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Gates Gives Common Core Owner, CCSSO, $15.4 Million Just to Keep ‘Em in Business

February 3, 2016

gates clap  Bill Gates

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)  is one of two owners of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In fact, former CCSSO CEO Gene Wilhoit approached Gates in the summer of 2008 to ask Gates to fund CCSS.

Despite the reality that CCSS has not taken American education by the standardizing storm that its schemers had hoped, Gates continues to fund CCSS as a pet project.

Furthermore, in January 2016, Gates has decided to do something he had not yet done:

Pay CCSSO handsomely for “general operating support”:

Council of Chief State School Officers

Date: January 2016
Purpose: to provide for general operating support
Amount: $15,408,198
Term: 30
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Website:

Gates’ paying the rent to the tune of $15.4 million (likely over 30 months) for CCSSO equals a decidedly obvious purchase of that organization– and the state superintendents who belong to it.

And the nebulous designation of “general operating support” helps to conceal any detailed expectation behind that money. (I dare Gates and CCSSO to tell the public that giving CCSSO $15.4 million has no strings. Double dare.)

In its press releases, CCSSO fails to mention that it is taking $15.4 million from Bill Gates. However, on its  “Our Promise” page, CCSSO does state that it “promises” “to lead chiefs and their organizations” in CCSSO goals “though decisive leadership.”

Interestingly, one of those CCSSO “decisive leaders” is board member, New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera, who cunningly and quietly replaced Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester as PARCC chair. In that case, there was no press release either. (PARCC– Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers– is a floundering CCSS testing consortium. Down to a handful of states, PARCC is trying to survive by, uh, “expanding” into vending test items.)

Not only does PARCC have a new chair (as PARCC chair, Chester failed to hand Massachusetts completely over to PARCC and instead peddled a compromised MCAS-PARCC hybrid); the Gates Foundation also will have a new director of K12 grantmaking. The same month that Gates announced his plans to keep pushing his teacher-measuring and CCSS agendas– October 2015– Gates Foundation Director Vicky Phillips announced that she would be resigning in December 2015.

Phillips did not resign with a new job lined up, nor did the Gates Foundation have a director chosen to replace Phillips in December 2015. But what the Gates Foundation did have was Bill publicly stating on October 07, 2015, to the USP Educational learning Forum in Seattle that he would remain faithful to (fixated upon?) CCSS:

There’s one other pivotal step in the movement for strong feedback and improvement systems, and that is the adoption of high, consistent academic standards throughout the country. Today 42 states and the District of Columbia are using the Common Core State Standards.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Common Core, the attacks have drowned out the facts—and the fact is, the standards are starting to work for students and teachers.

If we want to achieve excellence, we have to define excellence. And you can’t define it based on politics or individual preferences. You have to define excellence by anchoring it in something real—like getting a good job, or getting a higher ed degree that means something in the workplace. That’s what these standards do: They ensure that students are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to get a good job or succeed in college.

If students leave high school without that, their next stop is probably a dead-end job or a course in remedial math. And that’s just inexcusable. Every kid in America deserves high standards.

Most everyone would agree. I believe much of the difficulty with the Common Core standards came because the advocates—and I include our foundation in this category—didn’t do enough to explain them early and clearly. Once states adopted the standards, parents needed to hear from principals and teachers and superintendents about the reason for the changes, how they would help their kids, and how things would be bumpy for a number of years as teachers adjusted to the new standards. But I also understand why this step was missed. Principals and teachers and their supporters were busy working urgently to figure out how to make the standards real in classrooms.

Bill Gates wants to explain CCSS clearly.

Paying $15.4 million to one of the CCSS license holders certainly makes one issue clear:

What Bill Gates wants, he buys.

desk money


Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.

She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.

both books

Don’t care to buy from Amazon? Purchase my books from Powell’s City of Books instead.

  1. Wow!!!!!!! This is all I can say. People with mounds of money are making educational mishaps that are in the long run going to impact the future of our young people in addition to their livelihood and existence ;this is a sad day!

  2. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Gene Wilhoit, is now with the The Center for Innovation in Education (U of Kentucky) and an Advisor for the Gates-Funded Teacher Transformation Center at Michigan State University joining other advisors (some from the from office of the Gates Foundation ). In addition to leading the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Common Core, Wilhoit had previously headed the National Association of State Boards of Education and served as state education commissioner in both Arkansas and Kentucky.

    The University of Michigan TeachingWorks initiative in intended to trim teacher preparation to content mastery and a few’ high leverage” teaching skills. In December 2015, Teaching Works received a $6.8 million grant ( 3 years) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to push this “efficient, effective, highly prescriptive” version of teacher preparation into a network of other programs. The same program garnered $1.1 million form the Helmsley Charitable Trust in 2014.

    In a press release, Deborah Loewenberg Ball, director of TeachingWorks and dean of the U-M School of Education said, “We are committed to ensuring that all students receive quality instruction and that teachers enter the classroom ‘safe to practice’ on their very first day,” “To achieve this, we need to shift teaching to be like other fields in which you must demonstrate proficiency before practicing.”

    When Gates solicited proposals for these centers, (an unusual process at this foundation) applicants for the grants had to show they would support the Common Core. It was certainly a coup TeachingWorks to have Gene Wilhoit among other high value advisors. Among others serving as TeachingWorks advisors is Lynn Olson, advisor to the director, College Ready, at the Gates Foundation. Her bio says that she is responsible for strategic relationship management with cross-cutting College Ready partners, including the two national teachers unions, and provides strategic communications support to the director. She was previously employed at EdWeek , where among other duties she served as executive project editor for two Gates-funded reports. One is titled Quality Counts, an annual report card on public education in the 50 states; the other Diplomas Count, an annual report on high school graduation rates and policies.

    This is to say that there are very long philanthropic and publicity arms reaching into the teacher education programs at this PUBLIC university, and it is not the only recently funded initiative from Gates intended to micromanage teacher preparation.
    See more at:

  3. LA Educator permalink

    I am so glad that the Monopoly game is not going as planned – thanks in large part to your efforts, Mercedes. Thank God that a majority of citizens have come to the conclusion that no one really likes Common Core unless they have been paid to like it!

  4. Zorba permalink

    “What Bill Gates wants, he buys.”
    Well, of course he does. {{Sigh}} 😦

  5. Sheena permalink

    What if people stopped using all Bill Gates products??? Hum, I like the idea, I practice it and I tell others why I will not use his products.

  6. Marilyn Turner permalink

    Too bad he isn’t giving his money to save America like Trump is.. Common Core is horrible and no one wants it!!

  7. booklady permalink

    1. So when is Lakeside School adopting CCSS?
    2. Is H Skandera the state superintendent who has no education credential who came from Florida?

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. CCSSO Asks Jeb Bush’s “Chiefs for Change” to Help with ESSA | Diane Ravitch's blog
  2. About Gates’ New, Lobbying Nonprofit: Don’t Kid Yourself. Bill Gates Already Lobbies. | deutsch29
  3. Mercedes Schneider: Bill Gates Has Been Spending Millions to Buy Influence for Years | Diane Ravitch's blog

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