By Danette Clark
Despite absurdly biased lessons and texts created by Common Core partner organizations surfacing daily, proponents of the initiative still shamelessly hold tight to their assertion that CCSS is a state-led initiative that leverages no political or social agenda.
Apparently, we’re all expected to blindly buy into the notion that more than two dozen states came together in kumbaya-fashion, for the sake of the children, of course, to create ‘higher standards’ — with no political divisions or public discourse over the usual contested issues of quality, content, testing, regulation, or accountability.
First of all, our biggest clue that the children are not a priority for Common Core creators should be the fact that, even after spending billions of dollars, the standards our kids are stuck with are bush-league, at best.
Secondly, this initiative cannot honestly be described as ‘state-led’ when the only people allowed to participate in its formation, albeit from various states, were those on board with (or oblivious to) its underlying agenda.
Before the Obama administration stepped in, with our tax dollars, to persuade states to adopt Common Core, the main pushers of this initiative were big philanthropy and big corporations. Being the skilled advertisers they are, these business experts placed three seemingly generic organizations, Achieve, Inc., the National Governors Association (NGA), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), at the forefront to be the ‘non-partisan’ and ‘bi-partisan’ faces of the Common Core brand.
NGA and CCSSO, however, are only non-partisan in the manner in which one becomes a member. Like the federal government, the work of these organizations can slant politically in either direction, depending on who holds positions of power within. CCSSO has long leaned very far left, with progressive education reform supporters like Gene Wilhoit and, now, Terry Holliday at the helm.
According to its website, the non-profit Achieve, Inc. partners with NGA and CCSSO on the creation of Common Core, with “a number of Achieve staff and consultants serving on the writing and review teams”. The organization is also the “project management partner” of the Common Core testing consortium, PARCC.
But who is Achieve, Inc., really?
Achieve was created through the 1996 National Education Summit, to “facilitate the work” of states in creating national standards.
With IBM CEO Louis Gerstner and Republican Governor, Tommy Thompson, appointed as founding chair and co-chair, and Proctor and Gamble’s John Pepper and Democratic Governor James B. Hunt filling the vice-chair seats, Achieve appeared to get off to quite the bi-partisan start.
However, from its first president to its current, and many board members in between, Achieve, Inc. has always been led by devout benefactors of the progressive-humanist reform initiative of the Annenberg Institute’s Coalition of Essential Schools.
As explained here, Louis Gerstner, Chairman Emeritus of Achieve, was a member of the Annenberg Institute’s Board of Overseers when he called for and led the 1996 education summit and appointed himself as head of the organization that would later write our national standards.
At the time, Gerstner was a close friend and business associate of then President Clinton’s trusted advisor, Vernon Jordan.
Clinton and his education secretary, Richard Riley, also attended the summit, with Clinton speaking to attendees on the importance of national standards and assessments to ensure that students are prepared to compete in a global economy.
Appointed as Achieve’s first president was Robert Schwartz, education program director of Pew Charitable Trust, who, just a year earlier, oversaw the distribution $9.8 million to the Annenberg Challenge site in Philadelphia.
Shwartz now serves as an advisory committee member to the Annenberg Institute.
Achieve’s current president, Michael Cohen, who replaced Schwartz in 2003, previously held several senior education positions in the Clinton Administration.
Under the leadership of Cohen and Gerstner, Achieve remains closely aligned with the Obama-supported Annenberg Institute/Coalition of Essential Schools movement.
Control of Achieve is still shared by state governors and heads of powerful corporations, but it seems only like-minded progressive corporate leaders are chosen to participate in building the educational future of our children.
For example, current Achieve board member, Mark Grier, is Vice Chairman of Prudential Financial.
Prudential, through it’s grant-making arm, Prudential Foundation, invests millions in global citizenship and social justice education initiatives, with both it’s current and recent past president serving as advisors to radical education organizations along side the likes of Bill Ayers’ mentor, Maxine Greene, and progressive ed giants, Linda Darling Hammond, Deborah Meier, James Comer, and the Annenberg Institute’s Warren Simmons.
Achieve, Inc. board member, Craig Barrett, is the former CEO of Intel Corporation, another supporter of progressive (moral) education over traditional education.
Barrett served as chairman of the Global Alliance for ICT and Development (GAID), a United Nations program that promotes the use of information technology to advance the Millennium Development Goals — goals that include a global economy, global policy to ensure environmental sustainability, and universal primary education.
Apparently, the ‘bi-partisan’ labeling of Achieve, Inc. is just one more lie of the Common Core initiative.
And we’re supposed to trust this is what’s best for our children?