I guess Obama has set the precedent. The Education Secretary has apologized for his racial, gender disparagements in the service of Common Core. According to CNN,
Proving once again that any controversy will be intensified — if not illuminated — by random references to race, class, and gender, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has ignited a storm of protest by noting opposition from “white suburban moms” to one of his prized educational initiatives.
In a meeting with state education chiefs Friday, Duncan said some opposition to the Common Core State Standards — a controversial effort to standardize education — has come from parents displeased that test results have exposed local weaknesses. Duncan said he found it “fascinating” that opponents include “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — (discovered that) their child isn’t as bright as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
Duncan apologzied Monday afternoon for the remark.
Speaking to CNN, Duncan said: “My wording, my phrasing, was a little clumsy and I apologize for that.”
Sorry to be a stickler, but I don’t think that anyone cares about clumsy words. I think they found the content of his defense of Common Core to be egregiously false and self serving. Duncan alleged that the only reason mothers were upset—white ones who live in suburbia, to be specific—was due to their overestimation of their children’s abilities and their resentment of having that illusion dispelled.
But there is widespread opposition to Common Core and there are reasons behind it. Duncan’s words weren’t just “clumsy”—they were an evasion of the issues. Duncan really doesn’t care about the opposition, he wants them to shut up and allow him and his friends to categorize our children forever. If anyone doesn’t show proper compliance, then he feels free to denigrate them to make himself look better.
As far as I’m concerned, it is patently illegal for Duncan to be promoting a national standardized education curriculum. The whole reason Common Core claims to be “voluntary” to the states is because the Feds aren’t permitted (supposedly) from overriding the states and setting their curriculum. Yet Duncan and Obama have flouted this law, as USA Today reported,
The story begins in 2009, when the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers announced an effort to create voluntary national standards in math and reading. All but four states — Alaska, Nebraska, Texas and Virginia — quickly signed on to the standards, known as the Common Core, agreeing to help create then implement them by 2014. Their decision was helped partly by President Obama, who has tied “college and career-ready standards” to billions in federal grants. Last September, he all but required adoption of the Common Core or similar standards approved by state higher education officials if states want to receive federal waivers from the 2002 No Child Left Behind law. One of the four states, Virginia, applied for a waiver without adopting Common Core and is in negotiations with the administration over its plan.
Furthermore, contrary Duncan’s assertions, the Common Core tests ruled eighth graders as less than “proficient” when they couldn’t pass the equivalent of the SAT, a test given to high school Juniors at the earliest.
No mother of any color or area of residence thought her eighth grader was so brilliant. But the Common Core developers demanded it of them.