Carol Burris, experienced educator and Executive Director of the Network for Public Education, reacted to the article in Fortune about corporate support for the Common Core. Her message to CEO Rex Tillerson: “Leave our children alone.”


Burris wrote a personal letter to Rex Tillerson, the CEO of ExxonMobil. Tillerson was quoted in the Fortune article, complaining that American schools turn out “defective products.” For unknown reasons, he is convinced that the Common Core will fix those “defective products” (i.e., students) and make them “college and career ready.” Why does he think so? Well, important people say so, and that’s proof enough for Rex.


Burris’ message to Rex: leave our children alone. They are children, not products.


She writes:


Your Dickensian thinking has been “outed” and this holiday season, you are as welcome as the ghost of Christmas past. The common-folk for whom the Core you adore was designed, do not like it—only 24 percent of public school parents want it used in their school. And they certainly do not like to hear their children referred to as “defective products.” Mr. Tillerson, you have made the mommies and daddies mad.


I understand their reaction must confound you. In a world in which your corporation has been declared a person, one might mistake human children for products to consume. When we humanize the inanimate, it is easy for the humanity of the animate to slip away.


Take that, Rex. Very bad PR for Exxon. What is “good will” worth to your corporation? When you make the parents and teachers mad, you make a big mistake. A gaffe. A PR disaster.