Thursday, November 14, 2013

CCSI = Common Core Standards Initiative - the aligned gets maligned

You would have to be living on a deserted island to have escaped the interminable carping over the CCSI.   It is runner up for the Most Detested Sweeping Statist Change in America.  You can guess what takes first place, of course.

For the rest of this post, I'd like to ask you a favor.  Every time you see the words "National Standards" and "align/ment", please also hear the crisp, brush and clip of the goose-step executed by a sea of uniformed enforcers.

A few administrators remain giggly over CCSI  (Common Core) - these are the people who plaster every inch of the school with "You CAN do IT" and "Today is YOUR day" signs.  These buffoons don't count.  Then, there is the avalanche of publishers trying (poorly) to conceal their glee.  After all, that which is "aligned" has to be rewritten, sold, and then thrown out soon after.  It's a publisher's dream come true.

Why in the world did a bankrupt nation busily engaged in the ignoble work of losing its exceptionalism in every imaginable realm decide to jump onto the curriculum alignment bandwagon?  If it is part of a bigger plan - it is a wicked plan indeed.   If it is not part of any plan at all, if it is just more flailing desperately at the new congenitally subordinate intellect that our moocher nation has bred, God help us all. Warning - when you see the pieces of the puzzle float together, you will be ill at ease.  It is a nasty, confusing, and, in the end, gloomy business.

The entire US of A is being "aligned".  As of three days ago, all of the schools (except in Texas, Alaska, Minnesota, Nebraska and Virginia) are changing .....well, everything.  There is now a National Standard which is developing rapidly into a Common Curriculum for all states.  This has resulted in big companies like Scholastic, Inc publishing books that omit Israel from the world map and AP History textbooks misstating the 2nd and 3rd Amendments.   Oversights?  Maybe...I am not bothering to mention in any detail the flood of complaints about a pro-Islam agenda that has slipped into every subject book.  The only research creepier than the evolution of Common Core is botfly removal.

What out-of-touch, ivory tower clown cooked up the idea of one standard which would then belch out a common curriculum for states as diverse as Alaska and New York, Montana and New Jersey, California and Kentucky?  That would be Bill Gates.

A little history.  Many years ago, Bill Gates said something about education that got the attention of a few people who can smell money from miles away.  Gates said (in so many words) that he thought the states should all have the same academic guidelines - the same standards.  "We need a National Standard."   If you want to know what happened after his pontifications on education, all you have to do is follow the money.  There is a chilling conclusion to be drawn at the end of that trail.

Bill Gates and a couple of other guys decided they could create the image of a state-led education overhaul.  Except the state had nothing to do with it.  It was just a few guys setting out to change the country's schools.  Why?  Because they could.  And, for Bill's money, of course.  Why would Bill Gates underwrite every aspect of CCSI?  Power?  Bordeom?  Wait and see.  My speculation - there will be a Microsoft-based platform for CCSI in which all schools must participate and into which our tax dollars will be tossed willy nilly. How could 45 of our states jump on board this runaway train without looking more closely?   Since US students are routinely eclipsed by international students, and since this embarrassing problem is growing worse each year, the US government is willing to try anything. Anything.   And, if Bill Gates says it is necessary .... well, I guess that's good enough for our policymakers in DC.  The fact that the "state" had little if anything at all to do with the National Standards might be reason to hope, but a look at some of the "aligned" textbooks reveals this fact:  It is possible that government-led education reform is not the worst scenario.  Now, that is just a ghastly thought and not just because it means I have to eat my "Pro-Privatization" hat.

Some downright terrifying background:

After Gates "shared" his thoughts on National Standards, David Coleman, the president of the College Board, immediately started a company called Student Achievement Partners.  Bill Gates gave this SAP millions.  David Coleman's new (side) business has one and only one purpose - to develop Common Core Standards.  As president of the College Board, Coleman oversees the development and implementation of the PSAT,  SAT, APs and SAT Subject Tests.....just about every test your kids needs to ace in order to prove their worthiness to the university-world.  Are you starting to get scared?  Pour yourself a stiff drink, because it gets a lot worse.

The public has been told that:  "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." (This is from the CCSI website.) Baloney.   There were two organizations that Bill brought into the circle.  The National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council for Chief State School Officers.  Here's the most interesting thing.  Bill Gates has plowed up to $150,000,000 into these organizations (and Coleman's SAP) since that first fateful meeting of a few avaricious minds in 2008 under the guise of an "educational forum" on National Standards.

An entire country is following Bill Gates' trail of crumbs, like a whole flock of Hansel and Gretel's, and no one stops to ask.....why?   What is at the end of this trail?  I don't know.  But, I feel compelled to run away.  Maybe because I've read Hansel and Gretel - the nonaligned version.

Bill Gates is not a teacher.  Although he is a parent, something tells me his kids did not suffer under overworked, underpaid public school teachers struggling in unsafe, underfunded districts.  In short, he has no idea what he is doing.  Unless, of course, there is a hidden agenda, in which case he knows exactly what he is doing.  He and his "non-profit" partners, knew exactly what they were doing.

The NGA had 29 individuals present at the first pow-wow.  As it turns out, though, only 2 of these individuals were not affiliated with an education company.  As you will see from the list below, most of the education companies get boatloads of Gates' money.  See what I mean?

It really does look like a handful of guys rammed this through.  Not even a Hollywood B conspiracy theory flick could have created this kind of grandiose scheming.  Scary thing - it has worked. Washington took the bait.

So what is the moral to this spine-chilling story?  Well, when someone asks you nervously if the textbook you are using is "aligned", remember that just a couple of monkey suits banged this out on their way to and from the bank each day, and in between their trips to the islands.

Keep your old textbooks because "aligned" means that matters of faith have been buried, matters of constitutionality have been buried and 4th grade math has been made utterly incomprehensible.  You are about to witness conditioning that will make 1984 and Brave New World look like a Magic Tree House mystery.  The "aligned" texts have an insidious form of "new-think" which skips the unpleasant task of swaying your opinion because in many realms, they skip the truth altogether.

This needs to be repeated - keep your old textbooks.

At the bottom of this blog are two lists.  One is a list of the $$ Gates has paid directly to CCS architects.  The second is a list of educational organizations that have been bought by Gates.  These are from the deutsch29 Edu blog, but you can find the info in many places.

If you go to this blog, and I hope you do, you will see that included are links for every grant and contribution from Gates to back the research.

It you have a ton of time, you can ferret out all of these from the Gates Foundation website, directly:


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.]


Gates Buys Select Major Ed Organizations and Think Tanks
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. 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)
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.

Final words:

One more time, because I cannot stress this enough:  Hold on to your old textbooks.  There will be more truth in them.  Their content will have more integrity.   They do not bear that most degenerate brand - "ALIGNED with COMMON CORE."

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