Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Common Core Proponents Mount - Yet Again - A Public Relations Offensive

Politico's Stephanie Simon writes that Common Core Federal Standards proponents are putting together a new P.R. offensive:

Supporters of the Common Core academic standards have spent big this past year to persuade wavering state legislators to stick with the new guidelines for math and language arts instruction. Given the firestorm of opposition that took them by surprise, they consider it a victory that just five states, so far, have taken steps to back out.

But in a series of strategy sessions in recent months, top promoters of the standards have concluded they’re losing the broader public debate — and need to devise better PR.

So, backed with fresh funding from philanthropic supporters, including a $10.3 million grant awarded in May from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, supporters are gearing up for a major reboot of the Common Core campaign.

“We’ve been fighting emotion with talking points, and it doesn’t work,” said Mike Petrilli, executive vice president of the Fordham Institute, a leading supporter of the standards. “There’s got to be a way to get more emotional with our arguments if we want to win this thing. That means we have a lot more work to do.”

Step one: Get Americans angry about the current state of public education.

To that end, expect to start hearing from frustrated college students who ended up in remedial classes even though they passed all their state tests and earned good grades in high school. “These kids should be as mad as hell” that the system failed them, Petrilli said.

Expect poignant testimonials, too, from business owners who have tried to hire kids from the local high school only to find they can’t do tasks involving basic math, such as separating out two-thirds of a pile of lumber.

Step two: Get voters excited about the prospects of change. Teachers who like the standards are going to be sharing more concrete examples of benefits they see in their classrooms. Groups representing minority students will likely be more vocal, too. The National Council of La Raza, for instance, is promoting a new video featuring a little girl who credits the standards with teaching her the word “whimsical.”

And there will be a whole lot more from the pro-Common Core side on social media, including Pinterest pages full of student work. A coming Twitter blitz will aim to stir up buzz for a new video that tracks a debate between four people who at first seem to want very different things from their schools — but end up discovering they all support the standards. The video, produced by an Arizona coalition, doesn’t once mention the well-worn talking points “academic rigor” or “international benchmarks.”

“The Common Core message so far has been a head message. We’ve done a good job talking about facts and figures. But we need to move 18 inches south and start talking about a heart message,” said Wes Farno, executive director of the Higher State Standards Partnership, a coalition supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.

In short, expect lots of emotional manipulation in the coming wave of corporate-funded pro-CCSS ads and social media blitz.

The ironic thing is, we just heard two months back about how Common Core proponents were sick of losing the message war over Common Core and were devising a corporate-funded pro-CCSS ad campaign to change the trajectory of the war:
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.
Guess the localized ad offensive in New York didn't take, eh?

Judging by the latest Siena poll released last week in which 49% of New Yorkers said they want to see Common Core implementation ended, that pro-CCSS ad blitz did not take.
So now it's on to a national ad campaign and social media blitz, one aimed at the "heart" and not the "head" (i.e., one meant to manipulate heart strings.)

I dunno, pro-CCSS groups have a lot of corporate backing and thus a lot of money to throw around.
But I think the messaging war has already been lost long ago.

CCSS proponents were arrogant from the start, they imposed the standards with little input or say from the public, they tried to marginalize critics as "kooks" and "tinfoil hatters" rather than admit to any problems with the Core or the ancillary reforms that came with it, and they never responded well to charges that a coterie of wealthy business interests and individuals were the primary backers and proponents of the CCSS reforms.

Now Common Core supporters think they can win back the hearts, if not the minds, of Americans through an ad campaign and social media blitz funded by the very coterie of wealthy business interests critics and opponents have pointed out were behind the CCSS reform agenda in the first place?

Good luck with that.

I'm not saying manipulation and propaganda can't win a message war.

But they have to be deployed early enough, often enough and skillfully enough, and to be honest, Common Core proponents and supporters didn't do any of those things.

War's over, folks.

You could see that clearly in the response to Glenn Beck's anti-CCSS national townhall last week as well as how quickly even blue states like New York have turned against the Core.

1 comment:

  1. Blah blah Blahhhh blasaahhhh blah more shit from fake people. Come on down to my high school in the south Bronx and see the shit in person. U wanna pretend that welfare recipients who have no father and live with 12 siblings in a 1 BR apt, have a chance? U wanna pretend that common core is going to help these kids? U wanna pretend that there r qualified principals in the south Brinx? What a freakin JOKE this whole BS educational shit system is. 2 out of 3 principals in the Bronx can't write a perfect memo and/or speak perfect English. How bout hiring a non Dominican administrator? AH HAA HAAA HA HA HAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!