Monday, September 15, 2014

Granddad Learns About The Common Core

[Update: As you can now see, the video has gone away. The Youtube account "Common Core," a group of filmmakers from around the country, has shut down after only three days. Probably their best move, all things considered. If I can find a link to the video anywhere on the interwebs, I'll be sure to repost.]

[Update: We'll see how long this lasts, but God bless stlgretchen for preserving this piece of video idiocy. So now, you, too, can enjoy this piece of self-defeating PR]

[Well, that was fun while it lasted. But Six One Seven is apparently determined to bury this!]

As your grandad would not say, "OMG!"

The media group 617 has produced a video in support of the Core that is apparently intended to embarrass its opponents into silence. It has decidedly not worked out that way-- you will have a hard time finding the video, which seems to have suffered its own attack of embarrassment, but you can read about the reaction over at Missouri Education Watchdog. They were not pretty.

The video features a Cartoon Old Guy, who's insulting on so many levels. He's dismissive of the kid. He is wrapped up in his own stupid stories. He can't remember the teacher's name (aging brain function-- hilarious). He's ethnic. He's an ignorant war vet of some war-- he looks like a stereotypical WWII vet, but that would make him ninety-ish. Could be Korea, which would make him seventy-ish. He thinks Gates runs Apple (har!) and he measures the value of his grandson's ability to "figure" in how it can calculate money. Oh, and he plays the lottery.

He's worried about the Common Core stuff he's heard about on TV, and I'm wondering where on TV he's hearing bad things about the Core, because Core proponents have that media pretty well locked up.

The message here? Common Core critics are uninformed fools. Note that the nice teacher lady does not actually offer a single piece of fact-based data about the Core to contradict Old Bat-brained Granddad. She doesn't have to (though she might have mention that Hector will have to put a stop to figuring out math problems in his head). He's so obviously a dope that we are meant to simply discount his complaints because, well, he's a dope. He is truly the most wondrous animatronic straw grampaw ever.

This is not much of a coup for whoever hired Six One Seven Studios, a production company located just outside Boston and dedicated to "providing our clients with the most innovative, engaging and authentic visual content. We combine our artistry with the latest technology and a deep understanding of your work to create powerful stories"

The video broke over at Politico, and one has to assume that someone associated with the video sent it to politico hoping for some buzz. According to Politico, the firm made this epic video all on its own:

Executive Producer Bryan Roberts said the firm self-funded the video after learning about the Common Core debate through work with clients including the New York and Rhode Island state education departments and EngageNY, a website that provides curriculum resources to New York teachers. “Too many of the pro-Common Core videos were PowerPoints and talking heads,” Roberts said. “So we put out this video to help folks see the power of telling a fun but simple story with real people.” He has more planned.

More? The mind reels.

The studio has many swell clients. You know who one of those clients is?

The Massachusetts Teachers Association.

Yup. An almost-as-hilarious video of exTREMEly earnest teachers (wait-- is that Miss Jenkins??!!) produced by the company is featured on the MTA website in their promo for the Teacher Leadership Initiative. My favorite part-- the very last teacher, who says "Teacher" and then pauses (Wait a beat. Waaaiiiit a beeeat)  and finally lands on "Leading." Though I enjoy the part where several of the teachers appear to have been jolted to life by cattle prods.

I don't know who really prompted Bryan Roberts to create this masterpiece of terrible. Maybe it was one of the reformy conversation changers. But we've sailed way past "hugely insulting" all the way to "ridiculous." I hope Roberts didn't pay himself much, and I hope it hasn't taken up too much time to scrub the negative comments off their various pages. I look forward to more entries in the Granddad series, such as "Granddad Learns About Fluoridation," "Granddad Sets The Clock on His VCR," "Granddad Finds Out Where Grandma Went When She Went For Groceries Forty Years Ago and Didn't Come Back," and "Granddad Finds Out About That Those Gay Fellas Won't Give Him Cooties." There's no limit to how ignorantly patronizing this could get.


  1. The MTA video must have been on Paul Toner's watch. I don't think Barbara Madeloni does sappy.

  2. Just in case it wasn't bad enough......

    "The best thing for Hector this year is for he and I..." GAH!!!! AAARGH!!!! *bleeding ears*

    But thanks to the person who saved it for (hopefully, anyway) posterity, so the awfulness can be witnessed by all....

  3. The worst thing about the video is that it implies that the Common Core actually promotes real reading. It doesn't. The Common Core is all about supposed close reading of brief texts--exactly the opposite of the sensible pleasure reading that the teacher in the video suggests.