Those of us engaged in political debate know the term ‘new tone’. We’re used to seeing the hyperbolic, vitriol packed statements from legislators, talking heads and the like. Seeing people called racists, bigots, terrorists and worse have increasingly filled the airwaves and have been pounded out into articles and blogs all over the internet. Sadly, this is par for the course when it comes to political debate. I’ve been subjected to various incarnations of new tone in my time and have come to dub such attempts as ‘shutuppery‘ — as that is really a truer connotation of what these tactics are about; getting the opposing opinion to shut up.
In a rather unsettling series of events, we’re now seeing it displayed in discussions and forums on education. When forced off their talking points and scripts, officials are getting ugly. Specifically, those dealing with Common Core. Most upsetting was the recent statements from Obama’s Education Secretary, Arne Duncan. Duncan took aim at mom’s recently. Yep, moms. Not just any mom’s, but “white suburban moms”. War on women anyone? Heck, War on Moms? Duncan has performed an apoloattack, saying his comments were “clumsily phrased“. Yeah, right…whatever. Here’s what the Washington Post reported:
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a group of state schools superintendents Friday that he found it “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards has come from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.” – Washington Post
Just consider for a moment that the top education official in our country has just gone after parents – moms in particular – in a rather rude and bigoted manner. Not really confidence inspiring and, in fact, it’s a rather horrifying attempt at bullying on a national level.Dan Savage, call your office!
Here is the full quote as posted by the Daily Caller:
“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan told education officials at a conference in Richmond, Va.
Yeah, it’s fascinating how parents across the country are pushing back to the stealth adopted, untested, unproven, age inappropriate, unrigorous, poorly planned and poorly implemented, costly educational federal overreach of Common Core. Many of us have figured it out, others are figuring it on a daily basis. Revolt is going on in every single state that has adopted it. Parents might be more brilliant than you think, Arne and I am sure that’s pretty scary for you. To borrow a sentiment from Instapundit: He’s a putz. He should go. YEP.
Michelle Malkin jumped right on the Washington Post story’s report with two feet and pushed back in her customary, straight-forward style:
The preposterousness of Duncan’s tirade is outweighed only by its arrogance and falsehood.
As a brown-skinned suburban mom opposed to Common Core, I can tell you I’ve personally met moms and dads of ALL races, of ALL backgrounds, and from ALL parts of the country, who have sacrificed to get their kids into the best schools possible. They are outraged that dumbed-down, untested federal “standards” pose an existential threat to their excellent educational arrangements — be they public, private, religious, or homeschooling.
Duncan’s derision betrays the very control-freak impulses that drive Common Core. He presumes that only technocratic elites in Washington can determine what quality standards and curricula look like. He pretends that minority parents and students in inner-city charter and magnet schools with locally-crafted, rigorous classical education missions simply don’t exist. A textbook liberal racist, Duncan whitewashes all minority parents and educators who oppose Common Core out of the debate. And he condescendingly implies that the only reason “white suburban moms” object to Common Core is that their children are too dumb to score well on tests that are…a complete and utter mess.
Read the Whole Thing.
Per usual, Malkin hits the nail on the head. You cannot paint this movement with a single brush stroke. Those speaking out come from all walks of life, religion and socioeconomic status. They also aren’t all moms – as Ethan Young can clearly attest to. Pretty sure Nick Hladick can back that up as well. Trying to Alkinsky-ize Common Core opponents isn’t going to work. These are our kids. In a nutshell: We’re not shutting up.
Some related stories for your shutuppery viewing pleasure:
Robert Small in Maryland: Forcibly removed, arrested and then all charges dropped after he dared question officials at an open meeting in Baltimore. This particular incident went viral as it was captured on video:
Lt. Governor Dan Forest of North Carolina sent a 20 page letter of questions on Common Core to the state school superintendent, Dr. June Atkinson. The response he received was less than helpful if not down right snarky, claiming she’d need 10,000 pieces of paper to answer him. The Lt. Governor did finally receive a reply, and it was incredible. Dr. June Atkinson had sent over dozens of boxes containing thumb drives, CD’s and over 40,00 documents. That means each answer to his original list of questions took 597 pages. Watch the video the Lt. Governor posted about it:
Parent Natalie Adams of Colorado was given a no trespass order for asking questions about data collection of the Common Core by inBloom.
A parent in North Carolina was told by their child’s principal they were causing ‘unrest’ by attempting to discuss Common Core with other parents.
Parents in NY were treated to Education Commissioner John King canceling forums when dissent and rejection of the pre-packaged presentation at the Poughkeepsie event was overwhelming. King has since reinstituted the forums, however you now need a ticket to enter and the events have ‘fixed’ formats. That didn’t stop parents from continuing to speak out in Albany, Port Chester and Whitesboro. Here is a clip from the forum at Ward Melville High school of an educator that went viral. In it she tells King he’s “awoken the mommies” and he’s in trouble:
In Florida, school board member Amy Kneessy called 911 over what she claimed intimidation by another board member. The Blaze reported the incident:
Brevard County School Board member Amy Kneessy says she called 911 after school board candidate Dean Paterakis refused to give up the microphone, intimidated her and hurled allegations at school officials. A short time after the 911 call, Paterakis claims a deputy forcibly removed, or trespassed, him from the Sept. 12 meeting.
In Wisconsin, Dr. Gary Thompson testified on the negative effects of Common Core testing on at-risk youth. His reward was not to be asked questions and engage in debate but to be asked who paid for his testimony and smears of ‘extremism’. Dr. Thompson was undeterred and shot back, “Let me get straight to the point: On behalf of every African-American, Latino, Autistic, gifted, depressed, anxious and learning-disabled child in the state of Wisconsin, I demand your immediate resignation from public office.”