Emails back and forth among high-ranking Arizona Department of Education officials show that state officials intimidated a Tucson fifth-grade teacher and, in one instance, called him “a f*cktard” because he criticized the state’s implementation of Common Core.
The emails are now public because of a Freedom of Information request submitted by the Arizona Daily Independent.
The teacher, Brad McQueen, originally raise the ire of state education officials in February when he penned an anti-Common Core op-ed in the Independent (that later went viral locally).
McQueen, a 10-year teaching veteran, had worked on the state’s Common Core-aligned standardized tests. In the op-ed, he criticized Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer and state education bureaucrats for, among much else, “willingly handed over control” of educational standards in exchange for increased federal funding.
That’s when the fun started.
Kathy Hrabluk, associate superintendent at the Arizona Department of Education, sent out an email griping about McQueen’s criticisms. “Just thought you might want to check your list of teacher teams (from which teachers are selected to work on tests at the Dept of Education),” she wrote. “He is one unhappy camper.”
Next, deputy associate superintendent for assessment Irene Hunting seemed to suggest that state administrators had blackballed McQueen from working on any state tests because of his opposition to the state’s implementation of Common Core. “We have made a note in his record,” she wrote, according to the Independent.
In a follow-up email, Sarah Gardner, a high-level standardized testing director, appeared to indicate that Arizona’s taxpayer-funded state education officials would, in fact, conspire to prevent McQueen from further contributions to the state’s standardized tests.
“Given that Brad McQueen gave a negative statement to the press about Common Core and assessment, you may want to remove him from the invitation list,” Gardner wrote. “Let’s make sure he is not going to Denver later this month. Please remove Brad McQueen from the list.”
Another email came from Angela Escobar, a program project specialist. Escobar must have been listening to talk radio instead of doing her job because the title of her email reads: “Brad McQueen is on the radio.”
The complete text of Escobar’s email is “What a f*cktard,” according to the Independent. Escobar did use an asterisk in the word. Presumably, the word the taxpayer-funded official using taxpayer-funded email intended to communicate is “fucktard.”
Next, Gardner, the testing director, decided to call McQueen to intimidate him. She called him in his classroom during the school day, the teacher says.