The Next Civil Rights Battle

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham, III

Joe Cunningham is a conservative commentator, Front Page Editor at, contributor to The Hayride, and a teacher in south Louisiana. You can find him on Twitter at @JoePCunningham and on Facebook at

I’ve maintained for a while that education is going to be the next big fight we have. Currently, foreign policy is a very big deal on the American stage as both ISIS and Iran continue to threaten the United States, and we currently have an administration that wishes to sweep all the bad things under the rug. I had a tendency a few years back to be sympathetic toward the current administration in the way they handled things. I wasn’t pleased, but I understood where they were coming from. Now, though, I really can’t see any other logic behind Barack Obama’s foreign policy other than “Make the world more stable by removing the U.S. as a major contender.”

All that said, I don’t think foreign policy will remain as dominant as it is right now. And, contrary to what the Trump fans will say, immigration will not remain a major issue, either. Neither, sadly, will the Affordable Care Act, which is currently set to keep causing premiums to rise.

No, education will be the next great battle we face in our nation, and all policy eyes will turn toward the candidates and to Washington D.C. to try and get things changed. I’m sure by now you’ve all picked up on the idea that Congress is not going to do anything meaningful for the next year and a half. So, we must turn to the candidates for a clearer picture of what the fight could look like.

Of course, it goes without saying that one of the big fights within the education debate will be about Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The two extremes of that fight can be seen in Jeb Bush (pro-CCSS) and Ted Cruz (anti-CCSS). As a teacher, I have become accepting, though still not completely supportive, of the CCSS movement, and given Bush’s record on education – very much a pro-school choice candidate and big into the education reform scene. Cruz, while a beloved fighter in D.C., is woefully divisive on an issue that would be so much better served nuanced (get rid of the federal Department of Education, allow states to adopt Common Core with better and more local control, etc.”). It’s not just the CCSS that will be an issue, though. School choice is going to be big as more and more parents see public schools failing to meet their children’s needs and they look for alternatives.

Education is very likely going to be our next big civil rights debate, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. My money is on the side of smaller government, as it’s big government that’s had control for so long and is actively destroying the education system.