Dr. Thompson fires back that tactic is "manipulative, race/religion-baiting, sociopathic and misleading" and demands that Sen. Lehman resign
MacIver News Service | November 5, 2013
[Madison, Wisc...] An African American professor, who recently testified against the Common Core standards, is demanding Sen. John Lehman (D-Racine) immediately resign from the State Legislature after the Senator questioned his integrity and his relationship to an outside group.
Dr. Gary Thompson, a Clinical Psychologist from Utah, was one of several experts on both sides of the issue invited to testify before the Wisconsin Select Committee for Review of the Common Core Standards Initiative. Thompson presented evidence and argued against the national standards that he claims would specifically hurt minority, gifted, and learning disabled students.
Lehman and Rep. Sondy Pope (D-Cross Plains) support the Common Core Standards Initiative and were outraged that the Republican co-chairs invited Thompson to speak, because his trip was allegedly funded by the John Birch Society.
According to Ruth Elmer and Edward Perkins, citizens from the Fox Valley, donations were raised from the Appleton area to pay for Dr. Thompson's travel expenses. Elmer and Perkins explained in a letter to the committee that the donations were given to the American Opinion Foundation (AOF) because, as an existing organization, they had the legal and accounting capability to pay for the trip. AOF is an affiliate of the John Birch Society.
"We needed a bank account of some sort into which we could place collected funds for safekeeping. We also had to have an efficient way to cut checks for travel reimbursements as those were needed. We asked Alan Scholl, whom we knew, if his organization, AOF could handle the accounting and disbursement. He graciously agreed to handle these tasks for us. At no time did AOF do anything but manage the donations of parents, grandparents, and other citizens," Elmer and Perkins wrote.
In a letter to Sen. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) and Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), Lehman and Pope wrote "We are certainly disappointed that this fringe organization has been invited by you to represent theoretically 'mainstream' opposition to the well-reasoned Common Core Standards."
When Thompson read that publicly released letter, he fired back. "Your manipulative, race/religion-baiting, sociopathic, misleading press release is a textbook example of what is wrong with American politics and is clearly a window into the mind of a warped individual who values the spotlight over serious discussions related to our nation's children," Thompson wrote.
During his testimony, Thompson mentioned his trip was paid for by the American Opinion Foundation. He later explained this included paying for his two-star hotel room and his coach airfare.
"After deliberately setting the tone of the hearing with an eye directed towards minimizing the scientifically irrelevant influences of politics and religion surrounding the issue at hand, I proceeded for the next 18 minutes to systematically, logically, and passionately dismantle SBAC/Common Core testing validation practices and procedures," Thompson stated in a letter to Lehman.
Thompson wrote later in his letter that Lehman only questioned who paid for his expenses, and had no relevant questions about his testimony on Common Core.
"So imagine my surprise during the questioning phase of the hearing that your only question to me was related to who paid for my testimony. I'm glad ABC News captured that "bizarre" (their words) exchange between us that is now going viral across the country. Your callous disregard surrounding the issues of child abuse and the struggles of minority and special needs children in public schools in Wisconsin will be forever memorialized on the Internet," Thompson wrote.
The John Birch Society, to which AOF is affiliated, is based in Appleton, Wisconsin. Their stated mission is "To bring about less government, more responsibility, and -- with God's help -- a better world by providing leadership, education, and organized volunteer action in accordance with moral and Constitutional principles."