Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Common Core Authoritarians Bully, Threaten And Intimidate To Keep Common Core In Place

Common Core proponents seem to be very big on censorship and intimidation.

In NY State, there's a gag order on teachers who administer or grade Common Core tests - they are under threat of losing their jobs, having their teaching licenses revoked or being hit with criminal charges if they reveal test items or talk publicly about the tests.

In Louisiana, former Bloomberg NYCDOE henchman John White seems to have followed suit with threats and intimidation over the Core:

Gov. Bobby Jindal went on the offensive against state Education Superintendent John White Wednesday, accusing him of marginalizing teachers and implying Louisiana's top education officials may be silencing opposition from educators on the Common Core academic standards.

Jindal issued an executive order requiring local and state education officials to respect teachers' right to free speech and specifically their right to criticize Common Core. There was universal praise for the governor's action, but also some disagreement over whether there is a widespread problem with teachers being muzzled over the academic standards. 


Jindal issued the executive order as a reaction to an article in Alexandria's Town Talk, in which one anonymous teacher says she had been reprimanded for posting a negative comment about Common Core on Facebook. The governor's office said it had heard from other teachers who were also told to keep their Common Core complaints to themselves.

"We have received a lot of calls and letters from teachers who are opposed to Common Core, and we want to be sure that these teachers' rights are protected," said Shannon Bates, Jindal's deputy communications director. "If teachers are being quieted in one parish -- it can happen in others, and we want to make sure these teachers are able to be heard."

The Louisiana Federation of Teachers says they haven't had a lot of complaints from teachers about being muzzled over Common Core and Jindal is in a battle with White over the standards, so it's possible he's making hay over something that isn't a huge problem - yet.

But makes this much clear:

Louisiana teachers associations were grateful that Jindal reaffirmed free speech protections for educators. They said teachers are afraid to speak out against school policies, though that fear isn't exclusively related to Common Core.
Educators have felt mounting pressure for at least two years not to say anything about major teaching changes, since it has become easier for supervisors to fire them through a new state law Jindal supported. 
"They do feel as though their jobs might be in jeopardy. It's not just in Louisiana. It's something that is common all over the country for teachers," said Debbie Meaux, president of the Louisiana Association of Educators.

There's little doubt that these top-down standards, developed in secret and rammed through during the darkest days of the last recession, are under assault from students, parents, and teachers across the nation and proponents, unable to defend the largely indefensible standards, have taken to authoritarian measures to push back against criticism.

That's meant insulting critics as crazy people, saying some moms might not like the standards because they reveal their kids might not be as smart as the moms think they are, threatening to punch people in the face who criticize the standards, or intimidating teachers to keep quiet over poorly-designed CCSS tests by holding license revocations and criminal charges over their heads.

I can't imagine threats and intimidation are going to keep the standards in place for long - not with criticism and opposition to them mounting.

But the Common Core authoritarians certainly are going to try to bully, threaten and intimidate their way to Common Core nirvana.


  1. The antidote to free speech in my district is charges of insubordination.

    1. In mine it's a punch in the face from my union leader.