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Advocacy groups to partner with communication firms to support Common Core

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 03, 2014 15:59 PM

In an effort to ease the nation's transition into using the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), the federal government has provided millions of dollars in operating funds to advocacy groups that promote the CCSS. According to The Heartland Institute, the federal government will use a number of strategies, but their focus remains on developing pro-Common Core teacher training programs and the employment of communication groups. 

Two groups, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), will use a large chunk of that federal money to advocate CCSS-aligned national tests set to arrive in 2015. Initial proposals stated that the organizations will use more than $5 million in federal grants to promote the Common Core, but a push for additional funding tops out at almost $10 million.

Allocation of PARCC and SBAC funds
Both PARCC and SBAC plan to use the expertise of communication firms to develop an advertising and marketing strategy explaining the benefits of the CCSS. PARCC will set aside almost $3.5 million to begin production of public outreach programs, tool kits and policy briefs specifically made for states associated with PARCC. A portion of the funds will also go toward creating a leadership team that has a deep understanding of the CCSS. The team, known across the country as the PARCC Educator Leader Cadre (PELC), will consist of more than 1,000 teachers and education administrators, according to PARCC representative Lynn Brabender. 

SBAC plans to utilize $1.5 million to partner with communication firms that can help bridge the gap between the public and CCSS stakeholders. The contract SBAC has with the federal government states that more than $5 million will remain available to both SBAC and its partners.

Implementation of federal funding
According to a document released by PARCC, the PELCs will send team members on two missionary operations a year. Airfare, ground transportation, meals and lodging will be paid for by PARCC. The PELCs will also partner with the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI) to reach an ever broader base. The teams will review exam content, participate in town hall meetings and webinars, and help train educators on how to design a curriculum that includes the Common Core. 

SBAC will work with its partners to develop a strategy that focuses on distributing a compelling message on the merits of the CCSS to the public. The organization plans to build relationships with education administrators, including state superintendents and board of education committee members, as well as teacher union leaders and university officials.