Education Chief Apologizes for Insulting 'White Suburban Moms'

Image: Education Chief Apologizes for Insulting 'White Suburban Moms'

Tuesday, 19 Nov 2013 12:27 PM

By Melissa Clyne

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Education Secretary Arne Duncan has apologized for his remark about "white suburban moms" who oppose Common Core academic standards, but the firestorm it ignited is not diminishing.

During a meeting of state school superintendents last week, Duncan said he believes "white suburban moms" dislike the Common Core benchmarks because it shows "their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were."

Social media exploded. Bloggers took to their keyboards and a digital image of Duncan’s official federal portrait with the word "bigot" splayed across it hit cyberspace, the Washington Post reports.

And angry moms created a Facebook page called Moms Against Duncan (MAD). It already has more than 2,000 members.

"Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has insulted the Moms of America and our children!" the site states. "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! We are hoping to mobilize an ARMY OF MOMS across our nation to send a message to Secretary Duncan and to take back local control of our schools!"

In an attempt to quell the outrage, Duncan penned a post on the official blog of the U.S. Department of Education, blaming his words on "clumsy phrasing." He didn’t back down, however, from his strident push for more rigorous standards for American students.

"In talking about the importance of communicating about higher learning standards, I singled out one group of parents when my aim was to say that we need to communicate better to all groups – especially those that haven’t been well reached in this conversation," Duncan wrote. "I have not been shy in letting the country know the enormous value of the state-led movement to prepare young people for college and careers. My goal was to urge elected leaders and educators to be more vigorous in making that case, too, particularly when recent polling shows that a majority of Americans may not even know what these higher standards are."

Forty-five states and the District of Columbia adopted Common Core standards, an initiative intended to make sure there is uniformity in what students across the country are being taught. Standardized test results have fallen since its implementation, something Duncan attributes to more rigorous standards.

Bloomberg News reports that Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin this year halted or delayed Common Core implementation.

Related Stories:
Common Core: Obama Education Plan Sparks Nationwide Protest
Study: Obama's Education Policy Has Failed in Several Ways

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