Skip to content

Why Would WashPost Wait Three Months to Release a Gates Interview?

June 9, 2014

On Saturday, June 7, 2014, Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post published this article based on a 28-minute interview she had with billionaire Common Core State Standards (CCSS) funder, Bill Gates. In the interview, Gates spills quite a bit of “insider information,” not the least of which is that in the summer of 2008, then-Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) President Gene Wilhoit and national-standards-writing-company-gone-nonprofit Student Achievement Partners (SAP) founder and CEO– and CCSS “architect”– David Coleman approached him about bankrolling CCSS.


The Gates purse would fund not only organizations positioned on the inside of the CCSS effort, including CCSSO, SAP, the National Governors Association (NGA), the Hunt Institute, Fordham Institute, and Education Trust, but also scores of auxiliary organizations useful in “implementing” CCSS, including both national teachers unions.

As Layton notes, support for CCSS was intentionally strategized:

With the Gates money, the Hunt Institute coordinated more than a dozen organizations — many of them also Gates grantees — including the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, National Council of La Raza, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Governors Association, Achieve and the two national teachers unions.

The Hunt Institute held weekly conference calls between the players that were directed by Stefanie Sanford, who was in charge of policy and advocacy at the Gates Foundation. They talked about which states needed shoring up, the best person to respond to questions or criticisms and who needed to travel to which state capital to testify, according to those familiar with the conversations. [Emphasis added.]

In the interview, Gates notes that he decided to financially support CCSS because he “believes in” the standards.  However, in March 2014, Gates is quite clear in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that his support of CCSS was because “scale is good for free market competition.”

Gates is all but “free market.” In bankrolling CCSS, he purchased American public education. Incredibly, the federal government is fine with that. After all, USDOE already had an incestuous relationship with the Gates Foundation. As Layton notes:

Several top players in Obama’s Education Department who shaped the administration’s policies came either straight from the Gates Foundation in 2009 or from organizations that received heavy funding from the foundation. [Emphasis added.]

Indeed, as Layton points out, Gates’ influence upon the White House manifests via multiple, interrelated connections– connections that swiftly advanced CCSS before America knew what had hit it:

While the Gates Foundation created the burst of momentum behind the Common Core, the Obama administration picked up the cause and helped push states to act quickly.

There was so much cross-pollination between the foundation and the administration, it is difficult to determine the degree to which one may have influenced the other. [Emphasis added.]

Undoubtedly, this Gates interview was chock full of sensational news.

So, here’s a looming question:

Why did Layton wait three months until releasing the Gates interview video and her article?

The 28-minute video that is part of Layton’s June 7, 2014, article includes the following descriptor:

Bill Gates sat down with The Post’s Lyndsey Layton in March to defend the Gates Foundation’s pervasive presence in education and its support of the Common Core. Here is the full, sometimes tense, interview[Emphasis added.]

The video specifies the interview date as March 14, 2014.

Maybe Gates was tense because in March 2014, he was clearly trying to “protect his investment,” so to speak, and save the standards, which Gates told the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards needed protecting– otherwise America would be “back to what we had before.”

What, to state standards not bankrolled by one billionaire?

Why wait three months?

Here is what I believed up until 06-21-14, when Lyndsey Layton contacted me in response to an email I sent to her to tell me I was wrong but did not want me to post the email correspondence we had in which she said I was wrong or any other correspondence from her explaining why her March interview with Gates could not make it to WP press until June:

As of March 14, 2014, 39 states and DC were in legislative session— a session that was particularly stormy for “state led” CCSS.

By Saturday, June 7, that number dropped to 11 and DC, with 6 and DC having no session end to anticipate.

2014 legis map

State legislative session graphic for Friday, June 6, 2014  Note: Map has two errors: South Carolina and Vermont sessions had ended (June 5 and May 10, respectively). Also, Virginia’s special session was on budget and Medicaid.

Hold the story until the first Saturday in June, when most legislatures are no longer in session.

Quite the standards-rescuing coincidence, n’est-ce pas?

Now, keep in mind that Layton contacted me on 06-21-14 in response to an email I sent to her and declined to offer an explanation, and I am honoring her wish not to post the details of our email correspondence.


Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education


  1. There’s another element in the process to consider: Jeff Bezos, who bought The Washington Post last year. Is it possible that Bezos was involved in the decision to publish this piece? As owner of The Washington Post, he could have killed it if he was in the decision chain.

    It makes sense that the Post’s top editors would be cautious and want the new owner’s approval just as many teachers are afraid to protest for fear of losing their jobs, because most people in the United States are only one paycheck away from poverty.

    In fact, Jeff Bezos is not the same type of person that Bill Gates is. Here is an interesting profile that reveals how Bezos is different from most CEOs:

    • I don’t think it’s Bezos. Valerie Strauss hammers CC. I think it was Gates’ call.

      • From how well organized and funded the Gates PR propaganda machine is, Gates probably tried to censor it but only managed to hold it up for three months.

  2. Christine permalink

    Hi Mercedes. I just left a reference to your Moratorium on PARCC post from awhile back in comments on Diane Ravitich’s blog–she’s posted today on Bill Gates favoring a moratorium on the PARCCS! Well, pigs must be flying somewhere. ( I don’t know how to do a that thing that let’s you know you’ve been cited, sorry.)

  3. Can you please provide a link to the full 28 minute video. All the links to the WaPo article I have come across only include a 3 minute, 5 questions with Bill Gates mash-up segment. Thanks

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Bill Gates Insists that His Common Core Philanthropy is Not For Any Self-Interest | Missouri Education Watchdog
  2. How the Gates Foundation Used $3.38 Billion in College-Ready Education Grants to Change Education Policy
  3. Stanley Kurtz: Common Core ‘Gross Abuse of Democracy’ | Biblioholics
  4. Stanley Kurtz: Common Core ‘Gross Abuse of Democracy’ | The Myrtle Beach Post
  5. Bill Gates Insists that His Common Core Philanthropy is Not For Any Self-Interest | Grumpy Opinions
  6. Common Core Weekend Reads - Father's Day Edition | Stop Common Core NCStop Common Core NC
  7. empathyeducates – Bill Gates Needs To Drop His Common Core Obsession

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s