With the tide turning against the Obama administration-pushed Common Core nationalization of K-12 education, Big Business and powerful corporate lobbyists are dropping millions of dollars on a massive propaganda campaign aimed at defending the “progressive” educational establishment’s national school standards from the intensifying public uproar. The latest establishment outfits to join the war on outraged citizens across the political spectrum — mostly parents, teachers, and taxpayers seeking to preserve local control of education and promote proper schooling — include the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and their front groups.
Among other strategies, the Big Business lobbying groups launched what is being described as a “national advertising blitz” aimed specifically at Republicans who question or oppose the Obama-backed national standards. In theory, that should be all of them, since the Republican National Committee has added opposition to Common Core in its platform. Of course, liberals, progressives, teachers, and more have also been at the forefront opposing the scheme, albeit for different reasons in many cases.
In fact, one of the most remarkable elements of the opposition is how it spans across the entire political spectrum and obliterates traditional partisan divides. “Never have I found myself finding so much common ground with people who call themselves conservative and libertarians — we all agreed public schools were going to be ruined by this,” Dr. Mark Naison, a professor at Fordham University and co-founder of a fast-growing teachers’ alliance opposed to Common Core, told The New American. “This really represents the worst fantasies of both the right and left coming true: Big Government and Big Corporations imposing this terrible, untested, expensive plan using intimidation and bullying.”
Despite the trans-partisan nature of the escalating grassroots uprising against Common Core, it seems much of the latest Big Business campaign was directed at the conservative wing of the opposition, with ads running on Fox News, talk shows, and other media viewed as non-leftist. Corporate interests are also openly threatening to shower funds on politicians who support the standards, multiple elements of which were funded by U.S. taxpayers, to help counter the popular rebellion.
“Pro-Common Core commercials have been airing ad nauseam in a desperate attempt to persuade American families to support the beleaguered federal education standards/testing/technology racket,” observed influential conservative commentator Michelle Malkin in a column that has been widely reprinted across the conservative, traditional, and alternative media. “Who's funding these public relations pushes? D.C. lobbyists, entrenched politicians and Big Business interests.”
In a stinging exposé of the various innocently named AstroTurf outfits dropping big money on Common Core propaganda, Malkin reveals some of the names and special interests behind the slick new propaganda spree — including more than a few “Beltway barnacles,” former establishment political hacks-turned “influence peddlers.” Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush gets excoriated in the piece as well. Malkin points out that his pro-Common Core “Foundation for Excellence in Education” is “tied at the hip” to the federally funded testing regimes, and that one of its top corporate financiers is British publishing giant Pearson, currently profiteering on anything and everything Common Core.
The Big Business propaganda campaign is an attempt by mega-corporations to, as Politico put it, “undercut dire tea party warnings that the standards amount to a federal power grab, akin to Obamacare.” Indeed, the perceived similarities and parallels between the establishment’s Common Core takeover of education and the deeply unpopular federal healthcare takeover have even led to the standards scheme being referred to as “ObamaCore” among some activists. Along with the well-documented poor quality of the standards and the broader agenda behind Common Core, the loss of freedom and local control over schools has been among the chief rallying cries for the opposition.
However, despite the huge war-chests and the slick marketing and “public relations” gimmicks, it is not yet clear that Big Business lobbyists and their propaganda campaigns will be able to blunt the opposition at all — let alone stop it. Some analysts even suspect the plot will backfire altogether, as the underhanded scheme further exemplifies and solidifies the perception among Americans that Big Business and Big Government are in an unholy alliance aimed at subverting the Constitution and even self-government by, of, and for the people.
As with all propaganda, the latest round of Big Business lobbying on behalf of Obama’s education agenda involves more than its “fair share” of deception. For example, viewers subjected to the expensive advertisement blitz are unlikely to even realize that Big Business is funding it all. The commercials feature supposed teachers in classrooms who deceive the public by claiming that they are with the “Higher State Standards Partnership.” The “partnership,” it turns out, is actually nothing but a thinly veiled front group for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.
The Business Roundtable, which includes the CEOs of bailed-out mega-banks and deeply controversial foreign corporations, is going all in for its ham-handed campaign to browbeat furious citizens, parents, taxpayers, and their elected representatives. “State leaders, and the general public, need to understand why employers care about the Common Core,” claimed Dane Linn, vice president of the outfit and a key player in the nationalization of education. The powerful lobbying alliance is urging its members to work with “governors, committee chairs, House speakers, presidents of Senates,” and more to beat back the growing tsunami of public outrage and legislation aimed at stopping or undermining the controversial standards.
On education, the outfit’s self-described “priorities” read much like the Obama administration’s lawless policy initiatives outlined thus far — including deeper federal involvement across the board, even into pre-kindergarten. In fact, on a broad range of issues, the Business Roundtable and the Obama administration are closely aligned. Both are demanding “comprehensive immigration reform” including amnesty, for example. The administration and the Big Business lobbying group are also both advocating more sovereignty-subverting so-called free trade regimes.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, meanwhile, devoted more than $50 million to lobbying last year. Like the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber has also been a fervent supporter of the establishment agenda being pushed by Obama: amnesty, subversion of sovereignty through misnamed “free” trade regimes, taxpayer-funded bailouts, crony capitalism, bigger government, and more. It plans to drop another $50 million to bankroll Big Government politicians who will work for its agenda instead of the Constitution and the American people.
Offering more insight into its views and agenda, the Chamber partnered with a radical progressive outfit funded by Big Business dubbed the “Center for American Progress” to promote the nationalization of education. Founded by Obama administration policy architect John Podesta, who recently came under fire for working with the United Nations to develop a plan to “dramatically alter” the “worldview and behavior” of every person on earth, CAP has been a key source of radical Big Government plans foisted on America by the Obama administration — including many of the schemes adopted unconstitutionally by executive decree.
The Big Business bigwigs continually and openly claim they need higher quality “products” from schools so they can have better “human resources” and “human capital” — hardly what parents think their children are going to school for. On the “progressive” side of the establishment, the goals, at least on the surface, sound different. Both “wings” of the establishment agree, though, that Common Core must be foisted on America at all costs.
Aside from the federal government and the Obama administration, which has doled out many billions in taxpayer funds to state governments that agreed to impose Common Core on schools, billionaire Bill Gates has undoubtedly been the single largest provider of financial backing for the controversial standards and the propaganda to support them. The most oft-cited estimates suggest the population-control zealot, UN devotee, and Microsoft founder has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the scheme so far. However, a new analysis by former Georgia State University Professor Jack Hassard indicates that the real total is well above $2 billion.
After outlining the various special interests lobbying for Common Core, Malkin rips into the whole propaganda campaign. “As they prop up astroturfed front groups and agitprop, D.C.'s Common Core p.r. blitzers scoff at their critics as ‘black helicopter’ theorists,” the popular commentator concluded in her blistering March 21 critique of the ad campaign. “Don't read their lips. Just follow the money. This bipartisan power grab is Washington-led and Washington-fed. It's not a conspiracy. It's elementary: All Common Core roads lead to K Street.”
As The New American has documented extensively, like the latest propaganda campaign, the entire effort to create Common Core and foist it on American children has been steeped in secrecy and deception. Not only is it not “state-led,” as proponents claim, it will further destroy real education in pursuit of sinister objectives that have little to do with improving schools. However, as the most recent Big Business plot to drum up support for the scheme was getting started, parental and taxpayer victories against Common Core were accelerating, too.
As Big Business interests explained clearly, politicians must now choose what constituency means more to them — Big Business or the people. The American public should help them choose wisely. If members of the political class refuse to obey their oaths to the Constitution and serve the public that pays their salaries, Americans should work hard to ensure that those politicians are ejected from office at the earliest possible opportunity. Big Business may have money, but the American people still have the vote.
Alex Newman is a correspondent for The New American, covering economics, education, politics, and more. He can be reached at