A recent occupy protest at the Department of Education turned ugly when one protester, a public teacher, called school choice champion Michelle Rhee an “Asian bitch.”
The protest last week was part of a week-long series of events organized by a group called Occupy DOE 2.0. Members oppose the education agenda of reformers like Rhee, and want federal policy to de-emphasize standardized tests, which have recently become a rallying point for teachers unions.
Ceresta Smith, a teacher in Miami-Dade County, called Rhee “an Asian bitch.” Later, she said that her language was extreme, but appropriate.
“We are in a real war, and it’s hard to identify who the real enemy is,” she said, according to Education Week.
While other organizers did not match Smith’s racially charged rhetoric, their language was just as violent and militant. Former teacher Shaun Johnson urged teachers to start “cracking skulls.”
Other protesters said that the government’s policies were part of a “destruction strategy” to ruin public education and turn it over to private corporations.
“The corporations are teaching our children,” said Peggy Robertson, a Colorado public teacher who spoke about the importance of fighting against standardized tests, which are increasingly seen by teachers as a dangerous accountability method.
Protesters also expressed dissatisfaction with President Obama, Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Congrssional Republicans and Democrats, and even unions themselves, which were perceived by some to be too weak-willed.
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