Arne Duncan Sorry for 'White Suburban Moms' Remark

Education secretary sparks online debate over standardized testing

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 18, 2013 6:23 PM CST

(Newser) – Education Secretary Arne Duncan—who upset a few people with his "white suburban moms" remark on Friday—fully back-peddled today and apologized for his "clumsy" phrasing, CNN reports. To recap, Duncan said he was fascinated by opposition to his plan for standardized testing because his opponents included "white suburban moms who—all of a sudden—[discovered that] their child isn't as bright as they thought they were, and their school isn't quite as good as they thought they were." Well, his new opponents include people who aren't white, suburban, or moms—and a few who are:

  • "This Obama educrat has stepped in it. Big time. Race card-wielding Education Secretary Arne Duncan is nothing but a corrupt and bankrupt bigot," writes conservative commentator Michelle Malkin.
  • "Arne-if u are reading- you shld walk this back..very insensitive-and not right-moms care abt their kids!!" tweets Randi Winegarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers.
  • "I don't fight the Common Core because I think my child is brilliant, but because I'm tired of these one size fits all educational solutions," writes Gretchen Moran Laskas, a Virginia-area mom, at Daily Kos.
  • Furman University professor PL Thomas blogs that he is upset over the overwhelming reaction to Duncan's "white moms" remark, when Duncan's agenda "disproportionately impacts black, brown, and poor children in powerfully negative ways."
  • Education Department spokesman Massie Ritsch rose to Duncan's defense over the testing policy, Common Core State Standards, which is designed to make US students more competitive. "The far right and far left have made up their minds," Ritsch writes. "But there's angst in the middle—which includes many open-minded suburban parents—that needs to be addressed."

Education Secretary Arne Duncan jokes during a panel discussion about the Wheeling, Ill., High School Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, STEM program Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Wheeling.
Education Secretary Arne Duncan jokes during a panel discussion about the Wheeling, Ill., High School Science Technology Engineering Mathematics, STEM program Thursday, Oct. 24, 2013, in Wheeling.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
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