Historical, financial and media analyses of the organization that spawned the Common Core Initiative, the two copyright holders, two of the paid proselytizers, and the delivery vehicle, where the reputed CC “architect” now runs things (for a cool annual salary of well over a $million).
Education news aggregation at the RealClearEducation (RCE) website purports to be journalistic, independent, thorough and somewhat representative of the whole. During a period from 2014 to 2016, however, it was run directly by leaders of the DC consulting group Bellwether Education Partners (BEP). During that period, RCE’s selection of source material was lopsidedly skewed toward those issues and perspectives favored by those allied with BEP. Except for some occasional instances of pandering to the more politically well connected among the opposition, RealClearEducation was about as biased a news source as was humanly possible to construct. Its coverage of the Common Core Standards Initiative (CCSI), in particular, ranged from blatant promotion to a variety of disingenuously framed news and opinion pieces featuring individuals and organizations receiving funds from Common Core’s donor groups, without revealing their conflict of interest. Bellwether’s behavior in managing a news outlet raises larger questions about the trustworthiness of information provided by education policy funders and recipients, the incestuous nature of the interlocking interests at both ends of the funding, and the almost total absence of the vast majority of the US population from some education policy discussions.
According to a recent publicly available filing with the Internal Revenue Service, the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation is “the nation’s leader in advancing educational excellence for every child through quality research, analysis, and commentary, as well as on-the-ground action and advocacy in Ohio.” The mission statement for the legally separate but commonly owned Thomas B. Fordham Institute uses exactly the same words. Moreover, the two organizations share the same board of trustees. All of which would lead one to believe that the two entities—foundation and institute—should be considered two parts of the same whole.
he Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Governors Association (NGA) are member associations headquartered in Washington, DC. They are also co-owners of the Common Core Standards—the controversial educational content standards that most US states have incorporated, in whole or in part, into their K–12 education programs.1Does College Board deserve public subsidies? by Richard P. Phelps:
Yet, despite what their names might suggest, they are not government entities, even though most of their members are elected or appointed state government officials. Peter Wood explain
The century-old College Entrance Examination Board (College Board) sponsors, develops, and administers standardized testing programs, most famously the “SAT suite of tests,” which includes the SAT college admission test and the “pre-SAT,” or PSAT, and the more than thirty Advanced- Placement (AP) courses and exams that high-school students take for college credit.
In its own words,
We are a mission-driven, not-for-profit membership organization made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading colleges, schools, and other educational organizations. Through our programs and initiatives, we expand opportunities for students and challenge them to own their future
… Our primary goals are to improve college and career readiness and increase access to opportunity for all students through focused assessments, rigorous instruction, personalized practice, breaking barriers to college entry, and access to better planning tools and skills needed most for tomorrow’s lobs.1
Achieve is corporate America’s direct connection to national education policy. Mainstream business leaders seem to trust it, and their foundations give it money. Achieve lists all of the following as contributors:1
Arconic Foundation; AT&T Foundation; The Battelle Foundation; Bayer USA Foundation; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; The Boeing Company; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; Chevron; The Cisco Foundation; DuPont; ExxonMobil; The GE Foundation; GSK; IBM Corporation; Intel Foundation; The Joyce Foundation; The Leona & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust; Lumina Foundation; Microsoft; PwC Charitable Foundation; The Prudential Foundation; S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation; State Farm Insurance Companies; Travelers Foundation; and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.