Utah State School Board Propaganda Machine for One-Sided Common Core Campaign – Your Tax Dollars at Work   14 comments


Is this the proper role of government?

The Utah State School Board is using your tax dollars and mine to create a huge marketing machine with the aim to persuade all Utahns (utterly without legitimate evidence) that Common Core will not damage, but will improve education, and that Common Core has nothing to do with the federal government.

Is propaganda in the realm of the proper role of government? There are public-private partnerships that gain financially from the promulgation of Common Core. Our tax dollars are thus enriching companies we never voted into office and cannot vote out. It’s not just Pearson and Bill Gates; it’s Utah individuals and companies, too. This is corruption, in my humble opinion. We are not putting the kids and teachers first. We are putting pride, and money, and the illusion of money, first.

Precious, needed education dollars are now officially funding the Utah propaganda machine for Common Core. The machine is devoid of source documents or references, devoid of empirical evidence or pilot studies to support its “talking points” and it’s devoid of voter representation and academic legitimacy.

The machine has a “Communications Committee” including paid PR people specifically assigned to Tweet and Facebook message and email legislators, the governor and business leaders about Common Core. There are people specifically assigned to bend the ears of news editors and reporters to the official (socialist) line: pro-common core. There are people who are supposed to “supply schools” with “talking points” (not evidence, of course) to persuade parents, legislators and teachers how great Common Core will be.

Read pages 232-236 of the State School Board’s published agenda for August, the state board announces how it will “improve attitudes toward Utah’s Core Standards.” (Notice, they never call them Common Core.)

This propaganda machine was approved June 7th, 2013. It’s a done deal. So we taxpayers funded it, and now we get to sit back and watch it, like a gigantic, offensive press, as it spews its narrow, unbalanced, and false claims about Common Core.

The board’s goals include “increasing social media coverage” of Common Core by sending out daily Tweets and weekly Facebook updates about Common Core; making schools participate in “public messaging” to advocate for Common Core; making the public believe that there should be no “worries of federal intrusion.”

Its key audience: “Utah general public, Parents, Business community, licensed educators, administrators, officials; Higher education; Legislators, Governor’s Office, Delegates.”

The school board’s stated strategy is: to “increase USOE web, media and social media influence on the issue” and the measurement will be how many mass media stories they can count, accompanied by public opinion polls.

The board will “seek out opinion leaders within key groups (schools, PTAs, business partners including Prosperity 2020, social media and bloggers, legislators, party leadership, delegates, Governor’s Office personnel, local media personalities, etc.) and ask for…
endorsements through media outlets or personal contacts.”

Endorsements?!! Based on what?! Their charming smiles? Their positions of power? How about voter vetting or teacher analysis of the standards PRIOR to implementation? How about some evidence? How about a pilot study? How about something REAL? Excuse me while I run screaming from the room, pulling out my hair!

They will be using your tax dollars and mine to “contract with DTS in creating/designing a usbe.utah.gov webpage” and to assign a person to “Send out regular Tweets (daily) and Facebook updates (every 7-10 days) highlighting aspects of Utah’s Core Standards.”

They will, of course, “Provide talking points to help schools.” (Can’t educational institutions speak or think without USOE prompters?)

(Please notice that they will provide talking points, but won’t provide evidence or source documents– because no pilot studies or empirical testing has ever been done to legitimize claims that Common Core is academically valid. THE EMPEROR OF COMMON CORE IS WEARING NO CLOTHES. But the state board is hell-bent on persuading us that his clothes are mighty, mighty fine.)

The board also will “make Utah’s Core Standards part of their message during the Legislature’s annual back-to-school event”

They also plan to “initiate an advertising campaign in media to include newspapers, radio, etc. before the winter legislative session.

They will be using your tax dollars and mine to pay for a person to “send regular weekly e-mail updates from Board Chair or Superintendent to legislators and key business partners informing them of progress being made in schools.” Key business partners!? Is this about money? Or is it even a little bit about legitimate education for our children!?

They will be manhandling the PTA. “PTA liaison Templates, websites, etc. for local PTAs to access in order to be proficient with messaging,” and they will “create electronic distribution, handouts on Utah’s Core Standards and computer-adaptive testing (SAGE) for use in fall 2013 back-to-school meetings.”

They will also “seek out the inclusion of [Common Core] Utah’s Core Standards on the agenda of meetings such as P2020, Rotary, Chamber of
Commerce, etc.” I know there is no stupid question, but let me ask it anyway: what expertise exists at the Rotary club, or what research have members of the Chamber of Commerce done, to make them competent analysts and endorsers of one form of educational testing and standards over another?

The board will also work with PR leads in districts, charter, and regional service centers “to help local schools own” the messaging. They can’t “own” it. The D.C. groups who are utterly unaccountable to Utahns, own it. That’s the CCSSO, NGA, Achieve Inc., and Bill Gates grants which funded it, invented it, and own it. You can’t force an unfounded feeling of loyalty, but the state board aims to try.

The board plans to “take advantage of this spring’s last CRT tests, this fall’s first CAT formative tests, and next spring’s CAT summative test
to push mass media stories (newspaper, TV, radio coverage, radio and TV talk shows, etc.), especially stories centered in the classroom.

They will also “hold USBE/USOE news conference at a school with teacher/student participation to discuss the new test” after it’s taken next spring.

Some of us are wide awake. We will hear the radio ads, read the news articles, see the tweets, and laugh. Literally. So will our kids.

But how many people won’t see the humor? How many are still asleep to the monster of Common Core’s “education reform”? How many will hear this propaganda messaging and will swallow it?

How dare the Utah State School Board use my tax money in this illegitimate, one-sided, anti-intellectual way? This is not the proper role of government. I am fully disgusted with our state school board.

14 responses to “Utah State School Board Propaganda Machine for One-Sided Common Core Campaign – Your Tax Dollars at Work

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  1. The USOE is spending all its energy and all my money on the wrong end of this process. They should have put as much energy and planning into soliciting public input on the Common Core State Standards before they were fully adopted, as they are planning to put into selling the standards to us now that they are law. This is not the way representative government looks, implementing rules and then explaining to people why they should be happy with them. Surely there are some good people at the USOE who can look honestly at what they’ve been a part of facilitating and say, “Holy smokes! This isn’t how we want government to operate! We need to admit we liked this new set of standards so much we went about it all wrong, and we need to work to fix our process and never repeat this offense against representative government!”

  2. Thank you, Autumn. You are right. It’s the opposite of public service; it’s public disservice plus a slap in the face. We desperately need a different bunch of people in our state school board. But since voters only get to choose between two appointees that the governor whittles from a candidate pool selected by insiders, there is no way we can get actual representation in Utah’s school board. It is truly a crisis. But the voice of thousands of people who see this clearly can make a difference. It’s happening all across America. Indiana’s legislature halted Common Core implementation despite its school board. Michigan flat out defunded it. Pennsylvania has bills to allow private, religious and homeschools to opt out. We can change this, but we have to go above the heads of the board. They simply have dug in their heels and will not listen to the people. Pray that the Utah legislature will. And that the people speak out. Write, email, call our legislators. Every single week.

  3. Hello, Ladies,   I live in West Jordan and would be glad to pass out flyers, attend meetings, or do whatever I can to counter this movement.  Is anyone organizing action in my area, and what can I do?  Another question — where do we really stand with the Legislature?  Is any serious action pending?  What can we do to persuade them to take action?  I’m a homeschooler and haven’t been paying as much attention to the system as I should have, but I’m ready to get into the fight now.  Let me know where my efforts can be the most fruitful.  Thanks!   Sarah Wayman


    • Sarah, please come if you can to tomorrow’s state school board meeting at the USOE building in SLC at 8:30 a.m. Please sign the petition at Utahns Against Common Core. Please talk to your legislator and local school board about your feelings. Write a letter to the newspaper editor. Write an op-ed. Write your personal story and I will publish it here if you like. There is so much you can do. Thank you.

  4. In answer to your question: No, it is NOT the proper role of government. The proper role of government is not to force us into top-down solutions, the proper role of government is to protect our rights, leave local affairs to local jurisdiction, and implement bottom up programs that we the people want, vote on, vet, and approve. So yes, they have it exactly backwards.

  5. So when they call it Utah Core, are they meaning Common Core, but call it Utah Core so it looks like Utah still has the say over their curriculum? I am just trying to understand what they mean. Is Common Core fully implemented here in Utah?

    • Elisha, yes. The state school board calls it “Utah Core” so that it appears as if Utah still has the say over the curriculum. So far, the state has adopted common core math and English but will likely also add common core social studies and science unless there’s more of a public outcry. Common Core will be fully implemented this year, since the common core testing begins this fall in Utah schools to replace any previous state-only standardized tests. These are nationally aligned, common core aligned, tests, although they call them Utah’s test; the test is written by American Institutes for Research, a behavioral research company. We are not allowed to see the test questions and we know that the questions are subjective and that they ensure that all students get about 50 percent of the questions wrong, no matter how smart they are. You can opt your child out of these tests. Many people will opt out.

  6. Pingback: Even Salt Lake Police Will Root for Anti-Common Core Demonstration Friday at USOE: Teachers and Parents Against Common Core | COMMON CORE

  7. Pingback: Common Core: What the State Board Knew and What They Are Doing to Cover What They Didn’t Do About What They Knew | Every Home A School

  8. Pingback: Please Pray for the Defeat of Common Core | COMMON CORE

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