I vehemently oppose the adoption and continued imposition of the Common Core machine on our state by two non-educators, Gov. Jan Brewer and Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal.
My anti-Common Core position is well-informed and is based on my 10 years as a public school teacher, my 5 years working on every aspect of our state’s standardized test (the AIMS test), and my experience as a Common Core insider working on the Common Core/PARCC test on behalf of our state’s Department of Education over the past year.
According to the “chief educator” in our state, and my boss’, boss’, boss, Superintendent of Instruction John Huppenthal, that makes me a “barbarian at the gate.” That also makes the countless other teachers, parents, and concerned citizens of our state who disagree with Huppenthal and oppose the Common Core, “barbarians” as well.
Do we really want a superintendent of public instruction who speaks with such disdain toward parents and educators who disagree with him? Arizonans deserve better.
Jan Brewer, in exchange for $25 million back in 2010, agreed to let the Common Core beast through the gates by adopting the Common Core standards and installing NSA-like data suctioning systems in our state to suction all manner of personal data from our children to the Department of Education without parent notification or permission. John Huppenthal was elected soon afterward and has been enthusiastically advocating for the Common Core ever since. Arizonans deserve better.
We elected Huppenthal and Brewer to protect our children, but instead they let the Common Core beast and its data predators through the gate, and we are the barbarians? Arizonans deserve better.
In this very newspaper, only a few short months ago, I spoke on behalf of many teachers and parents when I penned a commentary opposing the Common Core in our state. Days later I received a call in my classroom, while teaching, from a highly placed official in Huppenthal’s Department of Education attempting to intimidate me into silence regarding my opposition to the Common Core.
I registered a complaint about this intimidation at a voters’ forum put on by Huppenthal here in Tucson. With a great show of sincerity, Huppenthal agreed that no one from his office should be attempting to intimidate me. He assured me that he didn’t know the official who I identified, but he agreed to look into the matter and “make it right.”
I also followed up our conversation with an email. That was almost two and half months ago and I have not heard from Huppenthal since. Arizonans deserve better.
I have been to two forums and listened to Huppenthal speak using the same tired generalities and talking points where he rarely demonstrated even a superficial understanding of education policies in general and of the Common Core in particular. Yet he castigates those of us who oppose the Common Core from a position of knowledge and experience as barbarians? Arizonans deserve better.
I have also been to two forums and have listened to Diane Douglas, who is running to be the Republican candidate for the office of Arizona superintendent of public instruction, in opposition to Huppenthal. Douglas spoke with a breadth and depth about Arizona’s education policies as only someone who has been involved in education for years could. She spoke with great specificity about the detrimental effect that the Common Core machine is having on our children and the usurping of Arizonan parents’ role as their children’s chief educators and protectors.
The contrast could not be greater between the two candidates for superintendent of public instruction. One non-educator candidate believes we are the “barbarians at the gate,” while the other candidate, speaking with authority grounded in knowledge and experience, believes that parents are their children’s chief educators and protectors. Arizonans deserve better, and now we have a choice.
— Brad McQueen is a public school teacher in Tucson and the author of “The Cult of Common Core: Obama’s Final Solution for your Child’s Mind and Our Country’s Exceptionalism”