Target: Media Personality Glenn Beck
Goal: Denounce Beck’s conspiracy theories about new state standards in K-12 education that allow achievement levels to be compared across states
Conspiracy theorist and reactionary messiah Glenn Beck has a new pet project: opposing primary/secondary education reform. Formulated by state governors and educators in 2010, the proposed Common Core standards for education will provide broad standards and a wide-ranging curriculum throughout the nation; this would allow the federal government to meaningfully compare and measure the educational achievement level of the different states (a task that was hitherto difficult given the veritable hodgepodge of different standards and tests). Unlike past reforms, this will allow the federal government to decide which states need more aid for education and which are already doing well. This benign and largely unknown reform has become a lightning rod for all manner of conspiracy theorists and Tea Party members. Contrary to the rabid fears of the ill-informed, however, this is not a federal government takeover of education; the standards were created by the states, and the states must voluntarily adopt them for them to be enacted.
With Glenn Beck leading the charge, Tea Party members and other right-wing activists have demanded that their respective governors and state legislatures reject the adoption of the Common Core state standards. Even though President Obama and the federal government had nothing to do with the standards’ creation, Beck has claimed that Obama is trying to overhaul education to indoctrinate American children in favor of secularism and communism. He’s also made the accusation that a national database on children will be created that will allow the government to spy on American citizens and keep track of their every move. In Beck’s words, the implementation of Common Core standards poses such an imminent danger that ‘if you don’t stop it, American history will be over forever.’ Needless to say, none of Beck’s claims bear any semblance of reality.
So far, Common Core state standards have been crafted only for Mathematics and English/Language Arts, and while 45 states have adopted their use, several are under pressure to reject them. If Glenn Beck and his cronies are able to whip up fear and anger among the bewildered herd of the Tea Party, not only will Science and Social Studies standards never be crafted, but even the existing standards may be rejected by several states. Please sign the petition below to denounce Beck’s unfounded fear-mongering and demand that he get out of the way of education reform.
Dear Glenn Beck:
You have recently sparked a controversy about the new Common Core state standards, inspiring Tea Party members and other right-wing activists to pressure their state legislatures to reject the education reform process. Your far-fetched claims about communist indoctrination and the destruction of America have caused an uproar against a much-needed streamlining of inchoate state standards and tests. While you have every right to whip up conspiracy theories on your own time, I am appalled that you are willing to sacrifice the future of American schoolchildren for media attention and political sway.
I demand that you retract your statements about Common Core state standards and stick to talking about the actual facts concerning their adoption.
[Your Name Here]
Photocredit: Rosa Say via Flickr