"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Common Core Passion Now Spills into the Bedroom?

New talking point of Common Core proponents: Don't canoodle with right wingers.  Now that's some research/data to prop up CCSS claims.

Arne Duncan asked the business community to defend Common Core standards.  Education insiders are doubting the long term success of the implementation of the standards and the proponents must be getting nervous.  Education reform organizations are attacking taxpayers/organizations who want local control/autonomy in their schools and question a centralized form of education.  One of these organizations, Democrats for Education Reform, heeded Secretary Duncan's call.  Check out its Board of Directors.  The venture capital background of its directors is perfect for the public/private partnership envisioned by the federal government so this group would want to support the USDOEd's call to action.  Its collective future is tied up in Common Core being successful.

Democrats for Education Reform in Indiana used an extraordinarily unprofessional tactic designed to stop the growing support in Indiana to stop the implementation of the standards. DFER compared agreeing with "far right opponents" to "canoodling" and wondered if you did so, would you hate yourself in the morning?  (They must be talking about Diane Ravitch and Susan Ohanian.....)

From Are you going to hate yourself in the morning?

Dear Fellow Democrats:

It’s growing late and some of us have spent the night canoodling with far-right opponents of the Common Core State Standards. If that sounds like you, it’s time you ask yourself this question: “Am I going to hate myself for this in the morning?"

We can almost guarantee the answer will be yes.

Before you decide to get into bed with extremist right-wing critics of the Common Core, we highly recommend that you get to know them better.

Here’s the first in a series of would-be, right-wing bedfellows you’d be smart to stay away from. Let's start with State Sen. Scott Schneider of Indiana and Phyllis Schlafly, Founder and President of the Eagle Forum. Click their names to find out more.

- Larry, DFER IN State Director

Larry is Larry Grau.  Grau doesn't offer any facts/research on why Schneider or Schlafly might be wrong on their beliefs and agenda, he just uses "will you still love me tomorrow" argument to shame citizens who might agree with the CCSS opponents.  How could any "right wing whacko" ever have any ideas worth supporting?  This is akin to the "mean girls" tactics of freezing out people and not allowing any serious discussion of what/how people believe.  If Grau dismisses people outright without hearing/studying what they have to say, then he doesn't have to defend his organization's position on CCSS and answer increasing concerns about its adoption and implementation from the taxpayers who have to pay for it.

Jay P. Greene had a brilliant response to Grau's article.  He furthers Grau's canoodling reference in If I Woke Up With Larry Grau, I'd Really Hate Myself: 

Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) supports Common Core.  I don’t for reasons I’ve explained on numerous occasions in the past, but most recently here.  Reasonable people can disagree, so I am not particularly perturbed by DFER’s position.  It’s fine.

What’s not fine is how DFER Indiana director, Larry Grau, tries to support Common Core in a blog post that was mass e-mailed today. It’s provocatively titled, “Are you going to hate yourself in the morning?”  He answers saying that if you “have spent the night canoodling with far-right opponents of the Common Core State Standards… we can almost guarantee the answer will be yes.”

His argument, such as it is, in support of Common Core standards is that a number of Common Core opponents are the kinds of people you wouldn’t want to wake up next to: “Before you decide to get into bed with extremist right-wing critics of the Common Core, we highly recommend that you get to know them better.”  He then goes on to profile State Senator Scott Schneider and Eagle Forum founder, Phyllis Schlafly, to show that they oppose abortion and other policies that DFER folks might like.  In sum, Larry Grau’s case for Common Core is that its opponents are people with whom you may strongly disagree on other matters.

By Grau’s brilliant reasoning, of course, you should also oppose charter schools, which DFER strongly supports.  As it turns out, Sen Scott Schneider was given the Charter School Warrior of the Year Award in 2012 by School Choice Indiana.  So if you should recoil at the thought of agreeing with Sen. Schneider, you should also oppose DFER on charters.

Unfortunately, this type of non-substantive, ad hominem argument is becoming the norm in education policy discourse.  Even people with whom I generally agree, like DFER, think this is how you are supposed to make arguments in education policy.  It’s disgusting.

Well, if Grau wants to go down this path of ad hominem in defense of Common Core, he might consider how it could be used against Common Core.  After all, I’m hard pressed to think of a single pro-Common Core organization that has not received money from the Gates Foundation.  And at least if folks get in bed with Sen. Schneider to oppose Common Core they are doing it for love, not money.  So when Grau or other Common Core supporters wake up in the morning to find Gates money on the nightstand, they can at least take comfort in the thought that they are carrying on the traditions of a venerable profession — some say the oldest profession.


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