Common Core Foes Plan July 22 ‘Interactive’ Event at Theaters

By Mark Walsh — June 18, 2014 3 min read
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TV host Glenn Beck, the conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks, and others have begun promoting an “interactive experience” at theaters next month to build opposition to the Common Core State Standards.

“We Will Not Conform” is a July 22 event that will be simulcast from a theater in Dallas to as many as 600 movie theaters nationwide.

“Glenn Beck and Fathom Events invite you to your local movie theatre to experience a live national night of action against Common Core,” says the Web site of the event. “WE WILL NOT CONFORM is a chance for anyone who’s tired of sitting idly by as the federal government continues its takeover of our schools to come together and do something about it.”

The interactive experience will include conservative blogger Michelle Malkin and David Barton, the founder of the pro-family group Wallbuilders. Theatergoers will work with them and others “in pursuit of real, tangible strategies to wake up our friends and neighbors and make our voices heard,” the Web site says.

“This isn’t an evening about observing, it’s a chance to learn, share and engage with people as frustrated and motivated as you are,” the Web site says. “By the end of the night, the brainpower, experience, and passion of thousands of people from around the country will be captured in a comprehensive, unified plan of action distributed to all participants.”

“To Common Core supporters who thought they would win through silence, this night will be a very loud wake-up call,” the site continues. “If you are sick of the endless rhetoric, futile debates, and useless advice about changing the system at the ballot box, then WE WILL NOT CONFORM is the event you’ve been waiting for.”

The event costs $20 and appears is scheduled for 8 p.m. Eastern time (7 p.m. Central) simulcast.

Whitney Neal, the director for grassroots of Washington-based FreedomWorks, says the sponsors will put out Twitter hashtags to encourage the interactive conversation.

“We’re going to expand the horizons of people so they can learn to take action” against the common-core standards, Neal said. “Our whole deal is we believe that local communities make the best decisions for kids.”

Beck, the conservative radio and TV host whose current TV show airs on a subscription Web site, has a book out that is ostensibly a critique of the common core, though it covers other ground such as teachers’ unions, school choice, and home schooling.

“These national takeovers require a light touch,” Beck writes in Conform: Exposing the Truth About Common Core, which was written with Kyle Olson. “So the controllists decided that Common Core had to appear to be a spontaneous, voluntary decision by the individual states. After all, if the states are running things, then no tinfoil-hat Tea Party members could start making noise about a federal takeover of education. And, with that, the fabrication that Common Core is a ‘state-led’ effort was born.”

The live interactive event is being co-produced by Fathom Events, a Centennial, Colo.-based marketing firm. It’s not clear where the proceeds of the ticket fee will go.

“Common Core can still be stopped,” the Web site says. “These standards are still being implemented across the country—but the window for action is small and closing quickly. The more parents, teachers and administrators understand this issue, the more strongly they oppose it. But education is the key. This event will give you the tools you need to go out into your community and make a real difference.”

“The goal is to pack out those theaters,” said Neal.

But for those who can’t make it on July 22, there will be an “encore presentation” on July 29.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Education and the Media blog.