In an interview with CNN on Monday, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan attempted to downplay his inflammatory racist remarks about “white suburban moms” who oppose the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
“My wording, my phrasing, was a little clumsy and I apologize for that,” Duncan told CNN’s Rene Marsh.
“I didn’t say them perfectly, and I apologize for that,” he elaborated. “My point is that children from every demographic across this country need a well-rounded, world-class education and frankly we have challenges not just in our inner cities but in our suburban areas to and we need to have honest conversations about that.”
The education secretary explained that what he was really trying to say was that the U.S. education system must get students ready for a “globally competitive work force.” He continues to insist that the way to do that is through expensive standardized tests.
Duncan’s comments about “white suburban moms” came in a speech at a meeting of the Council of Chief State Schools Officers Organization in Richmond, Va. on Friday. (RELATED: Arne Duncan blames irrational angst of ‘white suburban moms’ for Common Core pushback)
“It’s fascinating to me that some of the pushback is coming from, sort of, white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were, and that’s pretty scary,” Duncan proclaimed. “You’ve bet your house and where you live and everything on, ‘My child’s going to be prepared.’ That can be a punch in the gut.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney defended Duncan’s “white suburban moms” comments and argued that the current education system is not properly preparing students to succeed in life. (RELATED: White House deflects question about Duncan’s ‘white suburban moms’ comment)
Meanwhile, education department communications secretary Massie Ritsch doubled down on racism.
“Arne — a white suburban dad married to a white suburban mom, with two kids in public schools — has always been clear that test scores are an imperfect measure of student achievement and school quality, but tests are an indicator nonetheless,” Ritsch wrote in an email obtained by CNN. “And when that indicator conflicts with parents’ notions of their child’s abilities or their school’s quality, it’s understandable that some parents would be concerned.”
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