Press Virtually Mum As Arne Duncan Blames Common Core Opposition on 'White Suburban Moms' Upset Their Kids 'Aren't Brilliant'

Will yet another example of rhetorical intemperance by an Obama administration official get a free pass? So far it mostly has.

A Washington Post item by Valerie Strauss at its "Answer Sheet" blog quotes a dispatch from Libbly Nelson at the Politico, but does not link to it. I couldn't find a related original story by Nelson at her Politico archive or in a Politico search on Education Secretary Arne Duncan's name (not in quotes). Here is what the Post says Nelson wrote (HT The Blaze; bolds are mine):


Arne Duncan: ‘White suburban moms’ upset that Common Core shows their kids aren’t ‘brilliant’

ArneDuncanWide

... On Friday, Duncan spoke in Richmond, Va., about the growing opposition to Common Core and their implementation in states around the country before a meeting of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization. Education Department communications chief Massie Ritsch said in an e-mail that he does not believe that there is a full transcript of Duncan’s remarks, but he referred to the following write-up from Politico’s Libby Nelson, who was at the event:

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told an audience of state superintendents this afternoon that the Education Department and other Common Core supporters didn’t fully anticipate the effect the standards would have once implemented.

“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. “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.”

Overcoming that will require communicating to parents that competition is now global, not local, he said.

Ritsch said in an e-mail that Duncan was observing that the higher standards that states have adopted to better prepare their students for college and careers are revealing that some “good” schools aren’t as strong as parents in those areas have long assumed.

Never mind the Common Core debate for the moment (that could be a book; this post is about media coverage). How many hours would it have taken the press to cover what Duncan said if he had substituted "African-American inner-city moms" for "white suburban moms"?

I'd say no more than about four at the Associated Press. But a search on Duncan's name (not in quotes) indicates that there's nothing relevant at the AP's national site right now.

The rest of the establishment press also hasn't done anything with Duncan's race-based disrespect. A Bing News search on at 4:30 p.m. ET ["arne duncan" "common core" "white suburban moms"] (typed exactly as indicated between brackets) returned five items besides Strauss's report, all of which are from center-right blogs and online publications.

If it were a Republican or conservative education secretary saying anything race-based about achievement, you would have to measure the time it would take for the press to be all over it in minutes. His or her job would probably be over. Duncan will probably remain untouchable.

It might be useful for the country to catch wind of how someone who thinks he's smarter and better than the rest of us really feels. They might then start to focus on the value and relevance of what the elites are trying to impose on the nation's schools. I'll suggest that this is the last thing the establishment press wants to see happen.

At some point, I'd also like to learn where Libby Nelson is hiding the report to which Ms. Strauss referred. There are tweets from Nelson and coworker Stephanie Simon at Strauss's writeup which contain the offensive substance of what Duncan said. But that doesn't explain how Strauss could, via an email delivered by an Education Department spokesperson, string together several paragraphs from a report whose original appears to be missing in action.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.