The Common Core Standards are not “state led.” They are “Gates led.”

What’s in the best interest of the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s (OSPI) State Superintendent Randy Dorn has nothing to do with you or your children and here’s why:

Let’s start with the fact that State Superintendent Randy Dorn was appointed to the Board of Directors of a group called the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). CCSSO is a private entity. Even though it sounds like an official governmental agency it is not.

Bill Gates has supplied cash to CCSSO and other private entities to promote the Common Core Standards.

This is how Gates’ money has flowed to CCSSO:

Per the post An Audit of Bill Gates’ Common Core Spending, an excerpt:

It is important to those promoting CCSS that the public believes the idea that CCSS is “state-led.” The CCSS website reports as much and names two organizations as “coordinating” the “state-led” CCSS: The National Governors Association (NGA), and the Council for Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). Interestingly, the CCSS website makes no mention of CCSS “architect” David Coleman:

The Common Core State Standards Initiative is a state-led effort coordinated by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). 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.

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.

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” based on test scores:

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

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 assessments, data systems, educator development and determining a new system of supports for student learning
Amount: $9,961,842

(That’s a total of over $84M to CCSSO)

In total, the four organizations primarily responsible for the Common Core Standards– NGA, CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners– have taken $147.9 million from Bill Gates.

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.

Now about Nyland’s love note to Seattle teachers and students

About that draconian memo that (the unvetted) Seattle Superintendent Nyland sent out about the state assessments specifically targeting the SBAC,  Nyland starts by parroting Randy Dorn’s interpretation of RCW 28A.655.070: Essential academic learning requirements and assessments — Duties of the superintendent of public instruction.

Dorn’s “interpretation” of the law is really not even truthiness but way beyond the pale.

Here is the segment I believe Dorn and in turn Superintendent Nyland are referring to:

(3)(a) In consultation with the state board of education, the superintendent of public instruction shall maintain and continue to develop and revise a statewide academic assessment system in the content areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and science for use in the elementary, middle, and high school years designed to determine if each student has mastered the essential academic learning requirements identified in subsection (1) of this section. School districts shall administer the assessments under guidelines adopted by the superintendent of public instruction. The academic assessment system may include a variety of assessment methods, including criterion-referenced and performance-based measures.

Per the law it is clear that OSPI, headed by Randy Dorn, is to develop the assessments, the tests, and the schools are to administer the tests. And, assessments can be based on other criteria other than the standardized test.

Nowhere in the law does it state that all students must take the test or mention procedures for opting out. That is part of Dorn’s interpretation and nothing else.

So when Dorn and Nyland begin to quote and interpret the law per their perspective, understand who is pulling the strings, at least for Randy Dorn.

Dora Taylor

Post Script:

This push to administer the SBAC even though the Common Core Standards were set into place less than a year ago, I believe, is due to the fact that Pearson wants to calibrate the tests and needs as many students as possible to take the SBAC for their purpose of calculations.

Other states that implemented the CCS the same time Washington State did are waiting a year before using the SBAC.