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Reading, writing and marketing to little minds

Michelle Obama at her "Let's Move products" rally
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

The second round of Common Core testing has taken place in New York and the results are in. PepsiCo, IBM, Apple and Matel stock prices are down and only Nike is up. The results on private company Lego’s “Mindstorm” can be measured by a rise in out of stock listings on Amazon. So overall the result of New York’s Common Core is a mixed bag of success and failure. These results might cause someone to pause and question what these companies have to do with nationalized testing of school children.

The connection is the Common Core curriculum and the yearly testing to gauge its effectiveness. These tests apparently are a cornucopia of product placements and littered with footnotes on trademark references. One example is a question regarding a bus boy cleaning a spill of Mug root beer. Another question about risk taking references Nike’s “Just Do It" logo Even Lego’s Mindstorm building kits and Matel’s Barbie made an appearance in the tests. These tests’s paid by our property taxes were supposed to measure English reading proficiency and not brand recognition. (Link)

Product placement has been around since Jules Verne added a formally well known shipping company into “Around the world in 80 Days”. Today you can see it in almost every movie or TV show you watch. Like the Pan Am logos’ used in “2001 a space odyssey”, or the types of cars used depending on the sponsor. Each of these were used to offset advertising and production cost for both parties. According to Ed Dunn of the New York State Department of Education “There are no product placement deals between us”. Allen Adamson of a brand consulting firm Landor Associates said they should be there since they are part of the student’s world. So these brands were included in the test without any gain to the producers of the test meaning us the taxpayers. Does anyone really believe that not one person profited from select brands being pitched to students grades three thru eight?

There might have been even more brands advertised within the tests but educators are banned from speaking about Common Core. In Marietta Georgia a parent was banned from school grounds after opting out of the test. A Sparrowbush NY school suspended a student for two days for encouraging other students to not take the test. Arkport New York school district rewarded those exposed to the marketing by giving them Ice Cream. (No word if it was Breyers) Why the secrecy?

It is very well possible that the creators of Common Core saw nothing wrong with selling products during testing. Since the very core of the curriculum is to sell ideas to children. The reading section they were being tested on included a book called “Barrack Obama”, which has a section regarding white voters. It states “But White voters would not vote for a black president”. (Book). A work sheet for the students teaches them the Bill of Rights is outdated and you need to remove two inalienable rights after explaining the second right is the right to own a registered gun. (Homework) You can also see more of common core as explained by a principal about social emotional training. (Training)

We all know that for years our education system is in tatters. We also have seen increased funding has no relationship to better learning. Is Common Core the answer to these deficiencies? Or is it the answer to a fed up public, informed voters and other log jams to the socialist paradise our elected progressives are taking us to? In the future when the progressives tell these students their taxes will be cut from 60% to 72% of earnings will they be able to figure it out? Or will they just elect the party that promises more free Mug Root beer?

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