I have always been proud of the fact that at my school and school district I have never experienced retaliation or intimidation for my anti-Common Core views and my political activity and writings outside of school. But my sense of security was shaken this past week when I experienced the long knives of a certain group at my school that unfortunately has the ear of leadership, which took an opportunity to pounce.
I have had similar stories conveyed to me from across the country where anti-Common Core teachers have been singled out for “surprise observations” in the classroom, have been written up for “insubordination” or “unprofessionalism”, or who have had a thousand other cuts inflicted upon their professional reputations until they back down or quit.
I have heard stories from a teacher in Ohio who experienced shameless intimidation where a principal, coworker, and a superintendent confronted her when she spoke out against Common Core and made direct threats to her professional future.
I have received a message from another teacher who had the superintendent of her school district make a “surprise observation” of her teaching a lesson to her class after calling the Common Core math standards “ridiculous” during a professional development on the Common Core math standards at her school.
I have heard an account of a teacher here in Tucson, who spoke out against the Common Core at a public forum and was threatened by his high school administration to remain silent for the good of his professional future.
Yet still many of us teachers choose to stand and speak out against Common Core. To be clear, when I say “teachers” I include everyone who is involved in our children’s education at our schools to include paraprofessionals, teacher assistants, school nurses, counselors, superintendents, principals, and parent volunteers.
All United States citizens are guaranteed the right to freedom of speech as guaranteed in the 1st Amendment in the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution as most adults learned when they went to school. This guarantee of freedom of speech also includes teachers’ right to express their opposition to this dangerous beast called the Common Core as they are witnessing its harmful effects on their students and children first hand.
There have been countless examples as of late where vigilant teachers and parents have found textbooks, posters, websites and other materials used in classrooms with a rewording of our freedoms guaranteed by our founders in the Bill of Rights in an attempt to undermine their very meaning and importance.
In just one generation a centrally controlled education delivery system like Common Core can change the memory of the true meaning of the individual freedoms that all Americans hold sacred as a bulwark against tyrants.
This is why more teachers and those involved in the education of our kids in Arizona and across the country must now take a public stand against the Common Core and it’s aspirations of controlling our kids’ minds and destroying our country’s exceptionalism.
Parents and other concerned citizens must also stand up for those teachers, teaching assistants, and administrators who oppose Common Core’s takeover of our schools in Arizona and across the nation. This may mean standing with them at school board meetings, standing with them against administrators who intimidate, and holding politicians accountable for their anti-Common Core promises that helped them get elected earlier this month.
Even without this support, teachers must gather the courage to take a stand alone if need be and suffer the consequences for what is right.
In the end I know very few truly good educators who want to be part of Common Core’s endgame of centralized control and homogenization of our children. Teachers must decide now if they will fight against this Common Core beast or be a part of the cabal of politicians, corporations, and progressives that choose to feed and nurture this beast.
It is not easy or comfortable to oppose Common Core, but when has opposing tyranny ever been easy or comfortable? However, we are Americans, and it is in our DNA to oppose tyranny wherever we see it at home or abroad. Just as that ragtag band of soldiers opposed the most powerful military of its time in our War for Independence, so to shall we oppose and ultimately win this war against Common Core.
There are many faces to intimidation and retaliation and they can show their ugly faces in more subtle, cowardly ways as many teachers across the country can attest to. Those who intimidate or retaliate against educators opposing Common Core obviously don’t know our determination or our faith in the rightness of our cause to fight for the kids in our classroom and therefore the future of our exceptional country. It won’t be the first time tyranny has underestimated Americans.
I may have been taken aback as my little corner of the anti-Common Core world has been tested, and all educators may suffer future attacks, but this only makes us more resolute to stand up to intimidation, subtle or outright, whether it comes from the Department of Education, coworkers, a school, or a school district. Our kids and our country are worth it.
Brad 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 firstname.lastname@example.org