What do the fiscal cliff and Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have in common?
For the answer consider this scenario: An arsonist sets a home on fire, and then risks his life fighting the blaze—but the house eventually succumbs to the flames. The media and the public praise the arsonist a hero, choosing to consider the heroic effort to fight the fire while ignoring that he caused the disaster.
This scenario is not far-fetched and captures exactly the “manufactured crisis” (Berliner & Biddle, 1996) in both the fiscal cliff discourse and CCSS advocacy.
America is trapped in a state of perpetual crisis, and that crisis mentality maintains the public gaze on the self-proclaimed heroic acts of corporate and political leaders without allowing time to consider that the conditions under which Americans live and learn are the result of the decisions of those in power.