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Textbook Executive Loves Common Core ‘Rebrands’: ‘I Can Sell a Sh** Ton of Training Around Whatever You Call It’


In the second Common Core undercover video by Project Veritas, an account executive at textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt demonstrates why Common Core “rebrands,” whereby states claim to “repeal” the Common Core standards to appease citizens, but then simply replace them with the same or very similar standards with a local flavor name, are very profitable for publishers.


The video continues Project Veritas’ theme that textbook publishers are part of a crony capitalist education system that is interested in profits, not children. The reality is that corporations create products to make profits–which is not the problem. What is disturbing is that textbook publishers have been allowed to have a substantial amount of power in United States education policy decisions because of their special interest lobbying efforts and their ties to both the political and education elites in this country. When Common Core was in its infancy stages, textbook publishers spotted the bonanza it has become for them. States–both lawmakers and governors–have failed their citizens by opening the gates to both federal overreach and the desires of special interest groups that have lobbied for access to children’s education dollars–and students are suffering for it.

In the video, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Strategic Account Executive Amelia Petties tells the journalist Common Core is about making money – even when Common Core is called by another name.

“It’s never about the kids,” she says. “And slapping a new name on it, which in my case I hope they do … I can sell a sh** ton of training around whatever you’re calling it.”

“There’s always money in it,” she adds. “I don’t think Common Core is going to go anywhere.”

The company terminated Dianne Barrow, Petties’ colleague at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, after the video was released; Barrow was featured in the first Project Veritas Common Core video of this series.

According to Talking Points Memo:

The publisher on Tuesday criticized former employee Dianne Barrow’s statements on the video, noting that she is no longer with the company.

“Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is as appalled by these comments as we expect readers will be. These statements in no way reflect the views of HMH and the commitment of our over 4,000 employees who dedicate their lives to serving teachers and students every day,” Houghton Mifflin Harcourt CEO Linda Zecher said in a statement to TPM. “The individual who made these comments is a former employee who was with HMH for less than a year.”

“Corporate cronyism and underhanded political deals have contributed to Common Core’s massive disruption and the unraveling of America’s educational fabric,” said Project Veritas’ president, James O’Keefe.

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