It seems as though Building the Machine, HSLDA’s movie on the Common Core, has Common Core advocates worried enough to retool their propaganda.

Even before Building The Machine, a 39 minute documentary on the Common Core, was released by the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) on Monday proponents went into attack mode.  Missouri Education Watchdog reported over the weekend on a leaked email from the Council of Chief State School Officers (one of the partners in the development of the Common Core) preparing its members for the documentaries release.

From: Carissa Moffat Miller
Subject: Anti Common Core Movie, embargoed materials
Chiefs, Deputies, Federal Liaisons and Communication Directors:

Many of you are likely aware of an anti-common core movie slated to be released in a few days. The Home School Legal Defense Association, a Virginia-based organization opposed to the Common Core, has produced a film called “Building the Machine.” The film’s anticipated online release date (which has changed several times), is currently set for March 31, 2014. The film implies that the Common Core was created through politics, misinformation and corruption. Using stark graphics and ominous music, the film features interviews with Common Core opponents arguing against the standards’ development and implementation—interspersed with misleading snippets of interviews from Common Core supporters.  You can watch a trailer for the film here.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Fordham have put together the attached two documents that can be used to clarify the vast amount of misinformation that will be circulated as a result of the movie. Please note – these are EMBARGOED until Monday, March 31st. Please do not distribute.

In addition to these two documents, the U.S. Chamber is in the final stages of producing their own Common Core mini-documentary. This will provide the pro-Common Core side and will also be ready early next week. In collaboration with organizations from all over the country, the video will feature education reformers, teachers, chamber leaders, and business representatives, showing the unified support for Common Core across generations, political lines, and states.”

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any specific questions or needs. Below we’ve include some tips for messaging and responding to the critical questions this film may generate in your state. We will send out the Chamber video when it is released.


It’s important to note that Council of Chief State School Officers, the Fordham Institute, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce all have been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the promotion and implementation of the Common Core State Standards.

And they’re frightened about a 39 minute documentary developed by a non-profit organization that does not have even remotely close to the amount of resources.  The movie was released online for free.

Yet this is typical of the fight against Common Core.  The fight to stop the Common Core has been grassroots led.  The lobbying has primarily been by concerned parents.  Those who have provided expert testimony against the Common Core has primarily done it on their own dime or by activists raising money to get them there.  On the other side you have Gates-funded entities, like Fordham, who are funded to provide testimony against Common Core bills.

Fordham just released a fact sheet in an attempt to debunk the movie.  It should be noted that HSLDA interviewed Chester Finn and Mike Petrilli of the Fordham Institute, so it is not like their side wasn’t presented.  That’s more than we can say about any Common Core forums or informational material supported by Common Core advocates.

The primary question people need to ask is if the Common Core is so great then why do they have to spend millions of dollars to promote them?  Primarily because once you get past the talking points they give, read the standards, and read testimony given and research about the problems inherent with the Common Core they become less appealing.

You can watch the documentary below:

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