Monday, June 9, 2014


Tough week for the Common Core
NPRED – Anya Kamenetz – 6/9/2014

What has seemed most troubling for critics of the Core, and of the influence of large philanthropies in U.S. policy generally, is the close association between the Gates Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education under the Obama administration. The Common Core are not, strictly speaking, national standards. They were developed independently of the federal government, and states are not under a mandate to adopt them. But the standards received a big boost in the form of funding incentives from the Obama administration.

Behind the alignment of interests, the Post article noted several close ties: Margot Rogers, who was Education Secretary Arne Duncan's chief of staff, and James Shelton, now a deputy secretary, both came directly from the foundation. The administration waived ethics rules to allow the two of them to consult closely with former colleagues. And Chicago received $20 million in Gates funding to reorganize schools while Duncan was that district's CEO before leaving for his Cabinet position.

They were adopted with little public debate. And their implementation, as we've reported, has been plagued with criticisms: notably that they are top-down, rushed and underfunded so far.

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