November 18th, 2013
03:25 PM ET
10 months ago

Education Sec. Duncan under fire for comment about 'white suburban moms'

Washington (CNN) - Proving once again that any controversy will be intensified - if not illuminated - by random references to race, class, and gender, Education Secretary Arne Duncan has ignited a storm of protest by noting opposition from "white suburban moms" to one of his prized educational initiatives.

In a meeting with state education chiefs Friday, Duncan said some opposition to the Common Core State Standards - a controversial effort to standardize education - has come from parents displeased that test results have exposed local weaknesses. Duncan said he found it "fascinating" that opponents include "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."

Duncan apologzied Monday afternoon for the remark.

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Filed under: Arne Duncan
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    What's the big deal? He's telling the truth...

    November 18, 2013 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  2. Liberal Racists

    The biggest racists around are the liberal left Democrats. They use race to divide and pit people against each other. Hey all you white people supporting this insanity.... When they succeed in starting a race war in this country, do you think your liberalism is going to save you from the mobs? No, you will reap what you have sown as you get cut down because of the color of your skin.

    November 18, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  3. sammy750

    I agree with Duncan. At least the tests are more fair, and white folks don't like to see that they kids are actually a failuare

    November 18, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  4. Gurgyl

    Nothing big deal. You need to think before you speak. It is not free speech like some idiots write on these blogs without ratio decidendi...

    November 18, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  5. Sniffit

    Geesh...terribad way of saying something that's totally true. I mean, clearly, mommy's perfect little darling can do no wrong and is the smartest kid ever to fall out of a vagina and how dare you force her to live up to national education standards...not to mention that she's obviously the prettiest girl in school and the only reason she's not doing well is because of [insert excuse that blames exterior factors] and she needs more time on her tests and it's not her fault that the teacher isn't interesting. It comes as absolutely no surprise that there's suburban soccermom backlash when they get told that "sorry, but Suzy is only about average on her tests and your school system isn't all that great and needs improvement in the following areas." NOT IN MY SUBURBATOPIA!!!! Those are accusations for the inner city, not in my backyard!!!!

    It's also no secret that studies show white suburban parents being more involved in their kids' educations...frequently to the point of interfering and trying to pressure educators for better grades for their kids, etc. Heck, CNN just had articles a little while ago about the phenomenon stretching into college and then into the kids' first searches for a job, with parents bothering the hell out of potential employers.

    Did Duncan say something correct in a very stupid way? Yes. Does it change the fact that his underlying point was correct? No. Does it change that national standards for WHAT children should be capable of at different education levels is a necessary and good idea? No (even with such performance standards, HOW a local school system chooses to try to achieve them is left to the school system). They just don't want to be held to a standard and told they're not measuring up: that's all supposed to be a problem that exists "elsewhere, not here in my town." No doubt these are the same people who want all sorts of crazy national standards for teachers "because unions blah blah yackity shmackity"...well, here's your opportunity. There's no better way to measure teacher performance than by measuring their students' performance. If they're not getting the job done preparing your kids to meet national standards, then fire them.

    November 18, 2013 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  6. Italmn

    The women better face the facts. Some kids are NOT the smartest their moms would like them to be. Get Over it ! Most parents don't take the time to help their children. Then it's BLAME, BLAME, someone else ! Parents better start taking responsibility and be MORE active in their childrens life. Get the kids AWAY from the VIDEO GAMES ! Make them go out and MOW a LAWN and do some yard work then when their done with that? Come in the house and do their HOME WORK and the PARENTS check to see if it's done right.

    November 18, 2013 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Duncan said he found it "fascinating" that opponents include "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."
    ----------------------
    And so the response to this reality shattering revelation is to attack the messenger. Still doesn't change the fact that they're acting dumber than a 5th grader.

    November 18, 2013 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    Its amazing to me how few parents, regardless of where they live, bother to read to their children when they are young. Trips to the library are a rarity for many families, and efforts to teach children about the world around them are viewed as a waste of time. Many parents forget that parenting is a job unto itself, and its the most important job you will ever have, and that neglecting those small things because a soccer game is more important to the parent's ego lead to huge consequences later. Its not all up to the school to raise your kids: that's your job. Raising them also means preparing them, and this means doing a lot of the heavy lifting on your own and ultimately letting them succeed or fail on their own. No one will care if you were a varsity athlete once you get out of shcool: all they care about is how much monehy you can make them. The teachers are not ultimately responsible for your child's fate; its you and your child that determine that. Teachers should not have to babysit and raise your kids, but that is the expectation and more. Become a lifelong learner yourself, and set the example. Be a mentor, get involved in your community: don't complain, fix it.

    November 18, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. just saying

    interesting.... why does he interject race into this? is the implied message that the only people opposing this are white and therefore their opposition is somehow racially motivated?

    these are the far left loons that obama has populated the federal government with people. if you oppose anything they want well then the only reason is becuase you are a racist.

    is this another case of the democrat war on women? only inner city white women aren't racists. it is all of the people that live in the suburbs and rural areas that are racists.

    November 18, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    interesting.... why does he interject race into this? is the implied message that the only people opposing this are white and therefore their opposition is somehow racially motivated?

    these are the far left loons that obama has populated the federal government with people. if you oppose anything they want well then the only reason is becuase you are a racist.

    is this another case of the democrat war on women? only inner city white women aren't racists. it is all of the people that live in the suburbs and rural areas that are racists.
    *****************
    you are a case study in how bias affects people's conclusions. Living in a suburb like the one descirbed, i can tell you that he is telling th truth. People have unrealistic expectations about their school simply because of the town they live in: it never occurs to them that they have to do something other than run their kids back and forth between soccer and hockey games.

    November 18, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. 2012liberal

    He speaks the truth. White elites, self rightchious, self centered, self serving and unaccountable children r stupid! Poor pitiful kids. Go buy them a BMW. Thats the reason y this country is n bad shape. No one held accountable 4 the own actions. Mommy and daddy will save the day. Thank god 4 our true christian community leaders!

    November 18, 2013 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  12. REALIST

    Not a big deal at all. People need to stop getting attended all the time someone has a opinion about something or how it is delivered. It is well know. That suburban soccer moms always have something to say about something concerning their kids where the inner city mother has other things to worry about besides the comment or opinion of a appointed official.

    November 18, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  13. ObamaDUNG.gov

    Why does the Obama administration hate white soccer moms? Do they not hate black soccer moms because they are black?

    November 18, 2013 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |