How badly do these education marketplace investors want you to believe their plans for Common Core, charter school "choice," and vouchers are necessary? Bad enough they will pay a ton of money for a Super Bowl Commercial instead of funding teacher raises and classroom resources. Crazy, isn't it?
Governor Haslam can certainly afford it. After all, he was just crowned "The Richest Politician in America" by Forbes.
Wondering what the video will say? You can see it below. (Warning: it is rather Stepford Wife-ish.)
But, wait! They're not done spending money!
The Tennesseeans for Student Success astroturf group is apparently so $ucce$$ful, they just hired another "grassroots" staff person! Every grassroots advocacy group needs a Coalitions Director, right??? Their new Coalitions Director, Weston Burleson, not only isn't a public school parent, he's apparently not even a Tennesseean. He's from North Carolina and Georgia where he was a Deputy Political Director for NC Republicans and an Account Executive with Stoneridge Group. Stoneridge's motto on their website says: "We serve conservatives who want bleeding-edge campaign know-how combined with an avant-garde approach to campaign execution. Our record speaks for itself. We're story cultivators, with a world-class technical edge." Yikes. Bleeding-edge story cultivators for a grassroots parent group? Stoneridge Group has handled high-profile big-dollar political campaigns including: Speaker Beth Harwell, Americans For Prosperity, and SCORE. His bio on their website says:
- a slick marketing campaign,
- professionally-printed signs,
- free t-shirts,
- glossy pamphlets,
- pens with their logo,
- squishy balls with their logo,
- frisbees with their logo,
- beer can cooshies with their logo,
- billboards with their logo,
- television or radio advertisements,
- fancy charter busses full of their supporters,
- glowing newspaper articles from their professionally-written press releases,
- copy machines that cost more than your minivan,
- staff members that make 6-figure salaries,
- a rented office located in an office-park,
- a lawyer on retainer,
- if they pay parents $ and give them a free t-shirt to attend school board meetings,
- if they take charter bus-loads of cute children wearing their free t-shirts to legislative events, and drill those children on exactly what to say to the politicians,
- if they give campaign contributions to elected officials,
- if they host fancy luncheons, dinners, or retreats for elected officials,
- if their organization's members are in your Superintendent's cabinet (despite having little or no experience in education or classrooms)
- if their organization's members are strangely appointed to positions of authority (despite having little or no experience in education or classrooms),
- if they only answer emails and calls about their organization during business hours.
- if they buy a freaking Super Bowl commercial spot!!!
They are definitely NOT grassroots!