On the Defensive, Shills for Common Core Hype Distractions

By:  Alex Newman
11/07/2013
       
On the Defensive, Shills for Common Core Hype Distractions

The attempt by a trio of Common Core-supporting Democrats in the state to impugn top authorities on the standards is backfiring in spectacular fashion.

With opposition to Obama administration-backed Common Core nationalized education boiling over across the political spectrum, desperate lawmakers in Wisconsin who support the controversial scheme — even after devastating testimony exposed myriad flaws with the standards — are trying fiendishly to distract from real issues by inventing conspiracy theories and attacking respected experts. The attempt by a trio of Common Core-supporting Democrats in the state to impugn top authorities on the standards, however, is backfiring in spectacular fashion. Now, calls for the lawmakers to explain themselves and resign are growing.

The three state legislators who released public statements or letters trying to deflect attention from the facts about Common Core using false allegations about the messengers were: State Rep. Sondy Pope, State Sen. John Lehman, and State Rep. Christine Sinicki. All of them offered easily debunked misinformation and bizarre theories suggesting some sort of vast right-wing conspiracy was afoot. The trio is now at the center of a political firestorm in the state, however. Multiple media outlets and some of the experts are highlighting the absurdity of the bogus claims — and the apparent effort to put the focus on anything and everything aside from the facts about Common Core. 

In a letter to the leadership of the state committee investigating the standards, for example, Rep. Pope and Sen. Lehman falsely suggested that testimony from some of the nation’s top authorities on Common Core was “funded” by a group associated with the “extremist fringe” John Birch Society. Doubling down on the wild conspiracy theories, the two Democrats went on to claim, falsely, that the prominent experts who testified were somehow “fronting” for “notorious groups” and “right-wing extremism.” Of course, none of the witnesses were doing anything of the sort, but that did not stop the lawmakers from further embarrassing themselves.

“We are certainly disappointed that this fringe organization has been invited by you to represent theoretically ‘mainstream’ opposition to the well-reasoned Common Core Standards,” state Rep. Pope and state Sen. Lehman continued in their letter. “With reasonable conservative voices available to discuss this issue, we hope that invitations to groups affiliated with the John Birch Society are not indicative of the agenda driving our committee's work.” It was not immediately clear which alleged invitations to groups affiliated with the John Birch Society the seemingly confused lawmakers were referring to.

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