Glenn has been covering the Common Core curriculum for months now – exposing little known facts about the system that is seeks to amend the nation’s educational schema.
Based on the media attention the education system has garnered, it is should come as no surprise that many parents are up in arms. In Florida, parents are planning to protest a national Common Core conference that is supposed to be hosted later this month by The Center for College & Career Readiness. FreedomWorks, a non-profit organization, agreed to help these Florida parents by providing the resources for a grassroots-training program during their rally.
On radio this morning, Glenn spoke with the FreedomWorks director of grassroots initiatives, Whitney Neal, who explained that the Ritz Carlton in Orlando cancelled the conservative group’s reservations — after the group had already paid for and booked the space.
Neal explained FreedomWorks chose the Ritz Carlton because it is next to the J.W. Marriott that is hosting the Common Core conference. “We set this up with the hotel next door to where they're having the convention,” she said, “booked the contract, paid for everything, and yesterday we're asked to no longer host our event there.”
“We told them it was moms and dads and grandmas and concerned citizens who really just wanted to learn,” she continued. “This is a learning opportunity and we were giving them, you know, information and skills. It's a small group. You know, it's very small in comparison to the group they were having at the other hotel… I was explaining free speech also.”
The Ritz Carlton has since responded to Neal’s claims and provided TheBlaze their account of what happened.
But the hotel says the decision to cancel was based on safety concerns. In a separate interview with TheBlaze, Michelle Valle, a representative for both hotels, explained that the Ritz and the JW Marriott have the same owners and that they are considered part of the same resort. Thus, issues pertaining to one campus would certainly impact the other.
And according to Valle, who handles PR for both venues, partisan angst wasn’t at the center of the cancellation. Instead, the spokeswoman notes that there was a serious crowd-control issue presented by the publication and advertisement of the protest on social media.
“So [the Ritz is] refunding your money now ten days out because they were so concerned about the J.W. Marriott and they seem to not really understand that, you know, you have a right to gather peacefully,” Glenn said to Neal. “They have a right to not accept your money and not sign a contract, but they were in a contract.”
With just over a week to go, the group has no place to hold their event. Glenn asked Neal to explain what kind of space FreedomWorks is looking for.
“Well, our original space was for about 100 activists to do training. You know, there are other activists that are coming in town to actually hold their rally, but for our training we were predicting about 100,” she said. “I don't know. There may be more now that this is getting some attention, but we would love to and welcome anyone who wants to learn about Common Core and, you know, get equipped to go educate their community.”
If there are any hotels in the area that have a space to accommodate the event, Neal asked that they contact her via the FreedomWorks office. “I would happily speak with them about this opportunity because we are 10 days out and we have people coming from multiple states. It wasn't just Florida,” Neal explained. “These were people who were planning to stay at this hotel and they're driving from Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee to attend.”
There are certainly two sides to every story, but, ultimately, Neal feels that FreedomWorks and this event were politically targeted. “We are seeing this happen around the country – the pro-Common Core group sees that citizens are aware and concerned about these standards and the surrounding requirements,” she told TheBlaze. “I feel that the large convention next door was concerned about our event.”