Duncan: Sorry if anyone was offended by my playing the race card on Common Core opposition

posted at 12:41 pm on November 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Honestly, I had to read this a couple of times before I could believe it.  Did Education Secretary Arne Duncan really say that opposition to his Common Core program was mainly from “white suburban moms” unhappy with test score declines from their children? Could anyone be that clumsy and still keep his Cabinet position? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, considering that Kathleen Sebelius is still on the job, but still.

Anyway, yes he did, on Friday:

“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan said, according to media reports. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”

And now he’s sorry. Sort of:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan tried Monday to quell the outrage sparked by his comments that injected race and class into the debate about the Common Core academic standards taking root in classrooms across the country.

Duncan said Friday that he was fascinated by the fact that some opposition to the standards was coming from “white suburban moms” who fear that “their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were.”

The remark lit up social-media sites, prompting pointed responses from bloggers, an open letter from a school superintendent, digital images of Duncan’s official federal portrait with the word “bigot” emblazoned across it, and one congressman’s call for Duncan’s firing.

What specifically did Duncan regret about his statement? “Clumsy phrasing.” No, seriously:

“I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret — particularly because it distracted from an important conversation about how to better prepare all of America’s students for success,” he wrote. “I want to encourage a difficult conversation and challenge the underlying assumption that when we talk about the need to improve our nation’s schools, we are talking only about poor minority students in inner cities. This is simply not true. Research demonstrates that as a country, every demographic group has room for improvement.”

I’m still somewhat agnostic on the specifics of Common Core, but I’ve certainly followed the opposition to it as spearheaded by my dear friend and Boss Emeritus Michelle Malkin, who isn’t a “white suburban mom.” I’m naturally skeptical of one-size-fits-all solutions from Washington, though, especially on education, and the plan looks like a typical Ten Year Plan that ignores the damage done in the short term. Casting opposition to this in racial terms is not just offensive, it’s practically an admission that the Obama administration can’t answer the legitimate criticisms against the program.

Dana Loesch debated the issue with former Frank Lautenberg adviser Julie Roginsky on The Kelly File last night. Dana, another friend of mine opposed to Common Core, passionately and patiently makes the argument that Common Core is yet another assault on local control over education, while Roginsky has no answer for the “clumsy phrasing” from Duncan:


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Imagine what would happen if he were to have said Black ghetto mothers….

sandee on November 19, 2013 at 12:43 PM

Duncan should join Bashir’s talk show and they can try to out-douche each other.

22044 on November 19, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Copied from the headline, edited slightly to make it fit better here.

22044 on November 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Arne Duncan is the guy that hired the fister isn’t he? That’s reason enough to fire him.

DanMan on November 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Arnie’s not sorry about the “suburban” part or the “white” part — he’s sorry about the “women” part, or at least was told to be sorry about the “women” part. It’s hard to use the “War on Women” tactic in the run-up to 2016 if your party is waging a war on at least the non-urban married sub-sector of that group.

jon1979 on November 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Goose, gander.

HB3 on November 19, 2013 at 12:45 PM

Thank God Gore for Global Warming because these clowns would tie themselves in knots trying to blame the weather on racism.

trubble on November 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM

In all seriousness, this apology stands in stark contrast to that given by Martin Bashir yesterday. Bashir still has not explained why such crude language fell from him when discussing Gov. Palin, but his apology was a real apology (at least in the words he used). Duncan’s is a typical non-apology apology.

Blaise on November 19, 2013 at 12:47 PM

Oh that’s o.k. Arne…at least you didn’t say someone
should Defacate and Pizz in their mouths…

…as for me personally?

Go f*ck yourself Sh*tbag.

ToddPA on November 19, 2013 at 12:48 PM

I don’t know why he had to mention race.

Everyone knows what they mean when they say “suburbs”.

Ben Hur on November 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

The entire administration squatted in the woods to s#!t and fell back in it.

docflash on November 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

It’s part of this administration’s perspective. The whole problem with America is the white suburbanites who have more than some welfare queen in the ghetto. Some mooch who sees it acceptable to loot the local Wal-Mart when the EBT system goes down. Suburban schools have to suck so that they are no better than the inner-city socialist incubators.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 12:50 PM

I don’t know why he had to mention race.

Everyone knows what they mean when they say “suburbs”.

Ben Hur on November 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

IMO, that was the clumsy phrasing. Everybody knows that suburb is a dog whistle for white.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Arne Duncan LOVES moms.

He loves the moms who follow his agenda and are in the groups The Bill Gates Foundation funds:

http://missourieducationwatchdog.com/a-white-males-view-of-arne-duncan-and-duncans-remarks-to-moms-in-2010-is-this-the-reason-he-blames-white-suburban-mom-for-common-core-opposition/

The others, not so much.

manateespirit on November 19, 2013 at 12:52 PM

Hey, I love white suburban moms too.

HB3 on November 19, 2013 at 12:53 PM

Copied from the headline, edited slightly to make it fit better here.

22044 on November 19, 2013 at 12:44 PM

Duncan, Bashir, Alec Baldwin, Rob Ford…….

I think we have the makings of an MSNBC version of The View.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Poeple such as Bashir and this Duncan do not deserve the breath or space to acknowledge them.

Sacks of shite, who have no fricking soul…

Let’s show their TRUE colours tho, expose their hatred, their disgust for anyone who disagrees with their racist progressive socialist viewpoints…

I so dispise the left for everything they stand for…

Scrumpy on November 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM

“Mom, Billy called me stupid!”
“Billy, you apologize right NOW.”
“Sis, I really am sorry you’re stupid, and I apologize for the clumsy phrasing.”

Marcola on November 19, 2013 at 12:55 PM

Duncan, Bashir, Alec Baldwin, Rob Ford…….

I think we have the makings of an MSNBC version of The View.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 12:54 PM

Yikes, what a list! Glad I digested my lunch first!

22044 on November 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM

“I used some clumsy phrasing that I regret — particularly because it distracted from an important conversation about how to better prepare all of America’s students for success,” he wrote. “I want to encourage a difficult conversation and challenge the underlying assumption that when we talk about the need to improve our nation’s schools, we are talking only about poor minority students in inner cities. This is simply not true. Research demonstrates that as a country, every demographic group has room for improvement.

Clumsy phrasing is a habit of Duncan….

The ‘Common Core’ does little to prepare all of America’s students for success. Furthermore, minimizing or marginalizing the need and importance to improve education, particularly for minority students in the inner city, is dodging the challenges faced in the name of political correctness.

Fundamentally, Duncan is no different in his authoritarian approach than the NYC Mayor-elect – Bill DeBlasio who promises to seek to close / drive out the charter schools which are successfully educating the minority students in NYC in favor of the public schools / teacher’s union classrooms which are utterly failing to educate minority inner city students.

The fastest ways to improve education across the country and across all demographics would be to eliminate the federal control (incl Common Core) and decertify teacher’s unions that focus more on protecting bad teachers and extorting taxpayer’s money than educating our young.

Athos on November 19, 2013 at 12:58 PM

It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were

No, what’s “fascinating” Arne, is that with your
stunningly idiotic mentality, that you still have a job.

Oh look here, we have an Education Secretary who’s
So F*king Stupid, he needs to Google the word Brilliant
to see what it actaully means.

ToddPA on November 19, 2013 at 12:59 PM

Casting opposition to this in racial terms is not just offensive, it’s practically an admission that the Obama administration can’t answer the legitimate criticisms against the program.

To be fair, this is standard operating procedure for this regime.

rbj on November 19, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Could anyone be that clumsy and still keep his Cabinet position?

Just ask Eric Holder.

GarandFan on November 19, 2013 at 1:01 PM

Why would anyone be surprised that there are no consequences for making racist statements in this administration?

After all, this guy hasn’t been fired…

DHS Still Hasn’t Fired Black Supremacist Who Called for Mass Murder of Whites

Resist We Much on November 19, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Ed Markey must be a white suburban mom:

…civil libertarians are increasingly anxious about Common Core’s threat to student and family privacy. Under a law called FERPA—the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act—private contractors, consultants, and other non-government personnel may become privy to data about a student’s family income, religion, student disciplinary records, and parents’ political affiliations.

Last month, Senator Edward Markey (D-Mass.) pressed U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to explain why, in at least one state, student Social Security numbers were given to a private data collection company. But “as interesting as any official response would be, there is still no legitimate, much less Constitutional, reason for the federal government to be spying on American citizens or their children,” Alger concludes.

Akzed on November 19, 2013 at 1:04 PM

Why, in God’s name, do we have a Department of Education? Can anybody name anything it has accomplished? And if something can be named, demonstrate that it could not have been done more effectively, and inexpensively, at the state level.

M240H on November 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

Common Core is the Federal government take-over of Education, period. (What could go wrong?)

SailorMark on November 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

HEY! ARNIE! LEAVE THEM MOMS ALONE!
All in all, you’re just another brick in The Wall.

Christien on November 19, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Over and over again these people reveal their contempt for us. Their phony, solipsistic apologies (there must be a course they all take in the Ivy League about how to non-apologize apologize to the peasants) only underscores and extends the contempt. They’re out to destroy us and insist we shut up while they do it. And it goes on and on and we nominate McCains and Romneys to non-fight fight them. I can almost understand their contempr for us.

rrpjr on November 19, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Serious question Ed: how could you be agnostic about Common Core? A top down federal program aiming to nationalize what should be decision made at the district level? There has never been a program to come from the DoE that has had a net positive effect on our nationa’s schools and this is no different.

Again, though, as Glenn Reynolds keep asking: aren’t we at the point where sending one’s children to public schools is akin to child abuse?

King B on November 19, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Casting opposition to this in racial terms is not just offensive, it’s practically an admission that the Obama administration can’t answer the legitimate criticisms against the program.

Ed, this isn’t just an anecdote. Proponents of Common Core have never addressed the concerns raised by opponents. In every case that I’ve seen, the DoE’s response has been an ad hominem attack against the opponents, rather than an attempt to refute the arguments. Watch for phrases like like “paranoid”, “misinformed/ill-informed/uninformed”, etc.

Mohonri on November 19, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Serious question Ed: how could you be agnostic about Common Core?

King B on November 19, 2013 at 1:07 PM

You need to ask? This is Hot Air, Jake.

rrpjr on November 19, 2013 at 1:09 PM

Why, in God’s name, do we have a Department of Education? Can anybody name anything it has accomplished? And if something can be named, demonstrate that it could not have been done more effectively, and inexpensively, at the state level.

M240H on November 19, 2013 at 1:05 PM

The Dept. of Education is set up for one purpose only. To track and transfer money given to the states. If the feds have to be involved in education at all, it would be better to give it to the states as a block grant and leave it at that. Best yet is leave education to the states.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 1:10 PM

Nothing says “I’m Sorry” like a resignation letter…

JohnGalt23 on November 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM

I’ve had lots of suburban moms (and dads) pay me to tutor their high school kids in math and science, because their public school teachers didn’t explain things well. Not all of them were white–about half of them were black, Hispanic, or of Asian descent.

Steve Z on November 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Here’s a good link on Common Core. There are many others.

SailorMark on November 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM

That the unions do not object to Common Core says all that needs to be said.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 1:12 PM

The DOTUS….

http://abceblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Obama-is-pathological-liar.jpg

But who in D.C. isn’t at this point?

PappyD61 on November 19, 2013 at 1:16 PM

Could anyone be that clumsy and still keep his Cabinet position? That’s a rhetorical question, of course, considering that Kathleen Sebelius is still on the job, but still.

Peregruzka!! … Did we get that right? We worked really hard on getting it just right … What difference, at this point, does it make? … Screw this, I’m off to trade cow futures.”

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on November 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Never, Ever, attack a soccer mom on national TV.

percysunshine on November 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I don’t care what he says as long as he isnt offended when he is called a “white militant gay man”.

Tater Salad on November 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

If we’re going to have an education secretary, maybe it be an Asian suburban tiger mom, and not some clown like this guy. They get results…or else.

I can see it now…”GOOD SOLID B+?!” *apoplectic*

Christien on November 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

“Clumsy phrasing”…”Misspoke”..”Fumbled”…”My-zeld”….no,you in this admin are all effin’ liars. Simple.

hillsoftx on November 19, 2013 at 1:18 PM

Nothing says “I’m Sorry” like a resignation letter…

JohnGalt23 on November 19, 2013 at 1:11 PM

Sepuku says it better. Or maybe Arne could just go postal …

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on November 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

And 80% will be deemed successful..

hillsoftx on November 19, 2013 at 1:19 PM

Has anyone asked Oprah about Arnie’s racism?

Christien on November 19, 2013 at 1:22 PM

He’s only sorry someone paid attention to what he said since one size fits all works so well. See Obamacare.

Kissmygrits on November 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM

You can tell these Dems are on the ropes. Not because of all the garbage they say (Bashir comes to mind) but because FINALLY they are APOLOGIZING when they get called out on it. Up to a month ago they would double down.

Now that’s progress.

neyney on November 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM

He may have done just enough to defeat CC….

We should seriously consider abolishing the US Department of Education…

d1carter on November 19, 2013 at 1:49 PM

You Whites really need to start banding together and forming pressure groups to make it known that anti-White bigotry and hatred is as unacceptable for Whites as it is for Blacks or Hispanics.

Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. It’s no accident that awful comments like this keep coming out of the mouths of these people. Either they are hateful racists to the core, or they figure the only way keep their status with the ‘in’ crowd is to take this tiresome, sardonic, sarcastic, and ironic attitude toward all that is normal, Christian, and White (as if they were necessarily related). In the case of this joker, he is White himself so he has to distance himself from “that” crowd with a cutting remark. They may not believe it themselves, but they are fanning flames of racial intolerance and with complete irresponsibility and impunity.

It’s disgusting and you need to take it seriously.

JoseQuinones on November 19, 2013 at 1:56 PM

JoseQuinones on November 19, 2013 at 1:56 PM

I understand your point, but I really don’t care what anyone thinks about whites. I don’t care what people like Arne think about anything. He’s a moron, just like his boss, and all of their pea-brain musings are totally meaningless – outside of the fact that they are using the power of government to enforce their anti-civilization ideas. That is what has to stop be stopped and prosecuted.

You are correct in assessing that the left’s continued drive at tribalism will eventually force a tribalist response. It takes two to tango but only one to force a war.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on November 19, 2013 at 2:14 PM

ESAD, Sir.

Mason on November 19, 2013 at 2:14 PM

Common Core’s Substandard Writing Standards

…The authors of the curriculum read and write by formula. It is deadly. For writing is an art, not a science. It cannot be taught by rule. It cannot be divided into component parts, like the levers and hammers of a machine. It is at once too familiar to us, because we see it around us all the time, as we see weeds, dirt, litter, rubble, and all the other debris of common and unconsidered life; and not at all familiar, since so little of what we do see is worthy of our attention, much less our love. Writing can let the truth shine out for even the simplest, or it can sow the seeds of lies under such thick mud of verbiage that even the wisest may miss them. And the more it is taught as if it were a science, especially a mechanical one, the more likely will it be put in the service of lies.

Fallon on November 19, 2013 at 2:26 PM

WHATEVER!
Anything said by ANYONE in this regime is lies.

mmcnamer1 on November 19, 2013 at 3:11 PM

According to Google, Arne Duncan’s some kind of expert on fisting.

Herald of Woe on November 19, 2013 at 3:13 PM

According to Google, Arne Duncan’s some kind of expert on fisting.

Herald of Woe on November 19, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Careful, you are going to get all of our homosexual trolls worked up.

slickwillie2001 on November 19, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Meanwhile his two Amigos Bill Ayers and Kevin Jennings are selling these common core wares in hopes of teaching all American children to hate their parents and country and practice gay sex with adults strangers.
While the white house is finally being challenged for all of these other crimes, why are they given a slide on this? The hell with Duncan.
Hit them with all of this at the same time. Gitmo is way too small.

onomo on November 19, 2013 at 3:56 PM

I’m sorry for saying that Arne Duncan’s permanent “Glasgow Smile” creeps me out.

OxyCon on November 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM

I don’t know why he had to mention race.

Everyone knows what they mean when they say “suburbs”.

Ben Hur on November 19, 2013 at 12:49 PM

Must be one of those ‘dog whistle’ words.

Heh. Heh. Heh.

Solaratov on November 19, 2013 at 4:54 PM

Common core is ripe for the hijacking, is there a Heritage Foundation curriculum that states could implement to irk the libs?

Fleuries on November 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM

That the unions do not object to Common Core says all that needs to be said.

Happy Nomad on November 19, 2013 at 1:12 PM

that is not quite correct, HappyN.

They are in favor of spending money on education reform, but they are not in favor of standards, or testing. And Common Core is, once again bringing them both.

Fleuries on November 19, 2013 at 5:40 PM