Duncan Joining Bush & Gaetz to Create the "Mother" of All Backlashes

Karen R. Effrem, MD

The utter failure of proponents of Common Core to make rational arguments about this imposed system of inferior, psychosocial workforce training standards, national tests and data collection has stimulated them to lash out to mock and marginalize anyone who opposes it.  U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has joined former Governor Jeb Bush and Senate President Don Gaetz in now bipartisan sneering derision of parental and citizen concerns.  Duncan created a firestorm on Friday (11/15) with his mocking, racist attack on mothers that oppose Common Core:

"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.  You've bet your house and where you live and everything on, 'My child's going to be prepared.' That can be a punch in the gut."

A new Facebook group, Moms Against Duncan (MAD), has almost 1600 members since then and the comments on Twitter have been overwhelmingly critical.  Conservative columnists and liberal moms have joined together in righteous anger against these thoughtless remarks.

Michelle Malkin wrote:
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. 

On the other end of the political spectrum, a very cogent response from a mother, Gretchen Moran Laskas, that lives in the Washington DC suburbs was posted on the Daily Kos website:

But the tighter we make the noose, the more children like Brennan, who do NOT have those advantages will fall through the cracks. I don't fight the Common Core because I think my child is brilliant, but because I'm tired of these one size fits all educational solutions. We've done that all through Brennan's educational life, and I'm just not willing to take the chance that we're going to do a better job through Katja's just because it's being proposed through a Democratic President rather than a Republican one. This goes beyond politics -- this is about my kids.

So yes, I'm opposed. Not because I don't understand it. Not because I think it will make my children look bad. But because I know that children already look bad -- and by the time they might get it together and look good the way Brennan could, it might be too late.

Because Brennan is just fine, thank you. The kid who would never speak clearly just finished his role in the fall play. The kid who wasn't college material is very much going to college. And the kid who was legally barred from taking honors classes just got a 4.1 GPA this quarter while taking four IB classes. Maybe Arne Duncan should have a talk with him.

Arne Duncan, Jeb Bush, and Don Gaetz need to realize that opposition to Common Core comes from all points on the racial, political, and philosophical spectra and includes moms, dads, grandparents, and activists.  Otherwise, they and their bosses will continue to face the "mother" of all backlashes.


Post a comment (* required field)

Name *
Email * (will not be published)
Comments *

Keep in Touch