November 19, 2013

Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Arne Duncan Has Got To Go!

Did he really say this?

Education Secretary Arne Duncan faced heated criticism Monday for reportedly dismissing foes of so-called Common Core standards as "white suburban moms" who are worried their schools or children don't measure up to the new benchmarks.

Duncan made the comments on Friday in Richmond, Va., discussing academic standards which have become highly controversial at the state level.

"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 said, according to an account from Politico. "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."

At first I was troubled by the comment, but thought folks (like my congressman) who were calling for Duncan to resign or be fired might be over-reacting. After all, the resistance to Common Core is coming from suburban areas and is especially strong among white conservative voters who dislike what amounts to the nationalization of educational standards.

But then I sat back and thought about it a bit longer and realized that what Duncan had done was make yet another Obama Administration racial attack on those opposed to one of the President’s policies – and one that not only attacked the opponents, but also their children. Imagine if a Republican official had stated that those who insisted that the federal government look at disparities in discipline rates between black and white students as “black ghetto mommas whose children are little thugs” – the outrage would be such that such a hypothetical individual would be branded a racist, repudiated by all sides, and driven from public life. Shouldn’t the same standard apply to Duncan – who, after all, has a history of condoning child abuse committed against minority students by teachers during his tenure as superintendent of Chicago Public Schools?

By the way, I haven't come down either way on Common Core, so I'm not one of those who is looking for an excuse to kill it and who is therefore seizing on the Duncan comments to wound it.

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