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The EdFly Blog

Truth. As in, you can’t handle it.

The EdFly Blog

I’m growing weary of the constant circulation – willfully or ignorantly – of inaccurate information about Common Core State Standards.  And I’m not just talking about the swirling from those in education circles who are either misinformed or uninformed as to the impact the standards will have on classic literature.  As a conservative, I’m  already tired of the more recent swirl from those in political circles who wrongly assign credit of the development of these standards to big, bad Washington.

Reading the latest “shots from the hip” from the newest Common Core nay-sayers, I couldn’t help but hear the voices of Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise in my head.  So, with apologies to A Few Good Men 

Me: You want answers?!

Nay-sayers: We want the truth!

Me: You can’t handle the truth! We live in a world that has walls, and those walls have to be guarded by an educated workforce. Who’s gonna do it? You? You? I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom!

You weep for States who you perceive as “victims” and you curse the Federal Government’s “interference.” You have that luxury. You have the luxury of not knowing what I know: that Little Johnny’s failure, while tragic, could have been avoided.  He could have been saved from a mediocre job with little-to-no pay and a life of government dependence, if only you had stepped down from your high horse. And my support for state-created and state-driven standards, while grotesque and incomprehensible to you, is part of an effort to save students from those failed lives!

You don’t want the truth, because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall! You need me on that wall! We use words like “national standards”, “voluntary”, “globally competitive”. We use these words as the backbone of a life spent defending the belief that all children can learn. You use them –inaccurately – as an excuse to bash the Feds.

I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to nay-sayers who rise and sleep under the blanket of an education reform agenda, and then question the manner in which I ensure it! I would rather you just said “Thank you,” and went on your way. Otherwise, I suggest you give up the bashing of a critically important reform simply because your political enemy endorsed it.

About the author

Mary Laura Bragg

Mary Laura serves as the Interim Vice President of Advocacy for the Foundation for Excellence in Education. A former classroom teacher, Mary Laura directed Governor Jeb Bush’s statewide literacy initiative, Just Read, Florida! As director, she was responsible for crafting and implementing the policies that helped place a command focus on reading instruction in Florida. She has served on advisory groups on adolescent literacy for both the Alliance for Excellent Education and the National Governors Association. She is also a member of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s Advisory Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy. Contact Mary Laura at

9 responses to “Truth. As in, you can’t handle it.”

  1. jlw says:

    Oh goodness Mary Laura, even invoking the name of Tom Cruise isn’t going to change the fact that the facts are not on your side – that it is you who can’t handle the truth. I think it very indicative of the movement for the Core, however, to use fantasy as apologist for fantasy. I do hope and pray you will awaken and see the threat to individual liberty inherent in this craziness, but I’m not holding my breath, nor am I resting in my fight against it….unless I take a break to watch “Die Hard” one more time…

  2. Jim Wisdy says:

    I dont expect to hear truth about education from anyone associated with your outfit, moreover, one who is a “former classroom teacher”. Normally one specifies exactly how long they endured this grueling job title as a badge of honor. A badge of honor that is earned, not necessarily because of our loyalty to our kids (that’s really not all that hard – especially if a teacher finds themselves lucky enough to teach in the suburbs), but a badge of honor that is earned because we have to put up with organizations like your own. And for your information, “Johnny” isn’t failing and never has been. This is a lie advertised by your organization, among others, that helps you steal public funds from our public schools for profit (See Jeb’s brother for a great example – and not the one who was president) Tyrone is the one failing because of a country that fails to solve the income inequality and lack of class mobility that plague this country now more than ever. If organizations like yours really cared, they would stop blaming the schools and teachers for Tyrone’s failure and work to improve our close to 25% child poverty by demanding corporations offer respectable middle class jobs, like the ones our parents enjoyed (manufacturing, etc…), rather than harp on teachers and schools who are blamed because Tyrone grew up in the ghetto, didn’t even know his father, has only heard 8000 words before entering kindergarden (as opposed to his white counterpart who has heard 20000), doesnt even know his ABC’s when entering kindergarten, and has been exposed to conditions that have damaged his psyche beyond repair (see “PTSD”). But by all means though, carry on, your lies about “Johnny” are very lucrative as you peer down from your ivory tower, after kissing the right people’s butt, and while I work in conditions that few college graduates even have the stomach to endure for even 5 years.

  3. A. Williams says:

    I think you need to re-watch that movie. This is the speech in which the Jack Nicholson character incriminated himself because he thought he was
    above the law. It’s just another way of saying that the ends justify the
    means… that breaking the law is okay if you have a good enough reason. It didn’t hold up in that movie court any better than it will
    here. If you watch to the end you see what happened to the soldiers
    who were held accountable for their actions even when acting on the
    orders of their superior. The feds don’t have the constitutional right to control standards, even if they do it with RttT money and NCLB waivers instead of legislation, and the National Governor’s Association and CCSSO who control the standards are not constitutional representatives of the states. This is not state-led, and having good standards, better standards, different standards is not dependent on the CCSS and certainly does not justify circumventing the processes intended to leave these kinds of decisions to the actual “States, respectively, or to the people” as the Constitution clarifies.

  4. doc hayduke says:

    Don’t know you, but it’s quite possible that you’ve gone off the deep end. Is this a serious blog or some sort of satire? You’ve literally got to be kidding me?

  5. This is one reason the “establishment” is failing. Keep treating us “little people” like we’re idiots. Yep, that’s the way to win friends and influence people. You may not want to know the truth, but the truth is even as an average person I can research learn when you’re telling me the truth, and when you’re blowing smoke.

  6. Although I, too, am a conservative and normally do not agree with many liberal/leftist policies, I can’t help but thinking that I want the students in my state (Tennessee) to be held to same standards as students in other states. The CCSS have been thoroughly researched. Until someone comes up with a better plan, this is by far superior to anything out there so far.

  7. Care to share who “thoroughly researched” Common Core? I can’t find any. All I see are companies and foundations that will benefit from Common Core being implemented. All children should be held to standards, high standards. We should expect more from our kids and that starts at home. NOT the government! You expect us to TRUST the government? What a fine job they are doing in the department of standards.

  8. Care to share who “thoroughly researched” Common Core? I can’t find any. All I see are companies and foundations that will benefit from Common Core being implemented. All children should be held to standards, high standards. We should expect more from our kids and that starts at home. NOT the government! You expect us to TRUST the government? What a fine job they are doing in the department of standards.

  9. AnEducator says:

    Do you remember the next part of the movie? The part that happens after A. Williams correctly enlightened you on how Nicholson incriminates himself? The scene goes on like this, Downey: “What did we do wrong? We did nothing wrong.”
    Dawson: “Yeah, we did. We were supposed to fight for people who could not fight for themselves. We were supposed to fight for Willie.” That is why I vow to fight for public education and protect both my students as well as my own children from education reformers like yourself and anything Jeb Bush’s organization does in the false premise name of Ed reform.

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