Today the simple lack of time (stemming from homeschooling four kids, teaching Chem 1 and Pre-Algebra at our Co-Op, running a small farm and needing at least 6 hours of sleep) has pared my education policy involvement down to research and writing on the side. When I saw an article loudly proclaiming “New Research Shows How Common Core Critics Built Social Media ‘Botnets’ to Skew the Education Debate,” listed in my daily “Common Core” Google Alert, however, I stopped everything I was doing to absorb each condescending word.
Imagine my surprise when I learned from ‘The 74′ – a “news site covering education in America” partially ‘supported’ by the premier Common Core Apologist Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that a study was done at the Consortium for Policy Research in Education (CPRE – adding ‘education’ was necessary; otherwise it just would have been CPR, which, come to think of it, the study badly needs) at the University of Pennsylvania, “…suggests public animosity toward Common Core was manipulated – and exaggerated – by organized online communities using cutting-edge social media strategies.”
I have to admit, the story intrigued me – none in our group were savvy Twitter users, yet we had been able to put the kibosh on Common Core in Oklahoma – so I clicked the link to the study in the article. Immediately I was sent to a website so slick it took over a minute to load (shocker here, the study was underwritten in part by….wait on it….Bill Gates) which told me I could use it interactively to “tell the story of the Common Core debate on Twitter.”
Unwilling to sit twiddling my thumbs while the website loaded, and pretty much knowing what I would find when it did, I went back to finish reading the 74 article. To my amazement, I discovered that a group of ‘right-wing’ conservatives had banded together to take over Twitter and riddle it with ‘Twitterbots.’ I imagine this must look like a massive infestation of the terrifying Tooth Fairies from HellBoy 2 – spewing out ‘fake news’ messages against Common Core into the Twittersphere, ‘drowning out’ and ‘supplanting’ messages from the likes of ‘teachers and think tank experts.’