AZ Dept of Education to anti-Common Core Teacher: “What a f*cktard”!

By Brad McQueen

Ever wonder why more public classroom teachers don’t speak out against the Common Core and their Superintendents of Instruction and Governors who support it?

Just In… ADE Agrees To Share Students’ Personally Identifiable Information

I am a Tucson teacher who wrote my first anti-Common Core op-ed this past February in the Arizona Daily Independent and it was subsequently reprinted by other online news sources. I followed up the publication of the op-ed with an interview on a local radio station.   This was the reaction of the Arizona Department of Education bureaucrats in emails recently obtained by the Arizona Daily Independent:


From: Hrabluk, Kathy (Associate Superintendent)
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2014 2:37 PM
Subject: AZCCRS (Common Core) criticism

Fyi regarding a teacher named Brad McQueen. He is on a roll criticizing AZCCRS (Common Core)… he also has an article in the Capitol Times (2-27-14) stating many misconceptions that has been floating around. Just thought you might want to check your list of teacher teams (from which teachers are selected to work on tests at the Dept of Education). He is one unhappy camper.


From: Hunting, Irene (Deputy Associate Superintendent Assessments)
Subject: RE: AZCCRS (Common Core) criticism

 Thank you.  We have made a note in his record.

 Irene Hunting

Irene Hunting, Deputy Associate Superintendent of Assessments, instantly “notes” my file to make sure I am never called again to work on tests at the AZ Department of Education.

I have worked on our state’s standardized test, the AIMS test, and other assessments for the last five years for several weeks over each summer break.  Not only do I enjoy the challenging work and I enjoy contributing toward creating our students’ tests, but the summer work has always supplemented my teacher salary.  But when you speak out against the cult of Common Core, they are punitive.

Sarah Gardner, AZ Director of PARCC Assessments, joins the conversation and also makes sure that I will never work on tests again at the AZ Department of Education or anywhere else for that matter.



From: Gardner, Sarah <
Sent: Monday, March 03, 2014 1:46 PM
To: Stephanie Snyder (PARCC,Inc.)
Subject: RE: question

Given that Brad McQueen gave a negative statement to the press about Common Core and assessment, you may want to remove him from the invitation list…This was such a surprise for Arizona as Brad has been on many committees, both for our state assessment as well as involved with Common Core and formative assessment based on CC (Common Core) for our state.

Let’s make sure he is not going to Denver later this month.  Please remove Brad McQueen from the list.

Sarah Gardner, MAEd-C/T

Director of PARCC and Innovative Assessments

ADE – Assessment Section

(602) 542-7856

Angela Escobar then sends the following email, on taxpayer-paid time, after discovering that I had gone public with my anti-Common Core views during a radio interview:



From:Escobar, Angela (AZ Dept of Education)
Sent: Friday, February 28, 2014 2:44 PM
Subject:Brad McQueen is on the radio

What a f*cktard.


“What a f*cktard.” This pretty much sums up the feelings of the bureaucrat tyrants at the Dept of Education.  How dare a teacher exercise his 1st Amendment right to express his views about Common Core.  Never mind that his opinions are based on 10 years of teaching, 5 years working on state standardized tests, and working on the Common Core/PARCC test over the last year.

It doesn’t end there, the angry bureaucrats aren’t done yet.  Leila Williams, yet another Associate Superintendent, talked to the people at Common Core/PARCC and they have suggested getting another teacher that has worked with me to write a counter op-ed.


From: Williams, Leila (Associate Superintendent)

Hi all today while at the PARCC meeting Jennifer Liewer (Communications Director Dept of Ed) sent an email about this. At the exact time PARCC pulled Sarah (Gardner) and I aside to see how they could help. One suggestion was to have another AZ teacher who had been involved write an editorial. Leila

LeilaWilliams, PhD

Associate Superintendent for

Assessment & Accountability

Other emails show several Dept of Education staff members involved in trying to locate a person who worked with me to “write” a counter op-ed to mine.

They even enlist Christie Silverstein from Expect More Arizona, a private pro-Common Core group which often employs AZ Dept of Education employees once they leave public service as a reward for their support of the Common Core’s implementation in our state.  Gov Jan Brewer’s former top education advisor and a former member of the AZ Board of Education currently nest there.

Christie Silverstein coordinated the effort to find another AZ teacher to write a counter op-ed to mine and eventually not only finds someone, but helps her write the op-ed, and coordinates with the AZ Capitol Times newspaper to place the op-ed in their next edition.  Any wonder people are so cynical about the MSM today?

Here’s Christie Silverstein’s email with phone number in case anyone wants to thank her for her effort in going after an Arizonan public school teacher expressing his personal opinion:


From: Christie Silverstein []
Sent: Wednesday, March 05, 2014 9:31 AM
To: Liewer, Jennifer; Morley, Stacey
Cc: Williams, Leila; Gardner, Sarah
Subject: AZ Cap Times – just submitted a guest commentary from (name deleted)

FYI – I have been working with (name deleted) to draft a guest commentary for this week’s Arizona Capitol Times. Wefinished it up last night and I sent it in this morning. I’ll give the editor a call a little later today to see if he’s able to fit it in the print edition.

Christie Silverstein, APR
Vice President of Public Engagement
D 602.648.6616
M 602.803.4130

They still were not done.  Sarah Gardner, AZ Director of PARCC,  called into my classroom.  In all of my 10 years of teaching I have not received a call from my superintendent, much less a high ranking official from the AZ Dept of Education.

Sarah Gardner started to grill be about my “problems” with the Common Core and proceeded to ask me if I was implementing the standards in my instruction.  I felt like a trap was being set in an attempt to get me terminated from my teaching position.  I eventually ended the call as my class was entering the room returning from recess.  Needless to say, I was quite shaken.

This is Sarah Gardner’s email reporting back to her boss that she called me:



From: Gardner, Sarah (AZ Director of PARCC)
To: Williams, Leila (Associate Superintendent)

 I did speak with Brad. I can fill you in on the conversation. I thought I already had.


In a strange bit of synchronicity, Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal was in Tucson a few days later holding a forum on Common Core.  I confronted Mr. Huppenthal about his office calling me in my classroom.

He agreed that no one should be trying to intimidate me and that he would make it right.  I followed up our conversation with an email.  Needless to say, I never heard from Huppenthal or the Dept of Education again about this matter.

Here’s the email I sent to Mr. Huppenthal as obtained from the Dept of Education by the AZ Daily Independent:



From: Brad McQueen
Sent: Sunday, March 09, 2014 9:05 PM
To: ADE Inbox
Subject: Mr. Huppenthal- Complaint re:Inappropriate phone call from ADE staff

Mr. Huppenthal:

Thank you for coming to Tucson today to talk with teachers about the Common Core. I wanted to follow up my complaint to you about the call from Director of PARCC, Sarah Gardner, on 3/3/14, with an email. Her call was in response to my Op Ed opposing the Common Core and the PARCC test and was published in the AZ Capitol Times on 2/27/14.

 I echo your sentiment that it was a call meant to intimidate me into silence. I felt intimidated receiving a call from the AZ Dept of Education in my classroom. Just to clarify, she called and left a voicemail on my classroom phone identifying herself and that she was from ADE and she asked me to call her back because she had some questions for me. I called the following day3/4/14. She acknowledged that her phone call was due to my Op Ed. She asked me some initial questions and then asked if I understood the standards and if I was implementing/teaching them in the classroom. That is when I ended the call. I am trusting that this will never happen again.

Thank you,

Brad McQueen

Tucson, AZ

My emailed complaint was followed by a flurry of additional emails between all the previously mentioned bureaucrats.  No emails of apology were sent to me. They were in the process of writing yet another article to try and discredit me, but the receipt of my complaint email caused them to rethink their strategy.  Here’s the email:



From: Morley, Stacey
To:Williams, Leila
Re: Mr. Huppenthal- Complaint re:Inappropriate phone call from ADE staff

… I spoke w/ Jennifer (Liewer, Director of Communications, Dept of Education) and she agrees with me that we should not have another article refuting his, but we should have the info since he does not seem to be going away.


You got that right Stacey, I am not going away.

In several other emails, Sarah Gardner claims that she never intimidated me.  She doesn’t get that just a phone call from a high level official from the Dept of Education about my op-ed and questioning me about my instruction is intimidation. Never mind the interrogator’s tone.

The other thing she doesn’t get is that our whole conversation took place on speaker phone.  Luckily, a co-worker entered my classroom at the beginning of the phone call and witnessed the entire thing.  This co-worker was in shock at Sarah Gardner’s monotone, interrogation-like manner and expressed her fear that Sarah was trying to entrap me in an effort to have me terminated.

I have to admit that I was quite intimidated for the rest of the day.  Then I got angry.  I decided that it would be just those bureaucrats’ style to try and silently remove me in the future. I also decided that it would be more difficult to remove me if I was screaming really loud against Common Core.  Besides, it was the right thing to do for the kids in my classroom and their parents.

I sat down and wrote “The Cult of Common Core” in three weeks to get down everything I knew about the Common Core and its evil intent for our children and our country’s exceptionalism.  Since then I’ve written over twenty articles, given three radio interviews, a television interview, and even travelled to the Ohio statehouse to speak at an anti-Common Core rally.

My experience shows the world of Common Core in action.  A world run by out of control bureaucrats who feel it is perfectly okay to hunt down anyone who expresses anti-Common Core views and attempt to discredit them.  There were countless other emails I did not include in this article, most of them written by very high level Dept of Education officials.

Perhaps if they spent that time and effort analyzing the damage that Common Core is causing to our children they would rethink their complicity in its implementation.  That’s between them and their consciences, where they exist.

Perhaps if these angry, jack-booted bureaucrats had a Superintendent of Public Instruction that didn’t encourage their atmosphere of deception and anonymous retribution, as was uncovered in Huppenthal’s recent anonymous postings, the Department of Education could return to its job of acting in the best interests of our kids here in Arizona.

Still wonder why no teachers speak out against Common Core?

Arizona deserves so much better.

bradBrad McQueen is a former Common Core insider and current public school teacher in Tucson, Arizona and is the author of the anti-Common Core book “The Cult of Common Core”. Connect with Brad at


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About Opinion 335 Articles
Under the leadership of Editor in Chief Huey Freeman, the Editorial Board of the Arizona Daily Independent offers readers an opportunity to comments on current events and the pressing issues of the day. Occasionally, the Board weighs-in on issues of concern for the residents of Arizona and the US.


  1. Great article. Parents need to know what kind of people are teaching their children. No wonder so many parents are removing their children from Public School. Are these educators trying to promote Communism?
    With these emails, it looks as though that is their agenda…..

  2. Anyone who watched Megyn Kelly’s interview with Bill Ayers can see just how far the libs/progs/socialists have already infiltrated the field of education. Bill, his wife & other Weatherman members have been teaching at prestigious universities to further brainwash “the children.” As Megyn said, when they realized they couldn’t destroy the US with their bombs, they moved into schools & government. Agenda 21 at its finest.

  3. Freedom of Speech is uncomfortable for those who want a “Group Think” domination over the ideas expressed by some members of the group. Those outlier voices focus attention on issues needing to be addressed. These particular teachers and administrators should have spent their time reviewing Brad’s specific concerns but instead chose to waste time trying to suppress and intimidate the individual who dared to express a contrary opinion.

  4. ” . . . .stating many misconceptions that has been floating around.”

    They be learning R kids good, huh?

  5. Language, people! Would you speak that way in the grocery store with children around? Do you not realize that children read this site? And I wish there were more asterisks in the article’s profanity.

    Why is it so hard to simply be mindful of manners and children?

    • The asterisks sure will fool those kids. Maybe we should write in Pig Latin. ucktardfa or hangman fu_ktard , those kids will never figure it out.

      Sometimes, reality is harsh.

  6. Huppenthal OUT! ASAP! This crap HAS to stop. “Fucktard?” Really? There are SO many in office that fit that description, but we’d be here all day if I listed them all.

  7. I would demand the termination of all involved in the intimidation, retaliation, and blacklisting from additional work.

    One has a Constitutional right to Free Speech and express ones opinion, without fear of retribution. The email prove the retaliation and efforts to intimidate and silence. I would demand financial compensation for the lost summer work and violation of rights. $50k should get their attention.

    Citizens of AZ can voice their opinion – by voting Huppenthal out of office- primary in August.

  8. Keep an eye open. Michele Reagan is a juge Common Core supporter and even sponsored a bill to bring sex education to kindergardeners. What out for Michele Reagan, now running for Secretary of State. This is a very important election and often Arizona Governors take office this way.

  9. The problem with common core isn’t that standards are a bad thing, it’s that the initiative itself is illegal. The federal government has no constitutional authority to regulate or manage education. The reason so many states have adopted common core isn’t for the value it brings but for the dollars it brings. Washington threatens to withhold federal subsidies from states that do not comply. They steal our money then they extort us with it. Surely, there’s a better way to achieve academic excellence.

  10. Angela Escobar – calling an AZ teacher a “FUCKING RETARD ” , for simply having an opinion on a Common Core that differs from hers. Of course Escobar used the hybrid ” fucktard” to be politically correct.

    How does Escobar refer to a Special Needs Students ? If a student bullied another by calling them a fucktard, they would be disciplined, how has Escobar been Disciplined by Huppenthal ?

    Yes, the same Huppenthal that called those with a differing opinion on CC Barbarians, and those on public assistance Lazy Pigs. Any wonder why the Dept. Of Education is dysfunctional.

    I’m sure Escobar will claim a right to free speech. The same free speech she refuses to allow Mr. McQueen .

    Welcome to FUCKTOPIA Angela Escobar. You will be given the key to the city by Mayor: Thucydides Falcon the 9th.

  11. I’ve been following common core articles and posts and I can not understand how some people equate common core opposition or support with any specific political position. This is NOT a liberal/conservative issue. This is NOT a pro union/anti union issue. This is an educational issue. If you are foolish enough to make it anything else all you will do is divide and redivide people until the other side wins. It is just plain foolish.
    I would suggest that anyone seriously interested in actual educational issues check out the websites like “the daily howler”. Please note that I’m interested in best practices developed by actual research not wishes or guesses. I’m not necessarily opposed to standardized educational core at least once the proper research has been done. It seems to me that are standards are probably fine. What we need to work on is mitigating poverty and cultural deficiency issues. In other words show me how many books are in a young child’s home and I’ll tell you immediately how they will do in school

  12. Thanks to all of you your spot on ! I called. Huppenthal office yesterday demanded he resign!!

    I will not vote for him, I fully expect just like members of other boards they will not resign because they be admitting to guilt….

  13. Of course these people need to resign, as does their leader and Troll in chief John Huppenthal.

  14. I had the privilege of reading The Cult of Common Core and immediately started speaking out against it to others, in my school and in the community and on Facebook. I work for a wonderful school district, but we still have to implement Common Core. Our district does give us as much autonomy in the classroom as possible. They sincerely want teachers and students to succeed. I have to applaud my district, Fruitvale School District, in Bakersfield, California, for doing the best for their teachers and students, even though we have to see through the implementation. Thank you, Brad, for your brave stand, for writing your book and spreading truths.

  15. Dissent is golden. Once she called Brad that 4 letter name, she lost the battle. She comes across as uneducated and overbearing.

  16. Absolutely incredible! These “jack-booted” bureaucrats conspired to black-ball Tucson teacher Brad McQueen, because he dared to criticize their sanctified Common Core (renamed Arizona’s College & Career Ready Standards, to mislead the public). They should all be fired. YOU are paying their salaries. Here are their names: Angela Escobar, Kathy Hrabluk, Irene Hunting, Sarah Gardner, Leila Williams, Jennifer Liewer, Christie Silverstein, Stacey Morley. There are probably many more.

  17. Public education has been destroyed by unions and the bureaucrats that derive their powers from it.

    Thank you Brad. Keep up the fight, but keep closing schools. Our money has been stolen.

  18. Great work ADI for uncovering those emails before they could be “lost” a la Lois Lerner! Just know Brad that an insult from the AZ DOE is a badge of honor!

  19. Oh, by the way Brad, you have heard the old saying haven’t you?? “Me thinks they protest too much!” If there wasn’t an issue with common core that they didn’t want to go public then you my man have struck a nerve. Perhaps you can reference some other articles for us people that want to fully understand Common Core and its ramifications for our young children that will find it very hard to escape the box that they have tested into and live their lives confined by the parameters of testing that show they are not capable of anything else. That simply is not the American way. Look at all of the “late bloomers” and just wonder what would have become of their contributions if they would have been inside the box and not able to break free and do outstanding work.

  20. I would not expect anything different from the bureaucrats that are running this country at the local, state and national level. Its never about the good of the children and their futures, its about their good and how much money and benefits they can make on the backs of our children. All you need to do is look no farther than the Tucson area to see what the Grijalva’s are attempting to do on the backs of ILLEGAL children. Ain’t it great when the unelected have no restraints and the elected simply don’t give a damn, they got theirs. All thanks to the low and no information voters along with those that won’t get off their ass and vote.

  21. Barbarians at the Gate? No, the Barbarians are inside the Gate.

    We fight tyranny in foreign lands to free people from oppression, to return home to find the enemy left the battle fields and run our local, state and national government.

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