Louisiana grassroots activists tell Breitbart News they warned a member of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s team last week that his name was listed on a pro-Common Core PAC’s website as a supporter of the “Unicorns Are Not Real” campaign, an effort to ridicule opponents of the controversial standards.
Huckabee, however, did not publicly state his name was used without permission at the Alliance for Better Classrooms’ pro-Common Core website until Monday, after Breitbart News’ story about the unicorn campaign was published, along with the fact that his name was listed among its supporters.
Central City Councilman Kim Fralick sent Breitbart News the email correspondence she had with Jenson Young of Huckabee’s team beginning on April 14:
On Apr 16, 2015, at 5:32 PM, Kim Fralick wrote:
Was disappointed to see Gov Huckabee’s name associated with this.
Sent from my iPad
Sent from my iPad
On Apr 14, 2015, at 2:33 PM, Huckabee <Jensen.Young@mhfa2016.com> wrote:
Take Care & God Bless,
Caryn Jenkins forwarded the following email she sent to Young on April 16 to Breitbart News:
Date: Thu, Apr 16, 2015 at 6:41 PM
Do you guys know that Gov. Huckabee’s name is being attached to this demeaning stunt by elitist special interest groups in Louisiana? So they feel that they can denigrate parents, students, and teachers that are fighting for our children?
Young responded Monday, four days later, after the Breitbart News report of the pro-Common Core campaign with Huckabee’s Facebook post in which he states his name was used without permission on the website:
From: Huckabee <Jensen.Young@mhfa2016.com>
Date: Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 2:56 PM
Subject: Huckabee Response
Wanted to make sure you got this.
Thank you for letting me know & keeping me updated!
Take Care & God Bless,
Sent from my iPhone
Begin forwarded message:
From: Jensen Young <email@example.com>
Date: April 20, 2015 at 2:53:01 PM CDT
From Gov. Huckabee’s Facebook pae a few mins. ago…
Take Care & God Bless,
Mike Huckabee3 mins ·
A pro-Common Core group is using my name without permission and attributing ideas to me that are wholly untrue. I have stated many times over that I oppose Common Core and anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or not telling the truth. I believe education is a family function, not a federal function – period.
Nothing is more emblematic of Washington arrogance and reckless central planning than Common Core. The federal government has stuck its obtrusive nose into local education and hijacked the system. We must kill Common Core and restore common sense.
Parent activist Crystal Bass-Bell forwarded the response she received from Young on April 16:
We don’t know what makes you believe Governor Huckabee is associated with this group, Crystal. He has stated many times that he does not support Common Core. We searched but could not find the page where Governor Huckabee is listed as a supporter of the PAC you referenced. You might be interested to read Governor Hukabee’s statement on Common Core:
In a statement to Breitbart News Monday night, J. Hogan Gidley, Senior Communications Advisor to Huckabee, said:
Over the years, Governor Huckabee has repeatedly called for the killing of Common Core through all his social media accounts, his Fox News television show and his radio broadcasts. Today, we learned about a shady internet attempt to try and misrepresent the Governor’s position and we immediately responded to correct the record.
Governor Huckabee believes education is a family function, not a federal function – period. Anyone who says otherwise is either misinformed or not telling the truth.
The Alliance for Better Classrooms website was discovered last week as discussion about education took center stage in the Louisiana legislature and a stuffed unicorn was placed on the desk of State Rep. Brett Geymann (R), who has spearheaded the anti-Common Core efforts in the Louisiana State House.
Louisiana parent and grassroots activist Anna Arthurs tells Breitbart News she understood more stuffed unicorns would be delivered to all lawmakers in the state. She said attached to the unicorn is a card with the group’s slogan, “Unicorns are not real and neither are most of the things you’ve heard about Common Core.”
Since the report, Louisiana state Sen. Conrad Appel and state Rep. Steve Carter had their names removed from the list of supporters of the campaign. Huckabee’s name has since been removed as well. The “Unicorns Are Not Real” supporters website now states, “The following have previously stated their support of Common Core State Standards.”
Breitbart News repeatedly contacted the law offices of James Donohue and Kirk Patrick, listed as registered agents of Alliance for Better Classrooms, but received no return calls, though an office assistant said they were the agents of the PAC.
Many opponents of the Common Core standards have been ridiculed by the reform’s supporters. For example, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R), also listed as a supporter on the “Unicorns Are Not Real” campaign, referred to the grassroots movement opposing Common Core as a “runaway internet campaign,” and “hysteria.”
Similarly, Bill Gates, whose foundation is the primary source of private funding of the Common Core, said last year that Common core opponents are “shrouded in myths.”
In 2013, U.S. Education Department Secretary Arne Duncan also referred to mothers opposing Common Core as “white suburban moms who — all of a sudden — their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”
In June of 2013, Sunshine State News reported that Huckabee “came out swinging…in defense of Common Core Standards in education,” and “sent a letter to lawmakers in Oklahoma, urging them to support Common Core.”
“It’s disturbing to me there have been criticisms of these standards directed by other conservatives including the RNC,” Huckabee wrote to the lawmakers. “The truth of the matter is, these criticisms are short-sighted.”
“Like many of you, I’ve heard the argument these standards ‘threaten local control’ of what’s being taught in Oklahoma classrooms,” he continued. “Speaking from one conservative to another, let me assure you this simply is not true. States and local school districts will determine how they want to teach kids, what curriculum to use, and which textbooks to use.”
“Common Core State Standards are a state-driven solution to address the large number of high school graduates who have to take remedial courses in college,” Huckabee said.
“From an economic and workforce development perspective, these standards are critical…Not only do these standards help the Oklahoma economy, they also help the families serving our country,” he added. “Children of military families will not fall behind when their parents, who’ve chosen to defend our freedom, are asked to move from Fort Benning, Ga., to Fort Sill in Lawton or Vance Air Force Base in Enid.”
“I hope you’ll join me and other conservatives, including many Oklahoma parents, educators and business leaders, in making it known these standards are valuable for our future,” Huckabee concluded. “They’re not something to be afraid of; indeed, they are something to embrace.”
As Breitbart News previously reported, Huckabee had been a supporter of the Common Core standards and attended a meeting at the end of 2013 of the Council of Chief State School Officers – one of the organizations that created the controversial standards. During his address to the school officers Huckabee urged them to get rid of the “Common Core” name because it had become “toxic.”
“Rebrand it, refocus it, but don’t retreat,” he said.
States that have largely rebranded – or renamed – the Common Core standards include Arizona, Iowa, Florida, and Indiana.
Regarding the mocking unicorn campaign in Louisiana, Jenkins said her state’s lawmakers are in a “very difficult and unique position that many of them have never experienced,” and observed the tenacity of grassroots activists.
“The effort by students, parents, and teachers across this state to get real and appropriate high standards have them under a political microscope,” she said. “We are watching and exposing their campaign contributions, their votes, and their political relationships. They are going to have to choose between listening to the citizens of this state or their campaign contributors.”