up in the air.

“I won’t commit [McCrory] to any decision on that,” said Guckian. “It’s not a certainty that this will be passed given that we have a short session and we are trying to work together on these issues.”

“I know the business community is watching it very closely,” added Guckian. “It’s a big issue for our state.”

Assuming the legislature sends McCrory a bill repealing Common Core, the big question is what will he do?  Either way, I think it ultimately tells us 1) a lot about McCrory; and 2) who’s really got the upper-hand in NC Republican politics.

Of course, if McCrory were a real leader, he’d already loudly be standing up to the anti-Common Core Tea party non-sense (in the way the NC Chamber has, at least rhetorically), but so far we’ve seen known of that.  Theoretically, a governor should be a leader, but to this point it very much seems that McCrory is simply the ultimate follower– stick that finger up and see which way the GOP wind is blowing.  Secondly, if this repeal is successful, it will be quite clear that it is the Tea Party totally in command of the policy agenda in this state, not the Chamber of Commerce.  Now, I’m not the biggest fan of the Chamber, but they certainly appreciate the importance of education and I’ll take them over the Tea Party any day.  We’ll see, but I suspect I’m not going to like the answers to either of these questions.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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