July 23, 2014

The "National Night Of Action Against Common Core"

Last night I attended the Glenn Beck "event" in Waterbury, along with about 35 other audience members. The Facebook event page announced:
Glenn Beck and Fathom Events invite you to your local movie theater to experience a live national night of action against Common Core. WE WILL NOT CONFORM is a chance for anyone who’s tired of sitting idly by as the federal government continues its takeover of our schools to come together and do something about it.

WE WILL NOT CONFORM isn’t a typical show, it’s an interactive experience where theatergoers will work with experts... in pursuit of real, tangible strategies to wake up our friends and neighbors and make our voices heard. This isn’t an evening about observing, it’s a chance to learn, share and engage with people as frustrated and motivated as you are.

By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of thousands of people from around the country will be captured in a comprehensive, unified plan of action distributed to all participants...

Um, not so much.

I spent $18 to watch in a theater for two hours and walk away with about five minutes of stuff I didn't know. O.K. and yes, a link to an "Action Plan".

As I wrote in the Stop Common Core in CT Library group this morning:
Although I wouldn't have missed it, I was disappointed. There was a lot of people preaching to the choir. I wish they had spent way more time on the PR or "messaging" portion. Even the guy who was heading that table said they could go on and on about it, and actually, they should have; I had expected the whole thing to be about that, and not wasting my time with interviewing parents and their kids. I also did not see the point to most of the polls they took. Finally, it was frustrating that they told us to network afterwards but then ended the thing with loud music accompanying the credits. That made it possible for several people to leave before they heard me announcing that everyone should join this FB group.

The most valuable thing about it all was, really, the packet they referred to. I did take notes, and so found it here. I haven't looked through it all yet, but what I did read looks good.

I am not going to bother summarizing the movie here (and that's really what it was, even if it was live) since the Action Plan goes into the detail the movie should have. I do, however, want to comment on the fact that most people I know who are opposing the education system in any way, have big problems with Charter Schools, and I was disappointed to see them listed as an alternative to public school. Here in Connecticut we have had problem after problem with Charter Schools, and they are to be avoided. (If you are interested in learning more about the realities of Charter Schools check out Diane Ravitch's book Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools.)

Despite its shortcomings, the movie will hopefully at least serve to get the wheels turning again. It's been too easy, now that summer is here and the legislation is not in session, to let thoughts of Common Core fall by the wayside. So even if the conversation continues to sputter through the summer, at least we all now have more to think about, so when we next meet we will hopefully do so with good ideas on how to create a cohesive plan of attack.

Addendum 7.24
Glenn Beck posted a summary of the movie that you can read here.