what do the parents say
What do Parents say?

If you are not familiar with What Does the Fox Say video performed by Ylvis, a Norwegian group, watch it here:

It was a viral hit last year and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a think tank which has received Bill Gates funding for its research into Common Core, perhaps thought it would have a bit of fun with various education experts/writers and reiterate its mission of promoting The Common Core State Standards Initiative in a parody of the original video:


Unlike the original video which has had over 330,000,000 million views since September 2013, the Fordham Institute has had 4,600, with a little less than half of the “voted on” views as negative.

Michael Petrelli was a witness for Missouri DESE in a House Interim committee testifying for the CCSS Initiative.  This transformational educational reform is expensive, not based on research/data, creates national standards and bypassed voters and legislators in its adoption for Missouri school districts.  The legislators asked many questions to Commissioner Nicastro and Petrelli asking for clarification on these serious subjects.  Does this Gadfly (name of the Fordham newsletter, Education Gadfly Weekly) video engender legislative trust in Fordham to direct/develop education for Missouri children?  Should Missouri legislators think that employees of an education think tank funded by Bill Gates Foundation yelling “no small class size” and “Common Common Common Core”  be taken seriously?  As one commenter wrote on the youtube site:

The hubris that leeches out of these obnoxious know-nothings is, at the same time, appalling and disappointing. You say “no” to smaller class size for what reason, again? Is it from your experience with a wide-range of learning styles and developmental levels? Your knowledge of child psychology? PLEASE stay out of my classroom, charlatans. “Think Tank?” Hardly.

Peter Greene in Curmuducation wrote about the video and wondered why Fordham thought it necessary to take such a satirical look at Common Core.  From  The Gadfly Made a Video [Updated]:

Mike Petrilli over at Fordham went and made himself a wacky video. And it is…um… Well, remember when your sad uncle used to get drunk and dance with the stuffed animals in your sister’s room? This is…um… well, it has higher production values. And it tells us way more about these folks than they probably meant to share.

Petrilli is the junior half of Finn and Petrilli, the thought leaders who have steered Fordham Institute to a leadership role in education reform based on… well, based on something. They most recently scored big by getting a bundle of Gates money to examine CCSS and another bundle to help spread the word how awesome CCSS is. So kind of like one of those labs that does research on health effects of tobacco sponsored by R J Reynolds. I’m not going to unpack all of that here– you can read a much more thorough account by the invaluable Mercedes Schneider on her blog.

Bottom line: these guys are members of the Masters of Reforming Our Nation’s Schools club.

You can watch the video here. Or you can save that pleasure until after reading about it. Or you can just never watch it ever. I’m going to talk about what we can learn about these folks from this video, and while it may seem like I’m making some big stretches based on just a little 2:20 clip, it’s becoming apparent over the course of this blog that that is what I do. So here we go.

Greene then details the video and offers his thoughts.  His final three paragraphs sum it up on how many parents/taxpayers, teachers and legislators think about educational reformers who are making plans for their children, jobs and school districts without their approval/knowledge:

Final effect? People making wacky shenanigans out of policy ideas that are being used to destroy public education? It’s a hard thing to parse– how would “Springtime for Hitler” have come across if it had been staged by the Nazis themselves? I am not meaning to suggest that Fordham = Nazis, but I do wonder what we’re to make of people making themselves look more ridiculous that we could make them look on purpose.

It is part of the tone deafness problem. I want to shake them and say, “Did you not see this? Do you not know how you look, both awkward and opposite-of-cool, while making jokes about policies being used to destroy peoples’ careers?” Somehow while shooting for cool and relaxed and with it, they’ve hit uncool and callous, thereby suggesting that they are imbued with so much hubris and arrogance that they either can’t see or don’t care (because only unimportant people will be bothered, and they don’t matter). Perhaps Petrilli and his well-smooched tuchus have been insulated from honest opinions from so long that he just doesn’t know. This is the education industry equivalent of those bankers’ videos of obscenely wealthy parties, the Christmas cards from wealthy apartments, the total lack of understanding of what things are like out there on the street, because the street is just for the commoners who don’t matter.

It’s an oddly fascinating train wreck. Is it awesomely funny because it’s so awful, or is it too awful to be funny? Whatever the case, it gives a strong 2:20 feel for what sort of attitude permeates Fordham, and it is just as bad as we ever imagined. Maybe worse.


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