Friday, February 13, 2015

The selling of #CCRAP

In a previous post I compared the selling of PARCC to an as-seen-on-TV gizmo that promises to make your life perfect for only "3 easy payments of $19.95." But unlike the Veg-O-Matic, frustrated, white suburban moms, and parents of all colors in all locales, have quickly discovered that the cost of the PARCC and its conjoined twin, CCSS, is anything but easy. They're standing up and fighting back in droves. And that doesn't sit well with the folks who market and sell this hokum. So, as Anthony Cody recently reported, somebody created an easy-to-use "How to Talk About Testing" ad campaign guide complete with a cute little bunny rabbit graphic and a classroom-friendly layout and fonts. I guess they figure if they treat parents like second graders, all will be well. 

I wonder how many "easy payments of $19.95" this cost? And who created it? And who it's being sent to? 



Do yourself a favor and read the entire manual. It's short on content but long on laughs. Here's Mr. Bunny. Be careful! You don't want to fall down his rabbit hole of 'facts' now, do you?

Before I became an educator, I spent 15 years in advertising. It can be a sleazy business because it's not about presenting the facts; it's is about selling a product. And it's done by appealing to our base emotions and physical states; convincing us that our lives will be infinitely better with any given product. In advertising, the facts look really good in places like the disclaimer, the miles per gallon, or when "4-out-of-5-(fill in the blank)-recommend..."  

But watch out! Cute, little Mr. Bunny cautions you not to stray too close to them:


"Tell the best story you can about your state"? Okay, I've got one: Public schools have been underfunded to the tune of $6 billion... Oh wait, I can't do that 'cause that's not a 'story'; that's a fact. 

So are these 'reformy' stew ingredients, courtesy of Jersey Jazzman:


If the Common Core and PARCC were so amazing and transformational, they would sell themselves. Educators' jobs would be more—not less—meaningful. People would be clamoring to enter the profession, not leaving it sooner. Educators would be lined up at Pearson's front door to provide testimonials. The education blog-o-sphere would be busting at the seams with posts about the incredible transformation of their students, and the joyful classroom atmosphere in which that is occurring. Sadly, none of this is happening. In fact many classrooms are experiencing just the opposite.

The reform movement ad campaign is losing market share because they're selling a lousy product and parents know it. So they're doubling down on their efforts by spreading misinformation about funding cuts to their child's school or worse: how opting out will harm their child's educational future. But the facts simply aren't on their side.

So, dear parents, the next time a 'reformy' cheerleader sings the praises of the PARCC, the next time they promise it will magically make your child 'college and career ready'—even if that career is a stay-at-home-parent or a circus clown—the next time they tell you this amazing test will magically diagnose and cure all your child's learning problems or weed out all those 'bad teachers', demand the facts. Then sit back and listen...