Right-wing Tea Party Opposition to Common Core, Coming Right Next Door

A commenter on our blog tipped us off to a forum that’s happening tomorrow night a few miles away in Millburn. They’ll be talking about common core. Perhaps a good opportunity to get away from the over-heated, misleading, conspiracy-theory-laden noise here in Montclair driven by the Montclair Cares About Schools folks? No, it turns out it’s just going to more of the same. But it does help drive home the point we’ve been making: the underlying opposition to the common core is being driven by far right-wing extremists and religious fundamentalists. It’s disappointing that folks here in Montclair have decided to ally themselves with that cause in pursuit of their own political agendas.

The Millburn Short Hills Special Education Committee (M-SPEC) and Preserve Our Schools will be co-hosting a community program, “What Will Common Core Mean for Your Child?” on Wednesday, June 4, at 10 a.m. for parents and community members about the Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI) and the new PARCC testing to begin implementation in the 2014-15 school year.

The program will be held at the Millburn Free Public Library with guest speaker Carolee Adams.

So, who is Carolee Adams? Well, for starters, she’s the head of the Eagle Forum in New Jersey, a right-wing, xenophobic, anti-feminist, extremist group. This is pretty much par for the course with their thinking about things:

“Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.”

And, as we’ve blogged before, the Eagle Forum also has some particular thoughts to share about common core!

Phyllis Schlafly, who founded the Eagle Forum in 1972 to fight the feminist movement and the proposed Equal Rights Amendment, also has found in the Common Core a new battlefield in the culture war. She has crusaded against it for three years through her columns, radio shows and Eagle Forum affiliates across the country. Sounding much like those in the Patriot movement, she claims it will bring this country a totalitarian government.

Other Eagle Forum leaders also wave the New World Order/Agenda 21 red flag. In an interview published on the Patriot website Renew America in March 2013, the president of Eagle Forum Palm Springs, Christina Michas, linked the Common Core to “the ultimate goal” of setting up “internment or re-education camps for those that will not comply with their sick agenda. You either are ‘retrained’ or you will have to be eliminated.”


Last August, Schlafly wrote a letter to Catholic bishops warning them to stay away from the Common Core. She blasted the standards for “active promotion of gay marriage, and other federal efforts designed to dismantle moral society. … We cannot remain complacent as this administration takes aim at our children.

We can expect much of the same tomorrow from Carolee Adams. On common core, she’s all about “managed economy” and other “socialist” conspiracies. “Bill Ayers” etc, etc. We took it upon ourselves to watch this video of her talking (rambling and ranting about socialism and conspiracy theories, really) about common core. We don’t recommend it. For a sense of how delusional she is, at one point she claims the Department of Education has a budget of a trillion dollars, as part of her argument to get rid of it.

Unfortuantely, this kind of misleading rhetoric is pretty par-for-the-course with the anti-common core gang, whether it’s coming from the right or the left.

But back to Adams. In the same view of the bed-common-core-opponents-have-made argument we’ve made here, here, and here, here’s a few of her recent hits.

A little after 11 a.m. on a very gray day in Midtown Manhattan, in front of the Mexican Consulate on East 39th Street, Carolee Adams, president of the Eagle Forum of New Jersey, took to the bullhorn to deliver the first speech of the morning, an almost entirely incoherent discourse on the scourge of illegal immigration. 

Her husband had died after 9/11 of asbestos-related cancer, she said, so America needs a more secure border with Mexico. (Hers is a personal tragedy, to be sure, but has nothing to do with Mexico or border security.) Illegal immigrants are sexual predators, she added. And illegal immigrants don’t assimilate. What’s more, Republicans had better watch out because she and other voters are fed up and are going to vote for whomever Lou Dobbs tells them to next time around.


And some more from her about immigration:

Governor Rick Perry is not this Jersey Girl’s candidate – and the primary reason concerns his softness about illegal immigration. We need thousands of boots on the ground – and – a wall with electronic surveillance at our borders. Governor Perry supports only the former and, to what degree, I have not heard.

She even criticized Perry for meeting with Latino leaders. She found it “curious” that he would sit down to talk with a minority group… 

Perry met with Latino leaders – in particular, of the New York State Federation of Taxi Drivers. Politically, it’s not problematic to reach out to the Latino community and those who are discouraged by the Obama administration that attacks their livelihood. However, traditionally, that community represents a large Democratic voting block. They might be helpful to a nominee in the General Election, but not in the GOP Primary that Perry must win first. His visit is curious. 

Or how about the time she opposed a muslim appointee by Chris Christie because…Sharia! Fellow right-wingers called her a hero:

One of the real heroes in this story is the courageous Carolee Adams. She is everything Chris Christie should be, but isn’t.

“To many of us, this was political expediency, trying to court favor with a growing population, and that’s not what the judiciary is supposed to be about,” said Carolee Adams, president of the Eagle Forum of New Jersey, a conservative group.She spoke against Mr. Mohammed at his Senate confirmation hearing. . . . Ms. Adams said she’s been disappointed with Mr. Christie, saying he surrounded himself with liberal appointments. She said Mr. Christie’s dismissal of his critics meant he was “ignorant” of Sharia law.


The Star-Ledger editorial board had a slightly different take on her…

Insulting, racist, narrow-minded stuff from lunatics who consider themselves patriots.

Carolee Adams, president of the Eagle Forum of New Jersey, took another approach, but it was just as questionable. She fired up the fog machine and challenged Mohammed’s qualifications, his defense of people detained in the aftermath of 9/11 and his affiliation to the American Muslim Union. She then connected far-afield dots to a controversial imam.

Her conclusion: “Gov. Christie has questionably seen fit to dishonor that day of infamy, and its still grieving nation” by nominating Mohammed. Adams had nothing concrete, so, in the end, she labeled the appointment “political expediency” that is “trying to court favor with a growing population.”

Under that logic, of course, there could be no Hispanic, Indian or Asian appointments, either. But white guys? Probably okay with them.

We wish this was surprising. We’ve said this before, but it’s still worth saying it again and again: this is the kind of rhetoric that is driving opposition to Common Core, and even if opponents of it here in Montclair say it’s not them, the fact is that it’s the movement – and the people – that they’ve joined up with.  


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