What is Common Core... Myth versus Fact
Common Core is often written by its initials CCSS which stands for Common Core State Standards. The idea of national standards may seem like a good idea. Unfortunately, these national standards have turned into a nightmare for students, parents and teachers. The marketing myth or slogan factory for Common Core is that CCSS is a set of “State led national standards which prepare students to be career and college ready.” In fact, Common Core is Gates led not State led. The standards were hastily written by a few corporate consultants – not by teachers or child development specialists. The Common Core standards were so poorly written that they have been condemned by many educational professionals as being not as good as the prior State standards that CCSS replaced. This is a problem because Common Core standards are patented and do not allow for more than minor changes.
Worst of all, Common Core Standards do not prepare students for college or careers. For example, even if a student passed all of the math standards by completing the fake common core tests, they would not be ready to take college level courses. Nor would they be ready to get a good paying job. So the whole Common Core program is nothing but a scam based on a series of lies. The real purpose of Common Core is first to create billions of dollars in profit for the Education Industrial Complex and then second to destroy public schools and public school students to such an extent that the general public will demand that public schools be closed and replaced with private for profit schools that are exempt from the Common Core standards.
Who Owns CCSS?
The Common Core standards are patented by a couple of fake non-profit groups called the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officials (CCSSO). Both of these groups are unelected, private organizations who get most of their funding (millions of dollars) from Bill Gates through the Gates Foundation. They own the copyright to the Common Core standards. This really means that Bill Gates controls the copyright to Common Core standards.
Because these two groups are private organizations, there is no public record of how they make decisions.
If the Common Core standards were so poorly written, why did over 40 States adopt the CCSS?
In order to receive billions of dollars in federal funding through a corrupt federal program called Race to the Top (RTTT), States were forced to quickly adopt Common Core tests and standards. In other words, States were forced to adopt Common Core through a series of bribes and punishments. Most States adopted CCSS before the standards were even written! The states caved to federal blackmail because they needed the money due to the recession.
What is the Common Core plan?
The plan is to subject children to endless Common Core high stakes tests in every grade from Kindergarten through High School. The two official tests are SBAC and PARCC. Like all high stakes tests, these tests will really simply measure how wealthy the child's family is rather than how much they know about the Common Core standards. Most of these test questions were adopted directly from a prior voluntary national test called NAEP or the National Assessment of Educational progress. Thus, the CCSS test questions have almost nothing to do with the Common Core standards. The Common Core plan is simply an excuse to declare two thirds of all kids to be “failures.”
Who is Promoting Common Core?
If Common Core is so harmful to children, why would anyone even promote it? Billionaires like Bill Gates promote Common Core because they stand to make billions of dollars by privatizing our public schools. Bill Gates has spent several billion dollars starting and funding hundreds of fake grassroots groups to produce fake reports about how wonderful Common Core is. He has also spent billions of dollars bribing corporate news organizations like NPR to promote Common Core. He has even spent millions more bribing both teachers unions, the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Parent Teacher Association to promote Common Core. Given this blizzard of propaganda, it is no wonder that even well meaning teachers and parents have been taken in by the many false statements promoting Common Core. We will provide more details about Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation in a later chapter. But for now, it is worth noting that the Gates Foundation is one of the most corrupt money laundering and tax evasion schemes the world has ever known. Through this and other schemes, Bill Gates has avoided paying billions of dollars in State and federal taxes.
Money that should have gone towards hiring teachers instead went towards bribing politicians, paying off the corporate media and setting up hundreds of fake organizations all in an effort to destroy and then privatize our public schools. To see who has been bribed or owned by Bill Gates, just go to the Gates Foundation website. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/
Then in the top menu, hover the cursor over “How We Work” and select a menu item called “Awarded Grants.” This will take you to the following page:
Type in National Governors Association into the Search Box, then click on the blue “Search Grants” button to see how much Bill has given to the National Governors Association and when the grants were given. The phrase “College Ready” means Common Core. There were 13 direct grants totaling $24 million. There have also been hundreds of hidden grants to various fake groups working with the NGA.
Next type in the Council of Chief State School Officers. There were 21 grants to the CCSSO totaling about $85 million. There were also hundreds of other more hidden grants to hundreds of fake organizations promoting Common Core.
While NGA and CCSSO own the copyright to Common Core, the Common Core standards were actually written by a group called Student Achievement Partners. Type this into the search box and you will get three grants totaling $5 million. The bribery extends way beyond fake education groups. Type in National Public Radio into the Search Box. There were 11 grants totaling $14 million. It should come as no surprise that NPR has had dozens of programs promoting Common Core as a wonderful program for American children! Type in NEA which is the largest national teachers union. There are 9 grants totaling $8 million. No wonder the NEA supports Common Core. Type in AFT which is the other national teachers union. There are 8 grants totaling $11 million. No wonder AFT supports Common Core!
Supported by billionaires... What can possibly go wrong?
The takeover of our public schools via Common Core has been a process shrouded in secrecy with no public hearings, no public comments, almost no involvement by parents or teachers, no scientific testing and no scientific research – peer reviewed or otherwise. The rush to implement Common Core has been a deeply flawed process filled with corruption, bribes, lies and distortions at every stage in the process.
The Gates foundation alone has spent hundreds of millions of dollars setting up hundreds of fake “grassroots” organizations and bribing everyone from the corporate media to the Congress to State legislators.
Arne Duncan and the U.S. Department of Education
Unfortunately, many corrupt State legislators still promote Common Core because that is how they get money for their reelection campaigns. They use the excuse that we need to keep Common Core in order to get the Federal funding associated with Race To The Top – a corrupt program run by a crook named Arne Duncan – a former basketball player and current snake oil salesman who knows nothing about education or children but was appointed as the person to run the US Department of Education.
Arne Duncan used to be in charge of Chicago Public Schools – where he closed an average of ten public schools per year, fired all of the teachers and turned all of the schools into private for profit charter schools. Thousands of parents and teachers in Chicago adamantly protested the closing of these schools and thousands of children were harmed by these school closures. But their protests fell on deaf ears because Arne was doing the bidding of his corporate billionaire masters.
There is a very close relationship between the US Department of Education and the Gates Foundation. Nearly all of the upper managers in the US Department of Education used to work for or received grants from the Gates Foundation. The US Department of Education, under the leadership of Arnie Duncan, has spent roughly $4.5 Billion dollars in “Race to the Top” tax payer dollars (money that was supposed to be part of the 2009 stimulus funds) bribing state governments into adopting the Common Core. Only 5 States were able to resist the onslaught of bribery and propaganda. Between 2009 to 2011, 45 States adopted Common Core. Not a single State allowed a vote of the people on the standards that would determine the future of their children. Most legislators never even read the Common Core standards. Even today, with school districts forced to fire teachers by the thousands in order to spend billions of dollars on new “Common Core” textbooks, new Common Core computer networks and new Common Core tests, there is still no evidence that Common Core will benefit students. But there is plenty of evidence that Common Core harms students.
How much does this fake Common Core program cost?
Common Core tests are costing States billions of dollars. But the real big money is in the Common Core text books which are supposedly “aligned” with the Common Core standards and Common Core tests. In fact, the Common Core text books were also hastily written and often have little to do with Common Core standards and are merely an excuse to dump billions of dollars worth of poorly written fake tests books on cash strapped local school districts. There is also many billions that must be spent upgrading computers and computer programs. A state by state Cost analysis was released in 2012 by the Pioneer Institute. The report, “National Cost of Aligning States and Localities to the Common Core Standards”, estimates that it will cost US tax payers $16 billion to implement Common Core!
All of these billions of dollars is money taken away from hiring teachers and placed in the pockets of corporate leaders and Wall Street hedge fund managers who bribed corrupt elected officials into passing laws mandating Common Core. In Washington State, Common Core will cost over $482 million – nearly all of it paid for by local school districts. Source: OPSI Fiscal Notes for 2011 HB 1443
Common Core History... The Marketing Myth of the Miraculous Conception of Common Core
Corporate America would like you to believe that Common Core is a recent idea that resulted from a meeting of Bill Gates with a couple of promoters in the summer of 2008. According to a June 7 2014 article written by Lyndsey Layton in the Washington Post, the involvement of Bill Gates in the Common Core scam was due to a brief two hour meeting Bill Gates had with Gene Wilhoit and David Coleman in Seattle in the summer of 2008.
Here is how this myth was described by Lynsey Layton:
“On a summer day in 2008, Gene Wilhoit, director of a national group of state school chiefs, and David Coleman, an emerging evangelist for the standards movement, spent hours in Bill Gates’s sleek headquarters near Seattle, trying to persuade him and his wife, Melinda, to turn their idea into reality. Coleman and Wilhoit told Bill and Melinda Gates that academic standards varied so wildly between states that high school diplomas had lost all meaning, that as many as 40 percent of college freshmen needed remedial classes and that U.S. students were falling behind their foreign competitors. The pair also argued that a fragmented education system stifled innovation because textbook publishers and software developers were catering to a large number of small markets instead of exploring breakthrough products. That seemed to resonate with the man who led the creation of the world’s dominant computer operating system... “Can you do this?” Wilhoit recalled being asked. “Is there any proof that states are serious about this, because they haven’t been in the past?
Wilhoit responded that he and Coleman could make no guarantees but that “we were going to give it the best shot we could... After the meeting, weeks passed with no word. Then Wilhoit got a call: Gates was in. What followed was one of the swiftest and most remarkable shifts in education policy in U.S. history. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards. With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes.”
The story sounds good... It is such a wonderful story about how two people can make a difference in the world if only they can get a two hour meeting with the richest man in the world to pitch their idea. The story was so good that it fooled the Washington Post reporter. But it is actually not true. The fix was in on the Common Core long before 2008.
Follow the Money to the Gates Foundation Database
The way to get at the real history of common core is to follow the money through the Gates Foundation database. The money trail confirms that David Coleman and Gene Wilhoit did not simply launch Common Core in 2008. Instead, they had been working on Common Core and other scams with funding from Bill Gates and other billionaires for years before they came up with the name Common Core. We described the early history of this school privatization scam in Chapter One. We will now describe the rest of the history of Common Core.
Who Actually Wrote the Common Core Standards?
Typically, state learning standards are written by a committee of up to 100 highly experienced teachers. However, our research indicates that the Common Core standards were written by two Wall Street consultants – neither of whom was an experienced teacher. This is why the Common Core standards are so poorly written.
There is considerable disagreement over exactly who wrote the Common Core standards. Some have claimed that it was written by a committee of 24 people on the 2009 “work group” – nearly all of whom were from the billionaire funded Ed Reform scammers. Some say there were a couple of teachers who “reviewed the standards” and then refused to sign the final document. But these were merely review committees. The actual standards had been written in secret long before being seen by any review committees. The decisions about any changes to the Common Core standards were also made in secret by a very small group of individuals – none of whom were teachers.
So, while our research indicates that only two people created the standards, there is really no way of knowing how the standards were written or when they were written or who wrote them. It is all a big secret.
However, we do know more about who the “lead writers” of the Common Core standards were. The lead writers are the people who controlled what standards were included or excluded from the Common Core standards. Some have claimed that there were six lead writers – three for English and three for math. Others have claimed there were only two leader writers for English: David Coleman and Susan Pimentel. The three claimed lead writers for Common Core math standards were Jason Zimba, William McCallum and Phil Daro. However, our conclusion is that there may have been only one lead writer for the math standards, namely Jason Zimba. And there may have been only one lead writer for the English standards, namely Susan Pimentel. We base this conclusion in part on the history of how the Common Core standards were written. As we describe below, the standards evolved from other previous standards. It does not take more than one person to copy/paste standards from other lists of standards. We also base this conclusion on the poorly written nature of the final product. It appears there were no checks or balances. This is a characteristic of standards that were written by only one person. We also base this conclusion on statements made by the claimed authors. David Coleman has publicly stated that he knows little about creating English standards. His resume confirms this fact. By contrast, Susan Pimental does have a background in compiling English standards. Finally, we base this conclusion on researching early pre-CCSS documents that appear to indicate that only Susan Pimental selected the English standards and only Jason Zimba selected the Math standards.
1993 Susan Pimentel, Achieve INC and the American Diploma Project
As we explain below in the section on Student Achievement Partners, Susan Pimentel was one of the three primary writers of the Common Core standards. Some have written that she was added to Student Achievement Partners in 2009 to add a “woman's face” to a set of Common Core standards that was mainly written by two men (David Coleman and Jason Zimba). In fact, Susan had much more experience writing education reform standards than either of the other two scam artists who wrote the Common Core standards, David Coleman and Jason Zimba.
Susan had been working on ed reform standards since 1993. Susan got her start in the fake ed reform movement with a grant from the Walton billionaires in 1993. (In the last chapter, we explained how the Walton Billionaires were associated with Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton and their effort to privatize our public schools in the 1980s and early 1990s).
Susan got her law degree from Cornell University and then worked for the Maryland State legislature and then a school district in Maryland implementing a “student tracking” program. In 1993, thanks to a grant from the Walton billionaires and shortly after Bill and Hillary Clinton took office, Susan founded a fake ed reform group called Standards Work (registered trademark) in Hanover New Hampshire. The goal of this group was to write and implement a set of national education standards and align instruction and textbooks to these standards – very similar to what Marc Tucker and Hillary Clinton had wanted to do.
On the history page for the Standards Work website, they explain:
“Following a change in leadership at the White House (after the 1992 election), education reform issues continued but under slightly different names. In 1993, America 2000 (Bush I) became Goals 2000 (Clinton), and the America 2000 Coalition (Bush I) became the Coalition for Goals 2000 (Clinton)... In 1993, the Walton Family Foundation, a long-time funder of Coalition activities asked the Coalition to manage a two-year grant funding the development of a How To book. Published in 1995 and co-authored by Denis P. Doyle and Susan Pimentel, Raising the Standard: An Eight-Step Action Guide for Schools and Communities, was written not only for schools and school districts but also for parents and business and civic leaders who want to move beyond setting standards to implementing them.” https://www.standardswork.org/history.asp
So Susan is backed by the same billionaires who backed Bill and Hillary Clinton and for the same reason: to privatize our public schools. It was not long before Susan hooked up with the private corporate backers of a key private trade organization, Achieve INC, that was also working to privatize our public schools. According to her professional resume, Susan began working as a consultant for Achieve in 1996 – the year after she published her book and the same year that Achieve INC was founded. In a previous chapter, we described a corporate funded group called Achieve INC that in 1996 grew as a cancer out of the National Governors Association to include corporate leaders and lacking even a single teacher. In 1998, Achieve INC began what it called the Academic Standards and Assessments Benchmarking Pilot Project. In October 1999, Bill Gates gave Achieve INC one million dollars to “support comprehensive benchmarking and review of academic standards and assessments between states.”
Thus, the beginning of Common Core goes all the way back to the beginning of the Gates Foundation. Bill Gates did not suddenly start promoting Common Core in the summer of 2008. He had been funding it since 1999.
In 2001, Achieve started the American Diploma Project (ADP) to create a set of National Learning standards and associated tests to determine if high school students were ready for college and careers in corporate America. ADP was the obvious precursor to Common Core. Sadly, not a single teacher was involved in writing the ADP national standards. Instead, Susan Pimentel was a consultant to the American Diploma Project, which was heavily funded by the Gates Foundation. The American Diploma Project (ADP) was given $12.6 million by the Gates Foundation to come up with its high stakes testing standards. https://www.achieve.org/history-achieve
In May, 2004, Bill Gates gave Achieve INC another $7.7 million in what appears to be a bribe to get “certain states” to join the effort to adopt higher graduation requirements:
Also in 2004, ADP released an article called “Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma That Counts.” This report described a “common core” of English and mathematics academic standards that American high school graduates needed for success in college and the workforce. The history of ADP magically turning into CCSS is described in several documents posted on the Achieve Press Release Archive which goes back to 2004. Here is the link:
Here is the oldest press release on ADP:
“WASHINGTON — Feb. 10, 2004 — High school graduates must master more English and math for their diplomas to signify readiness for jobs and college, says the American Diploma Project (ADP), which today released new graduation benchmarks. The three ADP sponsors — Achieve, Inc.; The Education Trust and the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation — call upon higher education, employers and policymakers to tie admissions, placement and hiring decisions to solid new 12th grade high school exit standards.”
In October 2004, Bill Gates gave ADP $7.8 million to “adopt high school graduation requirements that align with college entry requirements.” There were several more grants after that. All of these ADP grants confirm that the story about the Common Core idea coming up in 2008 is purely a marketing myth and utter nonsense. Sue Pimentel, or more accurately Sue Pimental Incorporated (also incorporated in Hanover New Hampshire) was hired by Achieve to write ADP standards in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Sometime between 2009 to 2010, Susan switched from Achieve to Student Achievement Partners. But her job remained the same... to help write the ADP/CCSS English standards. In 2007, Sue was appointed to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB) the Oversight Committee for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. (NAEP). This gives Susan a role in picking NAEP test questions.
In 2008, ADP released an article called "Out of Many, One: Toward Rigorous Common Core Standards from the Ground Up." The report described how to combine all of the various state learning standards into a single national standard. Sometime in 2008, the name for ADP was changed to Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Also in 2008, ADP – now known as CCSS – was subcontracted by Achieve to Student Achievement Partners. Some articles have claimed that Susan was a co-founder of Student Achievement Partners, along with David Coleman and Jason Zimba. In fact, SAP was started in 2007 and Susan joined the group a couple of years later in 2009. She and Coleman were the lead writers for the Common Core English standards. Now that we know how the Common Core ELA standards were written, let's turn to the Common Core Math Standards.
2006 Gene Wilhoit and the Council of Chief State School Officers.
From 2006 to 2012, Gene Wilhoit ran a scam outfit called the Council of Chief State School Officers. Bill Gates gave this outfit $25 million in 2004 to develop the program which eventually became Common Core. Eventually, Bill gave this scam outfit 21 grants totaling $85 million. Here is an image taken directly from the Gates Foundation website showing that the first three year $25 million grant was not in 2008 – it was in 2004:
Then in March 2007, Bill Gates handed Gene Wilhoit another $21 million grant for Phase Two of the project.
Bill Gates is still handing this fake outfit millions of dollars every year to “implement Common Core and develop curriculum aligned to Common Core standards.” Clearly Gates was into the Common Core project at least four years before 2008. In fact, the whole thing may have been his idea rather than the idea of Coleman and Wilhoit. And rather than starting in 2008, the idea of national standards attached to high stakes tests started with the failed WASL test in Washington State in the 1980 and 1990s.
Who is Gene Wilhoit?
Gene Wilhoit is one of the few Common Core scammers who has actually taught in a public school. Gene got a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and economics from Georgetown College and a master’s degree in teaching and political science from Indiana University. He then was a Social Studies teacher in Indiana and Ohio for a short period of time. He next was a program director in the Indiana Department of Education before getting a job with the US Department of Education during the Reagan administration. In 1986, at the beginning of the school privatization movement, Gene became the director of the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) where he was the director until 1993. Gene was then appointed the Education Commissioner in Arkansas. In 1997, he was appointed the Education Commissioner in Kentucky. Gene has also been the chairman of the Advisory Commission of the Education Commission of the States and is currently on the Pearson PARCC test board. In 2013, Wilhoit became a partner in Student Achievement Partners, replacing David Coleman – another Ed Reform scammer we will cover next. Nearly all of the groups Gene was involved with received funding from the Gates Foundation. For example, the National Association of State Boards of Education has received 6 grants from Bill Gates totaling $2 million and the Education Commission of the States has received four grants totaling $3 million.
Who are these groups?
The Education Commission of the States appears to be a group promoting high stakes testing. It was originally started in 1965 by the Carnegie Foundation – the same group that funded Marc Tucker and the Nation at Risk scam in the 1980s. Booth Garner, who we reviewed in a previous chapter was the chair of this group from 1990 to 1991 – the same time when Gene Wilhoit was the Executive Director of this group.
The National Association of State Boards of Education is more obscure. The group was started in 1958 but it is unclear where it gets its funding from. It appears to be funded by a series of private foundations including the Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Foundation and other fake groups for billionaires.
2007 David Coleman and Student Achievement Partners (SAP)
David Coleman was the son of wealthy highly educated parents. In 1991, he graduated from Yale with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy. He went to England as a Graduate student. When he returned to the US, he worked at an international marketing and consulting firm called McKinsey and Company for five years. This firm has close connections to other Wall Street corporations like GE and IBM. According to a Wikipedia summary of this company, it was the most “disliked management consulting firm on earth... It is ruthlessly competitive... the hours are long, expectations high and failure is not acceptable.” The firm charges an average of one million dollars for a few months work. Eventually some of the leaders of this firm were convicted of insider trading.
David worked for McKinsey during the dot com bubble where McKinsey helped set up more than 1000 Ecommerce firms between 1998 to 2000. After the crash of the dot com bubble, the firm switched over to the safer public sector to help with “knowledge management.” In 2001, David Coleman left McKensey and set up a new corporation with a college friend, Jason Zimba, called Grow Network. Despite a complete lack of experience, they immediately got consulting contracts with Pennsylvania, California, Nevada, New Mexico and New Jersey as well as New York City and Chicago public school districts to analyze student test data. David therefore worked as a testing consultant for the Chicago Public Schools while Arne Duncan was the chief executive. While at Grow Network, Coleman work with Vicki Phillips while she was education commissioner of Pennsylvania. Vicki later played a major role at the Gates Foundation. In 2004, Grow Network was sold to McGraw Hill for about $14 million dollars. McGraw Hill in turn is closely connected with the Bush family dynasty. Therefore David was well connected to both Bill Gates and George Bush.
In 2007, David Coleman and Jason Zimba started a new corporation called Student Achievement Partners (SAP) which was immediately funded by Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation. These two people, along with Sue Pimentel, were the “lead writers” for the Common Core standards. In other words, they basically wrote the common core standards... or more accurately they copied and pasted them from a variety of prior learning standards. For this work, Student Achievement Partners received $6.4 million from the Gates Foundation.
It has been claimed that David Coleman was in charge of writing the English Language standards with help from Sue Pimentel. But as we just described above, it is more likely that Sue Pimentel wrote the English standards without any help from David Coleman. Jason Zimba pretty much assembled the Common Core math standards without any help from anyone. The name of the website for SAP pretty much says what their goal was: achievethecore.org.
David was once quoted as saying that he did not “give a shit” what students thought. He just wanted them to read and write corporate propaganda text.
Unfortunately, David Coleman has no real background in teaching English literature and is an outspoken opponent of narrative writing and classic literature. This is why Common Core English standards focus on learning to read and write corporate propaganda (also called informational text) rather than biographies and classic literature. This radical change in how English should be taught led Dr. Sandra Stotsky to resign from the Common Core review committee in disgust. Dr. Stotsky had played a major role in writing the highly respected Massachusetts State English Standards. By June 2009, 45 states signed legally binding contracts to support CCSS. Most states did this without a single vote of their State legislature. More than 40 States had adopted the standards sight unseen in order to get a share of the $4.5 billion in Race to the Top federal funds. The final draft of the Common Core standards was released in June 2010 – nearly a full year after many states had already signed on.
What is next?
We will next take a closer look at Common Core standards, Common Core Curriculum and Common Core “Designed to Fail” tests. This is one more concrete example of the lies, fraud, corruption, bribery, scandals and theft of billions of tax payer dollars associated with the corporate takeover of our public schools. We will then explain how billionaires and Wall Street hedge fund managers have used the ideas of vouchers, charter schools, virtual schools, closing schools, firing teachers, No Child Left Untested, Race to the Bottom, Common Core and testing mania to destroy public confidence in public schools in order to line their own pockets.