Daniel S. Katz writes in this post that the battlefield of education politics has very little to do with the actual classroom where teachers teach and children learn. Millions are spent instead on public relations and spin.

He writes:

“Education reformers in the 21st Century seem incapable of seeing any problem as something other than a marketing campaign. Faced with growing grassroots opposition to the Common Core State Standards, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, backed with fresh cash from the Gates Foundation, launched a #SupportTheCore event on social media to try to make CCSS support look genuine and natural. As they felt control of the education reform narrative slipping from their grip, major corporate backers of standardized testing and school privatization handed $12 million to former Arne Duncan aide Peter Cunningham to launch The Education Post, a pro-reform blogging outpost, providing content for itself and editorial pages. Needing to dress up her campaign to destroy the collective bargaining and due process rights of our nation’s teachers as something more noble, former news anchor Campbell Brown set up her own web headquarters called The 74, referencing the estimated 74 million children under the age of 18 Brown claims she is defending from greedy unions. It seems that whenever they want to tackle difficult and contentious issues, reform advocates turn immediately to the tools of viral advertising and public relations to create the imagery of genuine, natural support rather than bothering with the hard work of building it.

“Cue #TeachStrong.

“Let’s agree to set aside the choice of a name that inevitably invokes one of the worst doping scandals in the history of sport (although, seriously? millions of dollars in expert branding experience and nobody thought about that??). “Teach Strong” is the name chosen by a new group of stakeholders organized by the Center for American Progress to make teachers and the future of teaching an issue in the upcoming election. The campaign launched this week with a splashy web site and social media campaign, which is is par for the course these days, and a declaration of 9 “principles” that they believe will “modernize and elevate” the teaching profession.”

This new organization consists of teachers’ unions and other members of the education establishment on one side. While on the other are the most persistent critics of those on the first side. Strange bedfellows indeed, as Lyndsey Layton if the Washington Post said.

Katz writes:

“I suppose representatives from the Center for American Progress, an organization that has long been on the reform side of the Common Core and standardized testing debate, would call this a “Team of Rivals” to match the famed Lincoln Cabinet. I guess that’s one way of looking at it. Another way of looking at it would be if the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics partnered with the Hormel corporation to design a school lunch program – you hope the more knowledgeable partner is guiding the work, but you strongly suspect that a lot of snouts and tails are going to get in there too.”

The post includes valuable links to earlier reports about the teaching profession.