In honor of Throwback Thursday, I decided to follow up on one of my favorite reformy intiatives. Mounted by way of Jeb Bush by way of FEE, and the US Chamber by way of the Higher State Standards Partnership, "Learn More. Go Further" was going to set the grass roots ablaze with Common Core love.
I first wrote about LMGF back at the end of March (the media program launched March 19), noting that the whole business was a scaled-up version of a Florida CCSS-pushing program. I visited their site and while there were details to parse, my bottom line was that "every piece of bullshit you've ever heard about the CCSS regime of reform is here, in slickly well-designed webullar glory."
Part of their charm was a ham-handed attempt at social mediaizing the program. "I hear folks like the twitter," said some well-paid consultant. "Let's use some of the twitter." And so LMGF sent four teacher ladies (two charters, a cyber, and one reading specialist-turned-administrator) to show the world that good, wholesome, American teachers loved them some CCSS. The ladies were given two twitter accounts apiece (one national, one Floridian). The accounts were promoted, the ladies started posting pro-CCSS stuff about twice a day while not really engaging anyone. My reading of some of their responses suggested to me that they were specifically aimed at conservative holdouts. One might conclude that this program was driven, at least in part, by Jeb's realization that Common Core was not a pony he could ride to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
The other day I suddenly realized that the ladies weren't turning up as promoted twitter recommendations. In fact, I hadn't seen them in a while.
What has happened to Learn More. Go Further?
Short answer-- they appear to have to that big lobbying lounge in the sky.
They had some moments. When the Louis CK flap blew up, LMGF gave a comment to BBC Trending because, I don't know, somebody had to? And Sachs Media Group won a Digital Advertising Silver Addy for some of the slides in the program.
But the twittering ladies have gone silent. Each racked up a little over a hundred tweets, and all four fell silent on May 30. May 30 is also the last day that Learn More Go Further posted anything on their Facebook fan page (which actually is more closely connected to the Florida version of LMGF), or tweeted under their own group handle. Their "newsroom" hasn't picked up anything new since mid-May.
And when you click on [contact us], you are taken to the website for the Salsa Group, apparently the outfit that provided the platform for the website (and does so for many political fundraisy groups). This was disappointing because I was actually going to pick up the phone and act like a journalist. Back to being lazy again.
Jeb's backing of the Core and all the political problems that go with it have been much discussed. This piece from the Tampa Bay Times, published the day after LMGF went dark, lays it out as well as any of them.
Learn More Go Further was supposed to fix that. It was supposed to sell the Core and testing with four pretty faces and lots of American flags, and it failed and slunk away quietly into the dark night of the internet. Yes, Bush could legitimately blame the failure on somebody's inability to master the tools of social media.
But clumsy social media skills aren't the explanation. It's the message. Jeb Bush and the US Chamber tried hard to sell the Common Core with this program, and they failed. I hope the four teachers are enjoying an extra fun vacation that lasts all summer. I hope Bush gets to enjoy a vacation that lasts even longer.