In an op-ed published in the latest Carolina Journal (and recently online), I wrote,
But many Common Core proponents have little interest in engaging their critics in reasoned debate. Even the most substantive concerns will not escape the mudslinging fury of some local, state, and national pundits, who prefer to belittle and demean their detractors by depicting them as liars, conspiracy theorists, or crackpots.
I argued that the NC Department of Public Instruction is partly to blame for the misinformation circulating about Common Core because they have done a really poor job of informing the public about it.
But rather than acknowledge their failure and commit to adopting a reasoned discourse about Common Core for the sake of concerned citizens, state education officials have decided to attack opponents of the standards. In a letter in the News & Observer, State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson does it again.
The letter begins as a straightforward response to a concerned, perhaps misinformed, citizen. Yet, it does not take long for Atkinson to fire off the very unnecessary (and rather obnoxious) line, “Another important skill we endeavor to teach our children is the difference between propaganda and facts.”
Good teachers value “teachable moments,” that is, an opportunity to use students’ misinformation or mistakes as the basis for a lesson. When presented with a teachable moment, however, our elected Superintendent of Public Instruction resorts to sneers and jibes.