barbarians at the gate

Definition of Barbarians at the Gate: deal makers and publicity flaks….industrial powerhouse…savage fight for the control of RJT Nabisco, the largest takeover in Wall Street History.

THAT’S how Arizona Superintendent Huppenthal describes those who oppose Common Core State Standards. In this close reading in the passage above, detail how “barbarians at the gate” is an appropriate description (or not) of those against the Common Core State Standards Initiative.  Do Anti-Common Coreites:

  • make countless deals with private education reformers and legislators for financial windfall
  • have public relation companies chomping at the bit to represent their efforts
  • have Bill Gates Foundation funding to deliver their message
  • have the power in the educational industry
  • savagely fight for the control of public schools so that public education is controlled by private organizations

From Huppenthal: Must stop anti-Common Core “barbarians at the gate”

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal today compared Common Core opponents to “barbarians at the gate’’ and vowed to fight them to preserve the educational standards.

Huppenthal said Arizona cannot allow a repeat in Arizona of what happened in Indiana, which pulled out of the association of 45 states that adopted the standards. The U.S. Department of Education has warned the state it is at risk of losing waivers from No Child Left Behind, which effectively means fewer federal dollars.

“I have put my career on the line to stave off the barbarians. I very likely could lose this election,” Huppenthal said. “I’m okay with that because I felt I did the right thing for this education system.”

Put “barbarians at the gate” in the column of adjectives the pro-reform crowd uses to describe those who disagree with it:
  • The misinformed
  • Suburban white moms who realize their kids aren’t as smart as they once thought
  • Tea party fanatics
  • Teachers who don’t want accountability
  • Opposed to progress

What actually IS the definition of “barbarian”?



Using your close reading skills and critical thinking once again, explain if you think Huppenthal views the “barbarians at the gate” as inferior or as noble savages. Does he believe that those who disagree with a national educational policy are brutal and cruel or are they noble for their beliefs?

Here’s my answer: based on his comments (remember the close reading exercise), it is a safe deduction he believes they are “inferior, brutal, cruel warlike, insensitive”.  He calls people “barbarians at the gate” who think the state should be able to set its own educational development/delivery.  If he labels taxpayers, parents and teachers (who are compelled to pay for this system) who don’t think as he does, think of how he must view students who might disagree with some of the curriculum they are being taught.  He seems to have no tolerance for those who have a differing opinion.

Hint to Arizonians: vote him out.  Those who resort to ad hominem attacks are the real barbarians.


ad hominem

If you are offended by these attacks, vote Diane Douglas for Superintendent.  She hates Common Core.


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