Hidden-Camera Videos Get Further Scrutiny for Misconstruing the Facts

Last week, conservative activist James O’Keefe released hidden-camera videos that allegedly reveal textbook publishers support Common Core State Standards only because of their profit-making potential. “It’s all about the money,” a Houghton Mifflin Harcourt manager says in the footage. “You don’t think that educational publishing companies are in it for the kids, do you?” In a second video, another employee goes one step further: “Common Core isn’t about the educational welfare of children.”

At the Daily Caller, Blake Neff reports the videos “haven’t exposed the rotten heart of Common Core, they’ve simply revealed the fact that textbook companies serve customers and try to make those customers happy… For-profit companies’ focus on profit is not at all a revelation.”

As a Collaborative for Student Success statement underscores, the remarks captured in the videos are offensive to educators.

“While there are bad actors in every profession, it would be wrong and irresponsible to suggest that a few isolated incidents are representative of the tens of thousands of dedicated teachers and educators who support high academic standards and devote themselves daily to ensuring kids are prepared for success after high school,” Blair Mann says in the release.

The videos stress the importance of local control over decisions about curriculum and classroom materials. In a piece published in the Washington Times, former Alabama Governor Bob Riley explains that he ran into confusion about his grandson’s textbooks. He says the solution is in local control of curriculum and materials, which is what the creators of the Common Core State Standards intended.

“I have always believed that the government that governs closest governs best,” Riley writes. “[With Common Core] if an Alabama parent or group of parents has an issue with a specific book in their local school, they do not have to lobby Washington for change. They don’t even have to call Montgomery. All they have to do is tell their concerns to the local school administration.”