Advocate Photo by MARK BALLARD -- A pro-Common Core group called the Alliance for Better Classrooms is launching a marketing campaign to defeat legislative efforts to repeal the overhaul, and distributing stuffed unicorns to state lawmakers to dispel what they call myths about the issue. Tags on the stuffed animals say "Unicorns are not real. And neither are most of the things you've heard about Common Core." Every legislator received a stuff animal, including anti-Common Core leaders like Republican State Rep. Brett Geymann, of Lake Charles.

Maybe it is appropriate that stuffed pink unicorns have begun popping up on the floor of the Legislature in Baton Rouge, courtesy of the big-business panjandrums organized as the Alliance for Better Classrooms (“Unicorns have far more substance than Core supporters,” Quin Hillyer column, April 25). Instead of being the intended slam on everyday parents who oppose Common Core in their kids’ schools, the cute mythical creatures illustrate just how desperate the Core’s fancy boosters are to discover PR imagery that might magically turn public opinion their way.

Yes, PR. That is what the Common Core’s bigwigs decided they needed at a strategy session last spring. They lamented that their talking points were dishwater-dull compared to parents’ heartfelt case and so vowed to contrive some “emotional” pitches. Responding on the anti-Common Core blog Truth in American Education, Shane Vander Hart playfully envisioned “rallies with businessmen from the Chamber of Commerce holding signs saying Test Our Children, We Need More Rigor, I Need My Employees to be College and Career Ready or High Stakes Testing is the Answer.”

Noting that billionaire Bill Gates was laying out another $10.3 million for this latest PR blitz, the Iowa blogger suggested that what the Common Core boosters needed to support their case, given their woeful shortage of facts, were “pink fluffy unicorns dancing on rainbows.” They could be placed on websites with the hashtag #UnicornsLoveCommonCore. Now, instead, the unicorns have landed in the Louisiana Legislature.

Even with all that Gates money to burn, the Common Core swells evidently could come up with nothing better than pilfering imagery from the other side. That’s sad but typical.

Robert Holland

senior fellow, The Heartland Institute Chicago