atlantic pr schtick
Oh, here come those ***( (fill in your adjective here) citizens who won’t buy the Common Core schtick.  They are already assumed in the title to buy into ridiculous theories.  It should read “Why Middle Class Parents are up in arms about being marginalized, ignored and Alinskyed”


The Atlantic trotted out the tired labels and pinned them on parents/taxpayers against The Common Core State Standards Initiative in Suburbia and Its Common Core Conspiracy Theories:

  • White suburban moms
  • Republican tea partiers
  • Fearmongerers
  • Irrational
  • Hysterical
  • Confused

The memo must have gone out that the new phrase to use on those against the Intiative is confused rather than misinformed, although writer Laura McKenna implies parents are too stupid to understand the Common Core States Standards Initiative without someone giving them guidance and information she believes is valid:

But without guidance and information, parents are unable to sort through fact and fiction, rumors and politics.

Parents and taxpayers don’t really need the guidance and information coming from choice architects and organizations receiving funding from The Gates Foundation:

The Atlantic and Gates




Let’s dissect the misinformation/confusion and condescension from The Atlantic article and determine what is research based in this article vs opinion writing/PR material:


1. Parents are used to getting their way and are frustrated because they can’t get the school board to see things their way:

Suburban parents, who are known for being particularly involved in their kids’ education and traditionally enjoy a good deal of influence on district policymaking, are frustrated by not being able to convince their local school boards to alter the standards or testing requirements.

Note to McKenna: those parents elect their school board members to represent THEM, the people who pay taxes into their district, NOT the NGOs directing/developing the policies used in their schools.  If school boards are to make local decisions, it’s no wonder parents are frustrated with the lack of action on behalf of their board members.


2.   The testing doesn’t take much more time than previous testing, but she does not address the test prep necessary to prepare for the test because of the accountability measures determined from test results:

Fifth-grade students had 316 minutes to fill in the bubbles on an answer sheet. The PARCC’s fifth-grade test, meanwhile, will take 405 minutes. That might seem like a big difference for a 10-year-old, but the 89-minute difference doesn’t have much impact on the 180-day school year. That’s about a quarter of the time that my teenage boys like to spend playing Super Mario Brothers on any given Saturday.

Read the many comments from parents in The Atlantic about the lack of recess and how the schedule has been altered to accommodate the necessary time for test preparation.  But what do they know anyway?  Silly, silly parents.


3.  Her contention of parent hysteria being orchestrated by social media sounds as if it is out of the President’s play book calling citizen concern ‘sensationalist’:

Then social media steps in. There are those Facebook posts promoting articles with click-bait titles like “Parents Opting Kids Out of Common Core Face Threats From Schools,” or “Common Core Test Fail Kids In New York Again. Here’s How,” or “5 Reasons the Common Core Is Ruining Childhood.”  I can picture it in my head: articles with stock photos of children sitting miserably at a desk or ominous images of broken pencils. These articles go viral in certain communities—not least in suburbia, where parents like (and have the time) to stay on top of things and are often used to getting their way. Virtual networking makes it all too easy to be outraged these days.

Do we need that Internet control so our virtual networking won’t be available to fuel that ridiculous outrage of parents?  We have been designated as petulant and outraged because we are used to getting things our way and this is a stumbling block.  Is this an example of ‘white privilege’ being asserted by those white suburban moms?  Are we to be quiet because we shouldn’t have concerns about an Initiative that bypassed voters and state legislatures?

Question to McKenna: It  wouldn’t have anything to do that as citizens and taxpayers obligated to pay for this system we are marginalized and ignored, would it? Why does she dismiss the voices of concern if the concern doesn’t agree with hers?

4.  Not only are parents misinformed, the teachers are misinformed as well:

A recent nationwide poll conducted by researchers at Education Next found that teachers’ approval rate of the Common Core dropped from 76 percent in 2013 to only 46 percent in 2014. Paul Peterson, one of the Education Next researchers and the Director of Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance in the Graduate School of Education, confirmed that teachers are dissatisfied with the evaluation component. But, Peterson added, they’re also more informed than the general public is about the standards and accompanying tests.

Parents take their cues about education from their children’s teachers, and unfortunately that often means important facts are lost in translation once they exit the classroom. The bottom line is that if the teachers aren’t happy, the parents aren’t happy either.

So it’s not that the program is flawed and unteachable, it’s the teacher’s fault that ‘important facts are lost in translation’.

5.  It’s an ‘implementation’ problem!  That’s it!

Ultimately, the blurring between Common Core fact and fiction reveals a major flaw in the implementation of the program. No one group or individual took the lead in informing parents what the standards actually look like in the classroom and how it would affect their kids. Without political and education leaders providing valid, fact-based justifications for the new testing system and a clear, jargon-free explanation of new teaching strategies, suburban parents are easily influenced by others.

And just group or individual would that be who would take the lead informing parents?  Bill Gates?  He’d be the logical choice since he’s put the most money into funding the implementation, crafting and public relations campaign in favor of the standards.  But gee, that would be a bit awkward, wouldn’t it?  I mean, why would a billionaire tell parents what public education looks like now: owned, directed and developed by NGOs.  And  here you thought public education meant the public had a voice in its structure and governance since, after all, the public funds it.  Silly parents.

Look at what she wants (research and data) that just doesn’t exist:  Without political and education leaders providing valid, fact-based justifications for the new testing system….suburban parents are easily influenced by others.  The irony is rich.  There ARE no valid, fact-based justifications for the new testing systems other than companies need the data to track your child cradle to grave for the workforce.  It’s for the data mining and the standardization of human capital. Maybe THAT’S why those political and education leaders aren’t standing up and shouting We need to mine data for the workforce.  We need your human capital to fulfill the needs of business.  That’s the goal of education.  And here you thought it was ‘all for the kids’.   Silly parents.

6.  There is no understanding of the Constitution in this next statement:

Parents need to understand why a new universal set of standards is important.

Should be edited to read Parents need to understand why a new universal set of standards is illegal.

Send this writer to Civics class.  Or maybe not.  Students concentrate more these days on global governance vs American constitutional law.  Silly me.

7.  The REASON for Common Core inadvertently revealed:  It’s all for the collective and the common good.  Education isn’t for a personal goal or academic excellence.  Forget the individual student and his/her educational experience and what it does for him/her:

They need to know how their kids will benefit from this program—and if their kids won’t benefit, parents need to know why these test results serve the larger public good, that they can help shape policies that will help others. Parents need to know that their kids will continue to be graded based on their teachers’ assessments and that the tests really serve to provide data for administrators and political leaders who can set policies based on students’ overall performance.

So if this is not good for your student, sacrifice him/her on the altar of ‘the common good’.  Their failure will help others.  Don’t you dare refuse the test for your child even as the tests are unvalidated and don’t have much to do (in most states) with his/her individual grade or grade promotion.   You are doing a disservice to the State and the administrators and political leaders who can set policies based on students’ overall performance.  Those policies are actually set by the NGOs, test developers and the USDOEd and if your student falls into the guilt trip of not contributing to the collective, he/she is just furthering the illusion your school district has any autonomy and any vested interest/accountability for your child’s individual educational success.

8.  The writer forgets to acknowledge (I’m sure it was just an oversight) that the standards drive the assessments that drive the curriculum (Bill Gates says so himself):

Parents need to know how the Common Core differs from previous state curricula and how it will affect their kids on a daily basis. Simple facts—that the Common Core does not prescribe certain textbooks, for example—would go a long way in dispelling confusion.

Remember.  Confusion = misinformation

You can add your comments to The Atlantic article.  Most of the comments are not kind to the PR nonsense, name calling, and lack of research/data masquerading as journalism.  The Common Core proponents really believe you are all of the adjectives bullet pointed earlier.  And those condescending and rude labels she placed on parents and taxpayers?  She doesn’t allow rude comments on her own blog but she doesn’t seem to have a problem with using rude and false adjectives on those opposed to the standards:

rude comments

Maybe Ms. McKenna should start reflecting on how she portrays parents and taxpayers who have done their research on the creation, adoption and implementation of the standards, have valid legal concerns, and stop Alinskying them with Rules 5 and 11.  Ridicule and polarization is just plain rude.


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