Gates Money and Common Core: Part II
On August 27, 2013, I wrote a post about Bill Gates’ financial involvement in advancing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Though CCSS promotes itself as “state led,” in my previous post, I showed that all four major organizations responsible for CCSS from inception for its principal development– the National Governors Association (NGA), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners– have received in total $147.9 million from Bill Gates for a variety of purposes, $32.8 million of which is expressly earmarked to advance CCSS.
One man is purchasing his view of what American education should be.
This is not democratic. It is horrific.
And it doesn’t stop there.
I showed also that other key education organizations have taken millions from Gates in order to promote CCSS, not the least of which are both national teachers’ unions, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) ($5.4 million) and the National Education Association (NEA) ($4 million).
Gates has spent much more on CCSS than I have indicated in that previous post. Thus, I have decided to write a series on the groups that have decided to sell America’s right to a “free and public” education to this man. The sheer number of states willing to submit to the federal requirement of CCSS inclusion in order to be considered for Obama’s and Duncan’s Race to the Top funding (not legal) bespeaks the cowering of state departments of education to the Almighty Dollar.
Bill has billions of Almighty Dollars.
In this second post of my Gates CCSS funding series, I examine organizations influencing state education departments and local districts and that have accepted Gates money for promoting and implementing CCSS. The complete listing is included here: Gates Common Core Funding for Organizations Influencing State Departments and Local Districts of Education
Here are the organizations in sum, along with the current total of Gates CCSS funding for each as noted on the Gates grant database:
National Association of State Boards of Education: $2,328,625
Education Commission of the States: $799,221
Hillsborough County Council of PTA/PTSAs (Florida): $800,000
Military Child Education Coalition $419,963
Council of State Governments $369,623
National Writing Project $3,095,593
National Council of Teachers of English: $249,482
For the remainder of this post, I offer discussion that I believe the public will find particularly enlightening.
National Association of State Boards of Education
On its website, the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) states that its mission is to “serve and strengthen State Boards of Education in their pursuit of high levels of academic achievement for all students.” None of the Gates grants to NASBE involve a critical examination of CCSS. Instead, all three concern implementation:
Date: June 2013 Purpose: to support a development plan for the organization and to support its efforts to provide training and information to implement Common Core State Standards Amount: $800,000
Date: February 2011 Purpose: to build the capacity of State Boards of Education to better position them to achieve full implementation of the Common Core standards Amount: $1,077,960
Date: October 2009 Purpose: to convene regional meetings of policymakers and leaders to increase member knowledge around the common core standards Amount: $450,675 [Purpose emphasis added.]
The never-piloted CCSS is being promoted via a national association supposed to “strengthen state boards of education in pursuit of levels of high academic achievement.” No one involved with NASBE knows whether or not CCSS does indeed contribute to “high academic achievement.” Yet NASBE has accepted millions to sell CCSS to state boards of education.
Education Commission of the States
The next organization, the Education Commission of the States (ECS), offers the following information on its history and purpose:
The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is an interstate compact created in 1965 to improve public education by facilitating the exchange of information, ideas and experiences among state policymakers and education leaders. As a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization involving key leaders from all levels of the education system, ECS creates unique opportunities to build partnerships, share information and promote the development of policy based on available research and strategies. Forty-nine states, three territories and the District of Columbia constitute the commission’s current membership. [Emphasis added.]
Thus, ECS notes its role as “facilitator of ideas” that is “based upon available research.” Nevertheless, ECS has accepted Gates money in order to promote an untested CCSS, including P-20 implementation– meaning that ECS is helping Gates push CCSS to literally cover the entire possible academic life span of a student– from preschool through college:
Date: October 2010 Purpose: to support awareness building among key stakeholders around postsecondary goals and objectives and P-20 rationale for the Common Core State Standards Amount: $799,221 [Purpose emphasis added.]
Two observations regarding this “P-20” CCSS. First, I am wondering when Gates will help finance Common Core In Utero. After all, learning begins in the womb, so why not throw a few million into controlling “pre-birth college readiness,” as well? Second, if the obsessive goal ends with high school graduation, (i.e., “college readiness”), why invade postsecondary ed unless the “and career readiness” presumes a career only to follow college? In other words, the CCSS ad nauseam slogan, “college and career ready” really does exclude a career that (May it never be!) does not necessitate a college education.
If a high school graduate opts to not attend college, will this person be classified as a “CCSS dropout”? Is CCSS the slow and constant drip-drip dulling of student free will over life decisions?
A powerful, well-funded few controlling the educational life of the many. As author and seasoned teacher Susan Ohanian observes:
…The Common Core State (sic) Standards (CCSS)… puts children on a treadmill to becoming scared, obedient workers….
Hillsborough County PTA/PTSAs (Florida)
Gates is also willing to pay parent teacher associations to push CCSS implementation– not to critically examine CCSS. In my first post, I included information on Gates’ funding National PTA $500,000 “to empower leaders to create the changes they need in their school systems for Common Core implementation.” What “empowerment” is there if one cannot critically question, “Should parents accept CCSS in the first place?”
Bill’s money allows for no questions about acceptance. Just “implement,” already. And so it goes with the Hillsborough County PTA/PTSAs (Florida):
Date: June 2013 Purpose: to support a development plan for the organization and to support its efforts to provide training and information to implement Common Core State Standards Amount: $800,000 [Purpose emphasis added.]
Military Child Education Coalition
The Gates funding descriptions for the Military Child Education Coalition (MCEC) are both very telling. One of the grants predates official CCSS completion (June 2009):
Date: November 2011 Purpose: to develop and execute an advocacy campaign in support of the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in multiple states by leveraging the voices and actions of its network of military families and uniform leadership Amount: $149,965
Date: October 2008
Purpose: to create an alliance with Achieve and other national
partners to support ADP Common Core Math Standards, identify middle school
supporting content critical for mobile students, and create training modules
accessible to students and educators
Amount: $269,998 [Purpose emphasis added.]
The 2008 Gates grant description sure reads like, “We want you to be part of the Inner Circle of CCSS creation for math standards, not for all math standards, just for the ones that match the ADP… including creating curriculum to match.” And the 2011 grant: “Here’s some more money to convince military parents around the nation to buy in.”
Again, no room for the questions, “Is CCSS a good idea to begin with? And how do we know CCSS works?”
Council of State Governments
The remaining three organizations in this post– the Council of State Governments (CSG), the National Writing Project, and the National Council of Teachers of English– all accept Gates money to saturate American education with this “not national though nationally promoted” CCSS.
According to Gates, the job of CSG is to sell legislators, not only on CCSS, but also on the assessments “and the benefits”:
Date: July 2011 Purpose: to hold summits to inform and educate state legislators on the common core standards and assessments and the benefits for implementation in their states Amount: $369,623 [Purpose emphasis added.]
Do tell: What are the tested and proven “benefits” of CCSS?
Gates paid money in 2011 to push the “benefits” of CCSS assessments.
CCSS proponents really want those assessments to happen.
National Writing Project and
National Council of Teachers of English
As to the National Writing Project and National Council of Teachers of English, consider the CCSS sale complete. Now show teachers what they are expected to do:
National Writing Project: Date: July 2011 Purpose: to increase capacity for professional development opportunities in implementing the Common Core State Standards for literacy Amount: $3,095,593 [Purpose emphasis added.]
National Council of Teachers of English: Date: July 2013 Purpose: to support implementation of the Common Core State Standards Amount: $249,482 [Purpose emphasis added.]
Stay Tuned: Gates’ Departments of Education Purchase
The organizations examined in this post have been paid by Bill Gates to influence state education departments and local districts– and teachers, and parents– into blind acceptance of a set of so-called standards with no room for reconsideration, adjustment, or rejection. As such, CCSS is glaringly undemocratic and stands as a lesson for what can happen when one man has enough money to enforce his opinion via “checkbook vote.”
In my next post, I will examine the state departments and local districts that have directly received Gates money for CCSS indoctrination as well as these boards’ recently publicized decisions regarding CCSS.
Despite Gates’ obscene funding for CCSS, its survival grows shakier each day.
That though comforts me.