Arne Duncan, U.S. secretary of education, insulted critics of Common Core on Friday in what has become a hallmark of the Obama administration: arrogant dismissal of the concerns of ordinary Americans wary of sweeping changes being imposed from above.
"It's fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, 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, and that's pretty scary," he said.
On Monday he apologized, saying he used "clumsy phrasing." The executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, one of the organizations that helped create the Common Core standards, said Duncan's point was really that parents are seeing their children struggle under the higher standards and are upset to find that their children are not passing. They don't get it at all.
Parents are not upset that their kids are struggling. They are upset that their kids are being subjected to new standards and new tests that parents had no say in crafting and that might not be as rigorous as claimed. Yet again their children are being used as pawns in a grand social experiment. The administration might know this if its officials would ever listen.