(CBS News) – Common Core federal education standards are riling the conservative base, and as the 2016 Republican presidential field takes shape, the standards — seen by right wing activists as a federal overreach and a threat to parental rights — are poised to play a big role in the GOP nominating process.
That’s doubly true in Iowa, where the kinds of Republican voters most vehemently opposed to Common Core — evangelical Christians, home-schooling advocates, states-rights conservatives — exert considerable influence over the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential caucus.
“Voters are very closely viewing it as a litmus test,” Tamara Scott, a policy adviser and lobbyist with the FAMiLY LEADER, an Iowa-based social conservatives’ group, told CBS News. “These are our children, and when you take parents out of the picture, which is what Common Core will do, most people find that offensive.”
John Brabender, a top adviser to former Pennsylvania Senator (and 2012 Iowa GOP caucus winner) Rick Santorum, told CBS News Common Core was among the first questions asked at every recent town hall meeting Santorum held in Iowa.