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Here’s how the “state-led” part worked. Mr. Gates spent over $100 million developing and promoting the Common Core standards. The federal government established a $4.35 billion fund under the heading “Race to the Top,” to which states, many of whom were “facing huge deficits” owing to the recession, could apply competitively for grants ranging as high as $500 million. In order to be successful in obtaining the money, however, states’ applications had to satisfy specific criteria, criteria which AMOUNTED TO A COMMITMENT TO ADOPT THE COMMON CORE AND OTHER ASPECTS OF MR. GATES’S EDUCATION AGENDA.
Eventually, 46 states signed on to the Common Core. They coalesced into two consortia, the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. Both consortia have contracted with vendors to develop, administer, and score their elaborate Common Core assessments, contracts which will channel annual billions of public dollars to private corporations even as schools are forced by budget constraints to cut teachers and services.
Both consortia have hired Pearson to oversee the transition to “next-generation” online assessments. Pearson is also in partnership with Gates to develop and market online curricula. IN THE NAME OF “PERSONALIZED LEARNING,” GATES FURNISHED $100 MILLION TO ESTABLISH A DATABASE OF INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS’ PERSONAL AND SCHOOL INFORMATION. IDENTIFYING EACH STUDENT BY “NAME, ADDRESS, AND SOMETIMES SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER,” THE DATABASE FURNISHES DETAILS RANGING FROM A STUDENT’S HOBBIES AND INTERESTS TO HIS TEST SCORES AND LEARNING DISABILITIES, INFORMATION WHICH ACCORDING TO THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION CAN BE DISTRIBUTED WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT TO “PRIVATE COMPANIES SELLING EDUCATIONAL PRODUCTS AND SERVICES.”
Nine states are thus far participating in this commercial data-mining. Pearson software, already employed in many public school systems, routinely collects this data.
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