In his continued crusade against the Common Core education standards, Glenn Beck encouraged people across the country to boycott tests associated with Common Core, later declaring, “The day we’re all willing to peacefully go to jail like Martin Luther King, we will win.”
In a live broadcast to nearly 700 theaters nationwide, Beck and his fellow anti-Common Core “warriors” joined forces Tuesday night to “make Common Core history" (emphasis original) in a two-hour live movie titled We Will Not Conform. Those “warriors” included conservative commentator and notorious Common Core misinformer Michelle Malkin, hosts Dana Loesch and Pat Gray from Beck’s TheBlaze, “self-proclaimed historian” David Barton, Townhall columnist Terrence Moore, Jay Spencer of Liberty University (a sponsor of the event), and representatives from state-based groups waging war on Common Core.
The participants also included Matt Kibbe and Ellen Wheeler from FreedomWorks, a group which ”started out as the Koch-funded Citizens for a Sound Economy” and came under scrutiny last year “due to bizarre internal feuding and questions about its finances.” Former FreedomWorks chairman Dick Armey told Media Matters at the time that “the group wasted money by paying Glenn Beck $1 million … to fundraise for the organization.”
This live event is just the latest salvo in Beck’s campaign against the state-based education standards, which were originally adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia. Beck and co-author Kyle Olson released a book in May called Conform, which, in addition to baselessly attacking teachers and public schools for 222 pages, argued that Common Core helps progressives remove parents from their children’s lives. The day before the event, Beck compared Common Core to slavery.
We Will Not Conform was structured around five “working groups,” each tasked with formulating strategies for the different types of tools viewers could use to help defeat Common Core in their states: research and resources, politics, messaging, grassroots organizing, and alternatives to public schools. Many of the right-wingmedia’sfavoritemyths about Common Core were featured in these working groups, including accusations of the standards as a “national program” and “takeover of education,” of being “top-down” and “control-usurping,” and wanting to “cash in on your children.”
Some of the most egregious rhetoric from the evening included:
- Glenn Beck equating the fight against Common Core to "David versus Goliath," and saying that "The day we’re all willing to peacefully go to jail like Martin Luther King, we will win."
- Michelle Malkin asserting that Common Core turns kids into experimental “guinea pigs,” and declaring,"We’re locked and loaded."
- Terrence Moore claiming that "progressive education is trying to take away the great stories" of American education, which is not what “Thomas Jefferson” would have wanted.
- The Blaze’s Buck Sexton interviewing six parents and their children about their experiences with Common Core, asking the children questions like, "How many of you think Common Core is confusing, for no reason?" and "Big thumbs down for Common Core, huh?"
These attacks come as a few states are pulling out of Common Core. Coincidentally, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R), “previously a Common Core supporter,” signed legislation ”designed to replace the controversial Common Core academic standards” the same night as Beck’s event. States’ moves to repeal the standards come on the heels of extreme right-wing rhetoric from the likes of Beck, Malkin, and others.
At the end of the night, Beck encouraged viewers to “stand up” and “stay the course” because “our children’s future is at stake” and they “will thank you for it.” He also announced that a post-event action plan to “stop Common Core’s federal takeover of education” would be made available online.