Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brief Audit Shows How Gates Paid to Launch CCSS and Buy Off Potential Opponents (& Part II)

            *Blockbuster Gates-CCSS audit expose *Time for popular revolt vs. Microsoft
            *Installment II of audit at the base of this post

Here is a blockbuster post by the blog deutsch29 that provides details and analyzes the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's financial manipulation of civic society to create and launch the Common Core State Standards. This manipulation enabled Bill Gates to engage in an unprecedented hijacking of the constitutional republican process in a cloaked "shadow bureaucracy" fashion outside of political convention that I analyzed earlier this month in "The Common Core and Gates' Education Commercialization Complex".  Last week I spoke to the basis for the left and right to cooperate in fighting the neoliberal new Whigs (Democrats) and the Republicans. In "Common Ground vs. Common Core" I wrote on how the AFT and NEA leaders are on board with the Common Core State Standards, and how the Thomas Fordham Institute is supporting the program.

Deutsch29's audit shows that monetary inducements of millions of dollars per organization (to the AFT, $4.4 million, to the NEA, $6.3 million) that turned the aforementioned potential opponents into lapdog endorsers of the program. This brilliantly thorough research job just misses the P20 Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems aspect which links test performance with potentially interstate student data mining, such as in the pioneering inBloom project. The PARCC and the SBAC tests, along with the SLDS and computation of value-added measures, will need to run on computer servers. The sheer scope will mean that it would be too expensive to run them on Apple Computers, ergo, the grand payoff for Microsoft. Why else would Gates be poring millions to the various actors and institutions documented in this expose? Say, whatever happened to that anti-trust suit against Microsoft in which Joel Klein was the lead prosecutor? The main problem was that it only dealt with Gates' bundling mandates of the Internet Explorer browser in with operating systems. It did not get to his essential Microsoft monopoly in institutional operating systems and office suites. The movement against Common Core must carry corollary popular demand that the government initiate an authentic monopoly case against Microsoft. Regardless of the tech world buzz that it has lost its position to Apple, the fact remains that computers running on Microsoft are cheaper and remain the operating system of choice to institutions and budget-minded individuals. Gates' usurpation of democracy and the educational system should once and for all be the basis for a popular uprising against his power, power that no major Democrat or Republican has challenged.

The sweep of Gates' money is breath-taking. He has managed to build liberal and conservative unity among government actors, interest groups and the media. As discussed elsewhere, the standards amount to a semi-curriculum as they mandate how teachers must teach. The standards/semi-curriculum carry the force of law, so deviance is a professional transgression. School supervisors have been carrying out an intensive re-orientation effort to get staff to at once buy into the idea that they must teach according to the standards [which are content-free, but process-focused] but that the standards do not dictate how to teach. This is not doublethink? (Contrary to the oft repeated lie, teachers were not involved in writing the Standards. None of the authors was a teacher, and only three were involved, and this was at the validation stage.)
Fortunately, the controversial nature of the standards has captured the outrage of the populist right and more recently the populist left, to create what has been dubbed an "unholy alliance." Among education professors, the reaction against the Standards has brought into concert Diane Ravitch on the left --who Jonathan Alter has dubbed the "Whitaker Chambers of education reform"-- and James Milgram on the right.
This is a moment in history that poses to citizens --will we permit this hijacking of democracy and repeat the lie that this was a free creation by the states, and moreover, to educators --will we carry out orders in conducting educational malpractice. Or will we speak truth to power? The time to act and resist is now.

A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending

August 27, 2013
This is a post about Bill Gates and his money, a brief audit of his Common Core (CCSS) purchases. Before I delve into Gates accounting, allow me to set the stage with a bit of CCSS background.
It is important to those promoting CCSS that the public believes the idea that CCSS is “state-led.” The CCSS website reports as much and names two organizations as “coordinating” the “state-led” CCSS: The National Governors Association (NGA), and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Interestingly, the CCSS website makes no mention of CCSS “architect” David Coleman:
The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).  The standards were developed in collaboration with teachers, school administrators, and experts, to provide a clear and consistent framework to prepare our children for college and the workforce.[Emphasis added.]
Nevertheless, if one reviews this 2009 NGA news release on those principally involved in CCSS development, one views a listing of 29 individuals associated with Student Achievement Partners, ACT, College Board, and Achieve. In truth, only 2 out of 29 members are not affiliated with an education company.
CCSS as “state-led” is fiction. Though NGA reports 29 individuals as involved with CCSS creation, it looks to be even fewer:
NGA first directly involved governors in nationalizing education standards in June 2008, when it co-hosted an education forum with the Hunt Institute, a project of former North Carolina Gov. James Hunt Jr. In December 2008, NGA, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and Achieve Inc. released a report calling for national standards. The report recommended “a strong state-federal partnership” to accomplish this goal.
Those three nonprofits answered their own call the next few months, deciding to commission Common Core. NGA and Hunt’s press releases during that time, and a paper describing NGA’s Common Core process by former NGA education director Dane Linn, provide no endorsement of such activity from more than a handful of elected officials. [Emphasis added.]
Also involved in creation of CCSS is Student Achievement Partners, the company David Coleman started in 2007 in order produce national standards. Student Achievement Partners has no work other than CCSS.
Now to Bill Gates and his money.
The four principal organizations associated with CCSS– NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners– have accepted millions from Bill Gates. In fact, prior to CCSS “completion” in June 2009, Gates had paid millions to NGA, CCSSO, and Achieve. And the millions continued to flow following CCSS completion.
Prior to June 2009, NGA received $23.6 million from the Gates Foundation from 2002 through 2008. $19.7 million was for the highly-disruptive “high school redesign” (i.e.,“small schools”) project, one that Gates abandoned.
After June 2009, NGA received an additional $2.1 million from Gates, the largest payout coming in February 2011,
to work with state policymakers on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, with special attention to effective resource reallocation to ensure complete execution, as well as rethinking state policies on teacher effectiveness 
Amount: $1,598,477 [Emphasis added.]
Years ago, Gates paid NGA to “rethink policies on teacher effectiveness.”
One man, lots of money, nationally shaping a profession to which he has never belonged.
As for CCSSO: The Gates amounts are even higher than for NGA. Prior to June 2009, the Gates Foundation gave $47.1 million to CCSSO (from 2002 to 2007), with the largest amount focused on data “access” and “data driven decisions”:
March 2007 
Purpose: to support Phase II of the National Education Data Partnership seeking to promote transparency and accessibility of education data and improve public education through data-driven decision making 
Amount: $21,642,317 [Emphasis added.]
Following CCSS completion in June 2009, Gates funded CCSSO an additional $31.9 million, with the largest grants earmarked for CSSS implementation and assessment, and data acquisition and control:
July 2013 
Purpose: to CCSSO, on behalf of the PARCC and SBAC consortia to support the development of high quality assessments to measure the Common Core State Standards 
Amount: $4,000,000
November 2012 
Purpose: to support the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in helping States’ to build their data inoperability capability and IT leadership capacity 
Amount: $1,277,648
October 2012 
Purpose: to support strategic planning for the sustainability of the Common Core State Standards and the two multi-state assessment consortia tasked with designing assessments aligned with those standards 
Amount: $1,100,000
June 2011 
Purpose: to support the Common Core State Standards work 
Amount: $9,388,911
November 2009 
Purpose: to partner with federal, state, public, and private interests to develop common, open, longitudinal data standards 
Amount: $3,185,750
July 2009 
Purpose: to increase the leadership capacity of chiefs by focusing on standards and assessmentsdata systems, educator development and determining a new system of supports for student learning 
Amount: $9,961,842  [Emphasis added.]
Gates money also flowed to Achieve, Inc.; prior to June 2009, Achieve received $23.5 million in Gates funding. Another $13.2 million followed after CCSS creation, with $9.3 million devoted to “building strategic alliances” for CCSS promotion:
 June 2012 
Purpose: to strengthen and expand the ADP Network, provide
more support to states for CCSS implementation, and build strategic national
and statewide alliances by engaging directly with key stakeholders 
Amount: $9,297,699  [Emphasis added.]
CCSS is not “state led.” It is “Gates led.”
How foolish it is to believe that the man with the checkbook is not calling the CCSS shots.
The “nonprofit” Student Achievement Partners, founded by CCSS “architect” David Coleman, also benefits handsomely via Gates. All that Student Achievement Partners does is CCSS, and for that, in June 2012, Gates granted Coleman’s company $6.5 million.
In total, the four organizations primarily responsible for CCSS– NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners– have taken $147.9 million from Bill Gates.
Common Core Gates Standards.
Let us now consider major education organizations and think tanks that have accepted Gates money for the express purpose of advancing CCSS:
American Enterprise Institute: $1,068,788.
American Federation of Teachers: $5,400,000.
Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development: $3,269,428.
Council of Great City Schools: $5,010,988.
Education Trust: $2,039,526.
National Congress of Parents and Teachers: $499,962.
National Education Association: $3,982,597.
Thomas B. Fordham Institute: $1,961,116.
(For most of the organizations above, Gates has funded other reform-related efforts, including those related to charter schools, small schools, teacher evaluation, and data systems. My comprehensive listing of Gates grants for the organizations above [and then some] can be found here:  Gates Foundation Grants to Select Education and Policy Groups)
From the list of organizations above, I would like to highlight a few particular Gates purchases. First is this one, paid to the Fordham Institute:
Date: January 2011 
Purpose: to track state progress towards implementation of standards and to understand how what students read changes in response to the standards 
Amount: $1,002,000 [Purpose emphasis added.]
Even though CCSS was never piloted, Gates and Fordham want to watch state “progress” in implementing CCSS, and they even want to know how the untested CCSS shifts the curriculum– even though reformers are quick to parrot that CCSS is “not a curriculum.” This “tracking” tacitly acknowledges CCSS is meant to drive curriculum.
Next is this Gates purchase of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI):
Date: June 2012 
Purpose: to support their education policy work in four distinct areas:
Exploring the Challenges of Common Core, Future of American Education Working Groups, Innovations in Financial Aid, and Bridging K-12 and Higher Ed with Technology 
Amount: $1,068,788 [Purpose emphasis added.]
Gates is paying AEI to promote educational policy that bolsters CCSS. And Gates is getting his money’s worth from AEI “scholar” Frederick Hess, who offers these twoarticles advising “Common Core’ites.”
Third is the Gates purchase of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT):
Date: June 2012 
Purpose: to support the AFT Innovation Fund and work on teacher
development and Common Core State Standards 
Amount: $4,400,000
Even though AFT was not invited to the CCSS table until the “standards” had already been drafted by the CCSS Inner Circle noted above, and even though CCSS has not been piloted, AFT only called for a testing moratorium and not for a cease-and-desist of CCSS altogether. It appears that accepting $4.4 million in order to “work on teacher development and Common Core Standards” precludes “just saying no” to what amounts to the CCSS Colossal Education Experiment.
Fourth is the Gates purchase of the National Education Association (NEA). In July 2013, NEA officially endorsed CCSS, and in July 2013, Gates paid NEA for its support in the form of two grants totaling $6.3 million:
Date: July 2013
Purpose: to support the capacity of state NEA affiliates to advance teaching and learning issues and student success in collaboration with local affiliates
Amount: $2,426,500
Date: July 2013
Purpose: to support a cohort of National Education Association Master Teachers in the development of Common Core-aligned lessons in K-5 mathematics and K-12 English Language Arts
Amount: $3,882,600
NEA was not at the CCSS birthing table with NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and David Coleman’s Student Achievement Partners. However, after the establishment of CCSS without teachers, now Gates is willing to pay a teachers union to create curricula that in the end do not really matter since the CCSS power is in the assessments that are completely out of NEA’s control.
I have saved my favorite CCSS-Gates purchase for last, this one to the Council of Great City Schools (CGCS):
Date: June 2011 
Purpose: to promote and coordinate successful implementation of the new common core standards in major urban public school systems nationwide 
Amount: $4,910,988
Date: March 2010 
Purpose: to support the development of a cross-sector proposal to pilot test the new common core standards in a set of selected cities 
Amount: $100,000  [Purpose emphasis added.]
It seems that Gates paid CGCS $100,000 to propose a pilot study of CCSS in 2010 (not to conduct a pilot study– just to draft the idea for a pilot). Fifteen months later, there is no mention of a “proposal” much less a pilot study materializing; instead, Gates pays CGCS to “just go ahead” and “coordinate successful implementation” of the untested CCSS.
So much Gates cash, and so many hands willing to accept it.
Bill Gates likes Common Core. So, he is purchasing it. In doing so, Gates demonstrates (sadly so) that when one has enough money, one can purchase fundamentally democratic institutions.
I do not have billions to counter Gates. What I do have is this blog and the ability to expose the purchase.
I might be without cash, but I am not without power.
Can Bill Gates buy a foundational democratic institution? Will America allow it? The fate of CCSS will provide crucial answers to those looming questions.
deutsch29, August 27, 2013, A Brief Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending


Gates Money and Common Core: Part II

September 3, 2013
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 StateStandards                                                                                                                   Amount: $800,000
Date: February 2011                                                                                                Purpose: tobuild 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 effortsto provide training and information to implement Common Core State Standards                                                                                                                Amount: $800,000   [Purpose emphasis added.]
Parental indoctrination.
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.
What assessments?
Gotta sell the legislators.  After all, they control the state coffers, and CCSS is a money-making business– especially for the cost of assessments (see here andhere for examples).
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.]
More treadmill.
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.
deutsch29 blog, September 3, 2013