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Fordham Institute Is Still Pitching Common Core. Big Surprise.

January 7, 2017

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute (TBF) has been trying to sell the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for years.

In October 2009, TBF received almost $1 million from the Gates Foundation “to review the common core standards and develop supportive materials.”

It should come as no surprise that in 2010, TBF rated CCSS “clearly superior to standards in most states.”

But not all states. An excerpt:

Based on our observations, the Common Core standards are clearly superior to those currently in use in thirty-nine states in math and thirty-seven states in English. For thirty-three states, the Common Core is superior in both math and reading.

TBF gave CCSS an A-minus in math and a B-plus in English Language Arts (ELA). Some states they rated higher. Still, TBF was paid to sell CCSS. So, TBF promotes CCSS above any existing set of state standards, including standards it rated as better than CCSS.

TBF pitches CCSS. That’s just what it does.

TBF draws notable funding from the Gates Foundation (almost $8 million to date), and as of this writing, the Gates Foundation is still disbursing grants in order to advance CCSS.

TBF is a think tank, which means that it needs to do something in order to justify its existence, so why not peddle the CCSS that Bill Gates still likes?

On January 05, 2016, Robert Pondiscio, a TBF “senior fellow,” published a “review” of books criticizing CCSS, including mine.

It’s not really a review. It’s a slanted plea in support of a Common Core that will not achieve what it was supposed to: A standardization of standards across states, and an accompanied common assessment system designed to compare states one to another.

He views himself as “defending high standards.” Of course, in Pondiscio’s world, “high standards” means CCSS alone.

Pondiscio just can’t understand why I won’t accept CCSS and instead use my energy to “choose materials, create curriculum, train teachers, and insist on implementation with fidelity.”

My reason is simple, and it is the reason I wrote Common Core Dilemma:

CCSS is a political contrivance through and through, and I do not want it. I do not need it, and I am not invested in it.

Here’s the topper: In its 2010 report, TBF gave Louisiana’s ELA standards the same grade as CCSS ELA, yet TBF wants me, a Louisiana English teacher, to buy into a lateral move by TBF’s own Gates-funded estimation.

Political contrivance. No thanks.

Pondiscio writes that he is not a “cheerleader” for CCSS. However, he fails to explain how TBF could promote a set of standards to all states even though TBF did not even find CCSS superior to the ELA and math standards in all states.

Again, the answer is that CCSS is a political scheme, one that most of its other cheerleaders have since bailed on.

Even Gates has restricted most of his 2016 CCSS grants to a single state: California. Out of 10 CCSS grants totaling $32 million, 7 (totaling $18.2 million) are for CCSS in California.

In 2016, Gates dished out only 3 grants for the national promotion of CCSS:

Date: July 2016
Purpose: to increase support for and reduce opposition to the Common Core and high-quality assessments, and to promote high-quality early childhood education through strategic advocacy efforts that bring new voices into the early childhood movement
Amount: $1,000,000

Date: August 2016
Purpose: to support national communications work around Common Core, high-quality and aligned assessments, and ESSA implementation
Amount: $7,900,010

Date: November 2016
Purpose: to support system-wide shifts, working with both state and local levels, around the implementation of the Common Core, and the adoption of personalized and deeper learning strategies
Amount: $5,000,000

There will be no revolution of American education as a result of CCSS. Billionaire foundations and the think tanks that they fund cannot fabricate bottom-up investment from their top-down loftiness.


–Mercedes Schneider, Senior Fellow of Her Own Public School Classroom


CC book cover

Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?

See for yourself why Robert Pondiscio does not like this book.


Released July 2016– Book Three:

School Choice: The End of Public Education? 

school choice cover  (Click image to enlarge)

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

    Dr. Schneider, I believe his last name is spelled “Pondiscio”. Great piece. Thanks. Richard Phelps

  2. Christine Langhoff permalink

    “–Mercedes Schneider, Senior Fellow of Her Own Public School Classroom”

    Great tagline. More of us need to start using them.
    Happy New Year to you and yours, Mercedes!

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