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Bill Gates Just Pumped $6.4M into California for Common Core

June 26, 2016

It seemed that Bill Gates’ Common Core push had cooled. As of June 01, 2016, I had seen no grants specific to Common Core listed on Gates’ “awarded grants” website. However, as of June 26, 2016, it seems that the first two Common Core grants for 2016 have indeed appeared on Gates’ site.

The combined amount for the two grants is $6.4 million.

Both are associated with California.

The first is to San Francisco-based WestEd. The Gates goal is to get teachers to buy into Common Core via WestEd’s “establishing local relationships”:


Date: May 2016
Purpose: to support and scale Common Core State Standards implementation and leverage established local relationships and teacher leaders to drive deeper use of high quality, standards-aligned tools and practices
Amount: $4,350,875

The second is to Cal State Fullerton for a one-day, statewide teacher pep rally that is supposed to ignite Common Core buy-in:

CSU Fullerton Auxiliary Services Corporation

Date: May 2016
Purpose: to convene large numbers of teachers on a single day in regions across the state of California to generate momentum around the singular impact of teachers on college and career readiness and directly impact teacher networking and collective practice, exposure to materials, resources and strategies for Common Core implementation
Amount: $2,000,000

So, it appears that Bill is still hanging in with his Common Core love– at least in California.

Meanwhile, his wife Melinda was in Washington, DC, on Friday, June 24th, 2016, and she apparently worked hard not discussing Gates Foundation involvement in education, which, of course, includes not discussing the Gates role in Common Core.

As for those two May 2016 Common Core grants: It does not seem that Bill Gates and his foundation have learned any lesson about effecting change. They want a grass roots, Common Core buy-in– so they are still trying to purchase it.

fanning cash


Coming July 08, 2016, from TC Press (revised release date):

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

Stay tuned.



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. One of the reasons that more CA teachers have supported the Common Core standards is the slower implementation of the standards over the course of several years in our state, as well as the strength of our teachers union and state superintendent of education Tom Torlakson to keep teacher evaluations away from test scores for a time, at least in the public non-privatized charter schools. In addition, many teachers and parents were dissatisfied with the old CA standards for their narrow focus. The Common Core standards allow much more flexibility in how teachers teach; for example, many science teachers are happy going back to experiments and hands on deep learning. Many teachers here feel that we are no longer racing through content, and are now better able to create more meaningful learning experiences that go deeper and are more engaging for students. Saying this does not mean that I’m not a huge proponent of all that is common core. I continue to be skeptical of how it is applied over generally across all subject areas, and is inaccessable in the early grades. Perhaps someone has explained to Bill Gates that a slower approach with more teacher autonomy is a better way to create positive and lasting change in education. May California serve as an example to the Gates educational philanthropies: strong teachers’ union; scaffolded implementation; teacher leadership and professional development; disconnect test scores from school and teacher evaluations.

    • I can honestly say that we have a lot more freedom now but it is absolute chaos. We still have our old, and nearly destroyed math textbooks adopted well over ten years ago and obviously, they do not match Common Core standards. We are sent little packets of thrown together materials from sources like engageNY and barely anyone uses them. Our secretary even had a system for ensuring that they were picking up for recycling so they didn’t have to store unused books. Last year the district started giving us the option to pass on them and we did. There is no curriculum, everyone is doing whatever they want to do. While I enjoy the freedom, there is absolutely no cohesiveness between schools or even teachers at a school. There are still far too many standards and no way to complete them in a school year. My district was one of those to start implementation the earliest. It has been a disaster.

    • Laura H. Chapman permalink

      Tina here is another viewpoint. I guess that you have not read the Next Generation Science Standards and compared those with the CCSS, or understood what happens to the arts under common core, not mentioned except under a dumper category called “technical subjects,” with a few examples through into ELA.

      Here is an example of CCSS treatment of the arts.

      Grades 9-10. Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment (e.g., Auden’s “Musée des Beaux Arts” and Breughel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus”).

      Note: This is a college-level assignment. This EXACT example comes from an Introductory English Survey Course at Sam Houston University, Huntsville, TX. The assignment appears on pages 98-99 in Achieve (2004) American Diploma Project (ADP), Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts. The link may still work at then go to pages 105-106 in the pdf. Or, if you prefer, do a Google search for Auden’s poem and you will see that this is an embarrassingly common assignment.

      I cannot fathom why teachers support standards that were written by stealth, misrepresented as “state-led” endorsed by shills on high office before they were published, were paid for by Bill Gates, interpreted by David Coleman as if they absolutely had to be used verbatim, and had to comprise 85% of a state’s standards in ELA and Math, permitting only 15% that might be relevant to a specific state, were designed to meet the nearly concurrent plans for SBAC and PARCC tests, etc. Add the ugly fact that retired Stanford professor of Education, Michael Kirst, Head of California”s State Board of Education took the boiler-plate marketing of the CCSS into the area of higher education, serving ably as a shill without even reading the standards.
      In any case, Mercedes post shows that Gates is still striving to shore up the Common Core, and four late 2015 grants went to teacher ed programs that met his criteria for supporting Common Core and also Doug Lemov’s non-nonsense discipline…for scaling up the chartered Relay Graduate School of Education.

    • In my mind, your last line is the most important: Unless those who wish to implement leveling standards divorce themselves from the Test Game and pull their hand out of the Testing Cookie Jar, they are doomed to fail.

    • “Perhaps someone has explained to Bill Gates that a slower approach with more teacher autonomy is a better way to create positive and lasting change in education. May California serve as an example to the Gates educational philanthropies: strong teachers’ union; scaffolded implementation; teacher leadership and professional development; disconnect test scores from school and teacher evaluations.”

      Gates can follow that example; in the meantime, teachers, teacher leaders, teacher educators and researchers, parents, and people with a brain and a conscience should trash Common Core and High Stakes Testing; start from scratch at the local level, trust the local democratic process, and allow teachers to professional magic makers with their kids. I know it must seem alluring to work with a broader set of standards with the supposed protection of the union (don’t count on it), but we have to continue to see the Common Core and its proponents for what they are, corporate driven anti-democratic anti-teacher anti-intellectual anti-public education self-interested (whether ego or money) lay people who have no business leading the educational conversation.

  2. Dr. Rich Swier permalink

    Great. Published:


  3. Well he is wasting his bucks. I worked on a project with West Ed once. Found them to be pretty incompetent 🙂

    • Christine Langhoff permalink

      It’d be fine if the bucks he’s wasting were really his. If he couldn’t use them to fund his “charity” work, he would have to pay taxes on them, as the rest of us little people do.

    • A decade or so ago, West Ed was hired by my district. Those were the “dog and pony show” days which have thankfully, for now, ended. We would put on a show for them under orders from the administration. Groups of retired teachers would come in our rooms with checklists and stare at our walls for about 10 minutes and then move on to another classroom. Then they would spend the rest of the day with the door closed in the principal’s office. There was really never any feedback and no one could really figure out what exactly they did. I do sense that we are very close to starting up those same dog and pony shows although as a result of all of this, our union contract now prevents outsiders from coming in to individual classrooms without teacher permission. In a low income, minority district I always wondered exactly what benefit we received from the millions given to West Ed.

  4. California is a stand-out for its successful rollout of Common Core because the courts prevented districts from using test scores in teacher evaluations.

  5. edwardperkins2012 permalink

    Ah yes, the courts not the US Constitution shall decide for us. In WI the state constitution grants control over our schools by the local school district. But then the feds come in with Common Core and their “other” education programs and for a measily few fed $$$ take control over our K-12 schools.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Bill Gates Just Pumped $6.4M into California for Common Core | TechEducator1
  2. California Floats Multiple Measures for Grading Schools - Living in Dialogue
  3. The Critical Reader » Will the College Board ever force David Coleman to resign?
  4. Bill Gates Is Still Dabbling in Common Core | deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

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