The far left Southern Poverty Law Center has issued a report on opponents of Common Core standards in public schools that characterizes them as “far right extremists” who are out to destroy the public school system in America.
Gee — who woulda thunk it?
Actually, some of this report borders on hysterically funny comedy. They take some of the off the wall statements made by some of the most obscure groups that no one has ever heard of and package it as mainstream conservative opposition to Common Core.
One of the major opponents of Common Core standards are a group of 130 Catholic scholars. Unfortunately for the SPLC, there doesn’t appear to be a far right wing extremist in the bunch:
As the uproar grows against the Obama administration-pushed Common Core nationalized education standards, a coalition of more than 130 prominent Catholic scholars and professors outlined its firm opposition to the scheme and is now asking U.S. bishops to reverse the advance of the controversial reforms among American Catholic schools. Already, more than half of U.S. dioceses have replaced Catholic teaching traditions by adopting the dubious national standards, they said. However, the fight is far from over, and many of the nation’s top Catholic education experts are working hard to turn the tide and undo the damage being inflicted under Common Core.
Among other concerns highlighted in a letter to church leaders from 132 Catholic scholars, the educators warn that the scheme, which they said represents a “radical shift,” is really a “step backwards” in terms of education. Beyond the particulars of the widely criticized standards, however, the powerful document points out that there are even greater fears about Common Core as it relates to the church and its institutions: the philosophy and aims of the reforms, and how they will “undermine” Catholic education while “dramatically” diminishing children’s horizons.
“Because we believe that this moment in history again calls for the intercession of each bishop, we have been made bold to impose upon your time with our judgments of Common Core,” wrote the scholars, led by Notre Dame Law Professor Gerard Bradley and whose ranks include professors and leaders at many of America’s most prestigious Catholic universities. “In fact, we are convinced that Common Core is so deeply flawed that it should not be adopted by Catholic schools which have yet to approve it, and that those schools which have already endorsed it should seek an orderly withdrawal now.”
But what’s truly laughable about the report is the idea that the Common Core opposition is actually a guise for an effort to bring down public education in the US.
“Across the United States, a fierce wave of resistance is engulfing the Common Core State Standards, threatening to derail this ambitious effort to lift student achievement and, more fundamentally, to undermine the very idea of public education,” the May 2014 report proclaims.
The report largely ignores the large number of critics on the American political left, including the Chicago Teachers Union, who deplore Common Core because it mandates evermore standardized testing. It also largely ignores the complaints of a multitude of critics on the right, who oppose a technocratic takeover of public education that wrests education decisions out of the hands of local school boards and parents.
Instead, the SPLC report insists, opposition to Common Core comes from “far-right extremists” who oppose Common Core out of fears it will “indoctrinate young children into ‘the homosexual lifestyle’” and “turn children into ‘green serfs’ who will serve a totalitarian ‘New World Order.’”
“The disinformation campaign is being driven by the likes of Fox News, the John Birch Society, Tea Party factions, and the Christian Right,” the report declares. The SPLC also mentions “the Koch brothers,” of course.
The conspiracy theorists behind the SPLC report theorize that “the radical right” hopes to use opposition to Common Core as a proxy in a broader fight to terminate all public education for some 50 million schoolchildren in the United States.
Wow. I suppose the bigger the lie, the easier it is to believe but that’s a doozy. I have read a lot of criticism of Common Core over the last few years and I have yet to hear any mainstream, responsible individual or group call for the abolition of US public schools. That’s as outrageous a smear of ordinary Americans — most of whom send their kids to public schools — that you can make.
But, of course, the SPLC isn’t interested in the facts. They’re interested in cash. Fundraising off “far right extremists” is what they do. Don’t be surprised if they start naming some of the groups mentioned in the report as “hate groups” for opposing Common Core.