no planA few month’s ago Jay P. Greene wrote about the lack of a cohesive plan for the common core proponents.

It’s amazing how some very smart people can commit billions of dollars and  untold human effort to something like Common Core without having thought the thing through.  How exactly did they think this was going to work?  Didn’t they have meetings?  Didn’t someone have to write a paper articulating the theory of change?  Didn’t any of them ever take political science classes or read a book on interest group behavior?

He made reference to a South Park episode with gnomes who had a brilliant plan to steal underpants and sell them for a profit. The problem was they had no idea how that would actually work.

You would think that some 7-8 years after Achieve Inc. put out their American Diploma Project that was, according to Achieve President Michael Cohen’s testimony in NY this past fall “the foundation for the development of  the Common Core Standards” that someone would have come up with a detailed plan for how they were going to affect the biggest fundamental shift in public education ever attempted.

Instead the plan went something like this:

1.  Gather a group of unqualified individuals who have never written a standard in their life to assemble a set of k-12 standards based on the input of a few testing company employees who were pretty sure they could test for these standards.

2. Sneak the standards in to as many states as we can using money or something like a waiver from our last hair brained idea as an incentive.

3. Tell everyone go??

4. Announce success!

Step 4 seems to be a bit illusive at this point. Could it be the weakness of step 3?

Someone finally came up with a plan, or something like  plan. Enter the Council of Chief State School Officers Deputy Executive Director Carissa Miller. They are very concerned about HSLDA’s soon to be released movie “Building The Machine” and want to be sure everyone is braced for impact.

“From: Carissa Moffat Miller
Subject: Anti Common Core Movie, embargoed materials
Chiefs, Deputies, Federal Liaisons and Communication Directors:

Many of you are likely aware of an anti-common core movie slated to be released in a few days. The Home School Legal Defense Association, a Virginia-based organization opposed to the Common Core, has produced a film called “Building the Machine.” The film’s anticipated online release date (which has changed several times), is currently set for March 31, 2014. The film implies that the Common Core was created through politics, misinformation and corruption. Using stark graphics and ominous music, the film features interviews with Common Core opponents arguing against the standards’ development and implementation—interspersed with misleading snippets of interviews from Common Core supporters.  You can watch a trailer for the film here.<>

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fordham have put together the attached two documents that can be used to clarify the vast amount of misinformation that will be circulated as a result of the movie. Please note – these are EMBARGOED until Monday, March 31st. Please do not distribute.” (oops)

It seems that the US Chamber of Commerce has decided they have to  do something more than provide the same old weak talking points that mean nothing to parents whose children have suddenly been diagnosed with learning disorders (formerly known as normal developmental progress), laziness or undue influence of angry white suburban moms. They have put together a movie to tell all of us how wrong we are and how clear their crystal ball is. Her letter continues:

“In addition to these two documents, the U.S. Chamber is in the final stages of producing their own Common Core mini-documentary. This will provide the pro-Common Core side and will also be ready early next week. In collaboration with organizations from all over the country, the video will feature education reformers, teachers, chamber leaders, and business representatives, showing the unified support for Common Core across generations, political lines, and states.”

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or needs. Below we’ve include some tips for messaging and responding to the critical questions this film may generate in your state. We will send out the Chamber video when it is released.


I smell popcorn coming early next week. I can’t wait to see the movie that tells us how great the results of common core will definitely be when Michael Cohen and Bill Gates have both said we won’t know the results of the education experiment for at least 10 years.

So here is their advice to CC proponents.

Messaging and Response Tips:

  • Stay positive: Reiterate your positive messaging on the standards in your state, as well as the reasoning behind your state’s decision to adopt the Common Core. Remind people of your state’s educational needs and aspirations, and why the Common Core makes sense for achieving your goals for student success.
  • Avoid going on the defensive: Emphasize positive messages and the realities of the Common Core in your state – steer clear of messages that fuel a negative conversation.
  • Prepare your champions: Provide your key advocates (such as selected educators, teachers and parents) with a messaging framework to effectively communicate their perception of and experience with the Common Core. Encourage advocates to use personal anecdotes to support their points.
  • Share informative resources: Separate fact from fiction, using Common Core background materials to help set the record straight. Examples include this Common Misconceptions page<> from the Foundation for Excellence in Education, or this Policy Points fact sheet<> from ASCD. In addition, this illustrative video<> from the Council of the Great City Schools provides an animated overview of what the standards are, why they were created—and how they help ensure students measure up with those in other states and countries. Sample social media posts are included below:

And for those who are fans of social media, be on the look out for these tweets coming to a Twitter near you soon.

Tweet: Questions about #CommonCore and what it means for students in [STATE]@ExcelinEd addresses common misconceptions

Tweet: Handy resource from @ASCD clarifies what #CCSS are and are not, and tackles these myths head-on #edu

Tweet: .@GreatCitySchls<mailto:.@GreatCitySchls> video explains how #CCSS will help students learn what they need to know for graduation and beyond

Facebook: The Council of the Great City Schools brings #CommonCore to life in an animated video that explains how the new standards will help students achieve at higher levels

Carissa Moffat Miller
Deputy Executive Director


Stay Tuned Tomorrow for the talking points that we will hear echoed by every major Chamber member and media outlet next week supporting common core.


The Gates Foundation funding for US Chamber:

(click to enlarge)

US chamber and gates

Funding for Fordham Institute from Approximately $1.9 Million




Anne Gassel

Anne has been writing on MEW since 2012 and has been a citizen lobbyist on Common Core since 2013. Some day she would like to see a national Hippocratic oath for educators “I will remember that there is an art to teaching as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy and understanding are sometimes more important than policy or what the data say. My first priority is to do no harm to the children entrusted to my temporary care.”

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