Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Support the Core "Hijacked" by Teachers and Parents

Yesterday was #SupportTheCore day on Twitter. A bunch of reformy folks got together and decided this was the day they would persuade all of social media that it was not, in fact, in their best interests either to oppose CCSS or to have Mulgrew punch them in the face. USA Today even wrote about it:

Organized by the Collaborative for Student Success and supported by other groups like Teach Plus and Educators 4 Excellence, teachers and other Common Core supporters took to Twitter Tuesday to launch an outreach strategy encouraging teachers, parents and other leaders to voice why they are behind the standards.

Wow. So this was an important event. But alas, their best efforts were stymied, as people on Twitter persisted in posting actual thoughts unapproved by Bill Gates, or as Mulgrew would put it, "flying saucers from Mars."

Wow. That's not reformy at all. And others not only disagreed, but also had a kind of an attitude about it.

This can't be making E4E and StudentsFirst jump with joy. After all, it was a great idea to get out there and tell the world what a great job Governor Cuomo and Mike Mulgrew were doing, Or was it?

"What’s been interesting and frankly disheartening is the responses from some of the Common Core opponents have been so vitriolic. I would almost describe it as bullying," says Michael Petrilli, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, which supports the standards. "Here you have these teachers speaking their mind and standing up for something and they’re getting all kinds of nasty reactions back."

On Twitter, Petrilli was even more direct:

It's funny to see this thought process at work. Anyone who contradicts reformy sentiment is a bully, and disagreeing with it amounts to a personal attack on teachers. The corporate reformers, who say we're all perverts, who want to take away our tenure, who want us fired based on junk science, are standing up for us somehow.  It was all the more ironic because most of the people I saw posting this stuff were teachers or parents.

The notion that those who ridiculed this effort were personally attacking teachers is a ridiculous strawman.When you haven't got an affirmative argument it's pretty simple to assert evil motives to your opponents. Thus there's all this crap about how people who oppose Campbell Brown are sexist. Those awful teachers must be opposing her because she's a woman, and it couldn't possibly have anything whatsoever to do with her stupid ideas.

Elsewhere on Twitter there are other astroturfers bemoaning the tone. It's OK if you disagree with us, but why do you have to be so darn nasty about it?

I didn't actually see people being nasty. What I saw was people who've been ignored for years expressing indignation. I suppose the astroturfers expect thank you cards from parents whose children are receiving tasks that are developmentally inappropriate. Or maybe they think teachers are grateful to be facing dismissal over student test score related junk science. Or perhaps they expect to hear, "Thank you sir, may I have another."

But that's not the reaction to Common Core I hear every day from parents, especially parents of young children. Astroturfers, like union leaders, are not at all accustomed to listening to us. But those of us who have to live with this nonsense see it for what it is. And while they have the money, we overwhelm them in not only numbers, but also in truth. Because we, in fact, do the critical thinking they're always blabbering about, and glory be, they don't like it at all!

Because we, in fact, are the grassroots. We are the people, the teachers, the parents, and the students. We have thought this through, and we know what nonsense it is. We want what's best for the millions of kids who attend public schools and we will fight for it. We know that Common Core was implemented precisely as planned.  We're glad that public perception found the tests at fault rather than our kids when John King saw fit to fail 70% of them last year.

We were supposed to panic and demand charter schools, as indicated by Arne Duncan's idiotic crack about how our children weren't as smart as we thought they were. But we didn't. We knew they were wrong then, and we know they are wrong now.

And Mike Mulgrew can spend today, tomorrow, and all eternity punching us in the face, but it won't save Common Core. He can shut us out of our union, but he can't control us, he can't control public school parents, and he can't control our children either.

We don't support the core, and that's why it will not prevail. Maybe Michelle Rhee's figured it out, and that's why she's gone into the fertilizer business, literally selling what she and StudentsFirst have been offering us all along.
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