All educators must now take a stand against the tyranny of Common Core

grizzlieBy Brad McQueen

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.

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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  1. The only way to really stop all of this Federal nonsense is to do away with the Dept. of Ed at the Fed lever.
    Get it all back to the states and local school boards. Speak loudly folks. It’s up to us.

  2. So, if the parents, administrators, board of ed, superintendent, teachers union, your governor, your state ed commish, US Secretary of Ed, the POTUS are all googoo gaga over common core, how exactly does a teacher take a stand. Before you jump all over me, I do my own activism against CC and basically all forms of corporate education reform as a parent in the district where I live. However, something irks me a bit when they suggest (maybe I’m reading into it a bit too much) that teachers are not doing enough to remedy the situation. That the need to take a stand. Remember, they are under attack too. The attackers are doing everything in their power to stomp teachers down right now because they are the only group standing in their way. Perhaps more teachers would step forward if they knew parents had their back. The climate right now looks like if a teacher sticks their neck out, they’ll get their head chopped off by the very people they are trying to help. Teachers are public servants, they serve the community that they work for. They are not slaves or superheros. If the public wants to gladly hand over their public school system to corporate reform snake oil salesmen, how are teachers going to stop them? I’m not trying to insult anyone, just offer a different perspective.

  3. By the way our children have never taken a standardized test and won’t until parents, teachers and local communities are in charge of education again. Opt out everyone; it’s not radical, it’s the common sense way to stop the Common Core, which is meaningless without the high-stakes tests it was designed to force states to buy.

  4. I am a parent, and was shocked when our kids hit the testing grades and suddenly open conversation with their teachers about those tests became impossible (in New York City under Bloomberg, Mr. Mayoral Control). I felt my wife’s and my rights were being violated by the de facto gag order on the city’s teachers. That’s when I first knew something was terribly, terribly wrong. No one has a right to tell a teacher what aspects of his pedagogical philosophy he is allowed to discuss either the parents of the children in his care! Parents and teachers will decide the shape of education, and no one else.

    Thank you for this clarion call for speaking and acting out. Parents must join hands with teachers and retake the authority that is morally and constitutionally ours alone to decide how our children will be educated. No compromise of that principle is acceptable.

  5. Education should not be political. We must focus on students. Common Core harms them. We can have higher standards, a well-rounded curriculum, proper use of testing, and careful, thoughtful vertical integration of student growth by following the methods that education research recommends. Common Core ignores research and imposes a marketing platform on public education. Its goal is to monetize students. Parents on all sides of the political spectrum are starting to get this. It doesn’t matter what party you belong to – students come first. I was asked to review Common Core in 2009. I was a supporter, but the process of learning about it changed my mind. It’s not meant to help students, it’s meant to create national markets for education vendors. We can do much better than Common Core – if we simply stop defunding classrooms, stop throwing school revenue away on disproven marketing gimmicks, stop privatizing, and start listening to educators & researchers. The mainstream leaders of both parties are equally to blame. Grassroots activists will need to dig into this and move education policy away from the corporate Republicans and corporate Democrats to earn parent support and educator support in 2016.

  6. This is my (imperfect) memory of the comment I intended to post earlier: I agree completely with the statements in this article about the need to resist the Common Core juggernaut, but I take exception to the comments about liberals and liberal teachers. I do not know any liberal teachers who align themselves with the Chamber of Commerce. I know very many liberal, progressive teachers (including myself, a retired teacher) who are vehemently opposed to the Common Core, incessant testing, and data mining and collection. This global assault is not a liberal assault, it is a neoliberal assault–there is a vast difference. Read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. Both Republican and Democratic politicians have betrayed the principles that we pride ourselves on in America. Censoring teachers by intimidating them for exposing the extreme negative impact of the Common Core et al on our nation’s children is unacceptable.

  7. I agree with all of the statements here except the characterization of liberals and liberal teachers. I am one of very many liberal, progressive teachers (retired teacher actually) who vehemently oppose the Common Core, the incessant and intrusive testing, and the data collection and data mining of an entire generation. Both Republican and Democratic politicians and policy wonks have betrayed us. The assault on our freedoms is not a liberal assault, it is a neoliberal assault. Read Naomi Klein’s The Shock Doctrine. This is indeed a global agenda, but it is not fomented by soft-minded liberals, but by elite sociopaths who think in abstract terms but aggrandize themselves in literal terms, and care nothing for the horrific fallout on the “Others.”

  8. This is just an example of how hard the liberals and their Chamber of Commerce counterparts are pushing this crap down the throats of the parents and school districts of this country. The liberals love the fact that they can make the US look like that they are just another average country and the C of C loves the fact that they will have an unlimited supply of little worker bees at their disposal because of the trap of common core will not let the children escape their little boxes that have been designed for them with all of the data mining done to them. Why the hell do they need all of the data anyway? You know to make sure that all of the bases are covered and that there is no way to escape. Yea, just what I want to see, engineered kids and carers. This should be enough to scare anyone, but its not. I have never seen such a society as we now have that can be led by lies and no one cares. Lord help us all.

  9. Thanks for your perseverance and willingness to stand up and fight for the students of Arizona. You give me hope and courage. It’s up to us folks. Politicians won’t listen until we make it too uncomfortable for them. Ducey needs educating. Is he even educable?

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