A chilling video of a parent being thrown out of a Baltimore education forum is drawing wide attention. The parent, Robert Small, was asking critical questions about the Common Core, America’s new, de facto national school curriculum. After being dragged out of the forum, Small was arrested and charged with second-degree assault on a police officer. (If you go to this link you will see two videos at the bottom. The second one from the bottom has been making the rounds because it captures the entire incident and gives a better view. The bottom video is useful for its superior sound quality, however.) The Baltimore Sun’s account of the incident is here.
The rules of this forum didn’t allow for parents to stand and ask questions, so in the narrow sense Small was at fault. Yet the incident points to a larger problem. Parents across the country have been shut out of the decision-making process as a de facto national curriculum has been imposed on them from above. The supposedly “state led” process behind the Common Core is a sham. In reality, a combination of pressure from the Obama administration and behind-the-scenes machinations from private groups has forced the Common Core on the country without real public debate. To this day, most Americans know little or nothing of the change.
This public forum in Baltimore reflects the broader problem. Parents had no real chance to express opposition. Questions had to be submitted ahead of time in writing, and select questions were read aloud and answered. According to this report from a parent who was there, critical questions were either omitted altogether or had crucial sections removed when read aloud. By the time the meeting was ending, parents felt that they’d been given the run around. That’s when Small stood up.
None of this would matter much if we were looking at only a single badly handled public forum. Unfortunately, the ejection and arrest of a Robert Small, who dared to tell the truth about the Common Core, faithfully captures the illegitimacy of the process that brought us this de facto national curriculum. Parents have been shut out of the decision making on Common Core from Day One. Consulting with them now, after all the key choices have been made, is a charade. Kill off parental control, rig the rules to silence objectors, then cart off parents who dare to break those rules.
Tocqueville saw the authority over America’s school system exercised by parents at town meetings as the cradle of American liberty. He’d be crying over this video.