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Duncan: Dumb to the 'Core'

| Sunday, Nov. 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Just when you thought the Obama administration couldn't antagonize America any further, along comes Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

He didn't just attack “white suburban moms” and children over their criticism of the Common Core “standards” program. The feds' top educrat also managed to insult every one of the nation's minority families and educators who oppose Fed Ed's threat to academic excellence, local control and student privacy.

On Friday, while defending the beleaguered Common Core program in a meeting with school superintendents, Duncan unleashed a brazen race- and class-warfare attack on grassroots foes. As The Washington Post reported, Duncan sneered that he found it “fascinating” that the revolt came from “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn't as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were.”

As a brown-skinned suburban mom opposed to Common Core, I can tell you I've personally met moms and dads of all races, ethnicities and backgrounds who have sacrificed to get their kids into the best schools possible. They are outraged that dumbed-down, untested federal “standards” pose an existential threat to their excellent education provisions — be they public, private, religious or home schooling.

Duncan's derision exposes the very control-freak impulses that drive Common Core. He condescendingly implies that the only reason “white suburban moms” object to Common Core is that their children are too dumb to score well on tests — which, by firsthand accounts of educators from urban New York City schools to rural Kentucky schools to every corner of the country, are a complete and utter mess.

Thousands of moms and dads immediately took to social media to speak truth to bigoted Fed Ed power. The nonpartisan Mothers Against Duncan (MAD) group on Facebook declared: “Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has insulted the Moms of America and our children! This MAD group is intended to be a gathering place where America's Moms can show him that he picked the WRONG group to mess with!”

Michigan home-school mom Karen Braun, who signed her letter to Duncan “Your boss,” ripped the tone-deaf bureaucrat: “Secretary Duncan, you and the feds may control the purse strings, but WE (moms of every color and location) control our ‘brilliant' children's shoestrings. We have the final authority, and we're saying no to your ‘higher standard' and your high stakes tests ... YOU work for US! Get that right, and you and the mothers of America will get along a whole lot better.”

Duncan now says his dog-whistle tirade was clumsily worded. But he's used the same talking points before. What's crystal clear is that Duncan and his top-down dictators presume that only technocratic elites in Washington can determine what quality standards and curricula look like.

The relentless Beltway attacks on Common Core critics also give lie to the oft-repeated claim that the top-down initiative was “state-led” and grassroots. It should not go unnoticed that the most vocal and defensive advocates of this beleaguered boondoggle are not local teachers or parents, but pale-faced Beltway bureaucrats and their corporate allies.

Michelle Malkin is the author of “Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies” (Regnery 2009).

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