Are you skeptical that the Common Core education standards will significantly improve school outcomes, given their massive cost and cumbersome standardized testing requirements? Why, you must be some kind of insane conspiracy theorist!
Michael Mulgrew, president of New York City's United Federation of Teachers, remarked at a convention last month that only crazy people could possibly oppose Common Core. (His comments were not widely publicized until late last week.)
"I've heard the stories about how Eli Broad, Bill Gates, Joel Klein, and a flying saucer full of Martians designed these things to brainwash us all," he said, according to The New York Daily News.
It's a cheap shot, although it's nothing compared to what he said next, regarding activists who are trying to presure legislatures to move away from Common Core:
"So I stand here in support for [Common Core] for one simple reason. If someone takes something from me, I'm going to grab it right back out of their cold, twisted, sick hand, and say it is mine. You don't take what is mine. And I'm going to punch you in the face and push you in the dirt."
Really, this is petty tribalism at its most obvious. Mulgrew comes across as flatly disinterested in the actual policy; what he cares about is getting his goon squad fired up about one thing or another (note that the audience—presumably public school teachers—applauds his suggestion of violence). For union leadership, every issue is a fight, and any group that stands in opposition to the official union position is an enemy that needs to be beaten into submission.
Many teachers, and even some teachers unions, have actually joined conservatives and libertarians in opposition to Common Core. That's because they recognize that centrally-mandated solutions to the national education problem are unlikely to work—even if such a diverse ideological coalition won't agree on anything else.
But that's beside the point. For some interest groups, if you're not a friend, you're enemy. Either you're with Mulgrew, or he's going to knock you in the dirt.
Hat tip: Richard Thompson / Rare
More from Reason on Common Core here.
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