ALBANY—Critics of the Common Core in New York have been winning the debate about the controversial education standards, but now they'll face a counterattack backed by a considerable investment.
High Achievement New York, a nonprofit coalition of mostly business groups, plans to launch a roughly $500,000 phone and digital advertising campaign over the next several weeks in an attempt to promote the controversial curriculum standards.
While most of the coalition members are business groups, including several chambers of commerce, the membership also includes advocacy groups that have been vocal in supporting the Common Core and other education reforms, including Educators4Excellence and StudentsFirstNY. The latter has been a major supporter of charter schools.
A spokesman for High Achievement New York would not disclose information about the nonprofit's finances. The spokesman said the bulk of the funding will be grants from philanthropic organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Helmsley Charitable Trust. The group has applied for grants and expects to receive them.
Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Gates Foundation and some astroturf education reform groups funded by Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Gates Foundation - you just can't get more grassroots than that, can you?
Bakeman calls the $500,000 for the pro-CCSS campaign a "considerable investment," but given how much money these groups have and given how much they have spent in the past on other education reform efforts, I think that they're only spending $500K on this campaign is quite telling.
In the end, I don't think a half million dollars for pro-CCSS robocalls and a digital ad campaign is going to move the needle much on the opposition to Common Core.
If they really wanted to try and persuade people to their cause, they'd go up with a coordinated TV ad blitz the way Moskowitz did over the charter co-locations and put millions behind it.
Even then, I don't think they'd move too many people over to their side, given that the CCSS issue doesn't give ad makers the built-in melodrama the co-location issue gave the Moskowitz ad makers ("Why does Mayor de Blasio hate our children?")
That they're only ponying up $500,000 for the pro-CCSS phone and digital ad campaign tells you that even Gates and Helmsley are starting to lose faith in winning the CCSS propaganda battle.
They're making the effort, sure, but if they really wanted to win, they'd be throwing Moskowitz money into this propaganda war.