blueprint for ccssi supporters

 

We are truly living in Nixonian times.  The above excerpt is from a June 1971 White House memo entitled Dealing with our Political Enemies.  You better be careful what you say and what you write about Common Core in 2014 if you don’t agree with the process or product.  You might just end up on an Enemies List reminiscent of Nixon’s.  From List of White House ‘Enemies’ and Memo Submitted by Den to the Ervin Committee:

(click on graphic to enlarge)

enemies list

There are various interpretations of the saying: “those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.”    The CCSSI supporters must not have studied the Nixon tactics that ultimately ended his presidency.  CCSS educational groups and bureaucrats are using the same tactics to push Common Core against taxpayers who don’t want this initiative which circumvented the political process.  Many of the CCSS supporters are no better than Nixon operatives smearing their opponents.  Those opposing the CCSSI have been labeled as angry white suburban moms, tin foil hat wearers, racists, misinformed and the latest adjective is quite vulgar.  CCSSI supporters have labeled a teacher who publicly opposed them as a f***tard.    These “professionals” calling a teacher a vile name and blackballing the teacher from committees are the administrators and educational reformers now directing students’ educational development and delivery.  This educational reform includes “character education” being pushed in the schools today.  If this is indicative of the character of educational professionals, it is time to pull your child out of public school.

Jay P. Greene hit the nail on the head in his latest post about the ugliness surrounding a very non-transparent plan of education crafted by the elites for the “common” student.  From Common Core Political Naivete and the Enemies List:

The other unintended side-effect of Common Core crumbling is that it is producing abusive efforts by its supporters to rescue it.  The whole enterprise depended on putting it into place quickly so that anyone who opposed the fait accompli could be dismissed as a kook or extremist.  The standards were adopted rapidly, but implementation of the high stakes tests has taken long enough for strong opposition to materialize.  Common Core may have captured Nijmegen, but the Arnhem of high stakes testing has proved a bridge too far.

This has not stopped the attempt to characterize opponents as kooks and extremists.  To be fair, some opponents are kooks and extremists, but many are not and Common Core supporters have had a bad habit of avoiding substantive debate by trying to dismiss their opponents as crazy.  There is something vaguely authoritarian about trying to centralize all education standards and testing, so not surprisingly Common Core supporters have also resorted to authoritarian tactics.  Taking a page from Tricky Dick, they have begun to use the power of the government to identify and punish opponents.

No, I’m not just talking about the threat that NCLB waivers and RTTP money would be more available to those who played ball with Common Core.  I’m talking about going after individuals who dissent.  Check out this story about  Brad McQueen, a teacher in Arizona, who published an op-ed against Common Core.

The state’s Associate Superintendent, Kathy Hrabluk, alerted her subordinates to this teacher’s dissent and asked them to “check your list of teacher teams (from which teachers are selected to work on tests at the Dept of Education)” so that he would not be involved in future teacher workgroups on state tests and other matters.  McQueen had been on those workgroups for the previous five years for which he received extra compensation.  No more.  As the Deputy Associate Superintendent for Assessments, Irene Hunting, replied to her boss, “We have made a note in his record.”  Another state official replied, “This was such a surprise for Arizona as Brad has been on many committees…  Let’s make sure he is not going to Denver later this month [to work on the new tests]. Please remove Brad McQueen from the list.”

Another Arizona education official, displaying all of the political sophistication of the Common Core movement, then replied on her government email, saying: “What a f*cktard.”

State education officials, doing their best to be the Common Core equivalent of the White House Plumbers, then proceeded to work on identifying one of McQueen’s fellow teachers to lend his or her name to a rebuttal op-ed that they would ghost write.  The bureaucrat in charge of PARCC for Arizona also called McQueen in his classroom to challenge him on why he opposed her test and quiz him about whether he was teaching the required standards.  McQueen feared they were fishing for grounds to terminate him and got off the call feeling like he has been threatened by a senior state official.

It’s an ugly story.  But this is what happens when you flirt with authoritarian reforms of education.  You start acting like an authoritarian.

And you wonder why more teachers and parents aren’t raising more ruckus about what teachers are teaching and students are learning?  They know that there indeed is an enemies list for those who dare to speak up.  I’ve been on one myself.  You know it’s happening.  Try to speak up and ask questions in a Delphi-style district meeting about school curriculum.  See what happens.  Teachers will suffer professional consequences and students may possibly suffer consequences at school because of their parents’ actions against Common Core.

Would someone tell me again why such a great educational reform is accompanied by bullying techniques supposedly eschewed by the bullies who are using them?  That is a rhetorical question.  Greene has already answered it: this is what happens when you flirt with authoritarian reforms of education.  You start acting like an authoritarian. 

Welcome to the Richard Nixon educational school reform blueprint.  Ask questions?  Get put on an enemies list.

 

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