On Saturday, June 7, 2014, Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post published this article based on a 28-minute interview she had with billionaire Common Core State Standards (CCSS) funder, Bill Gates. In the interview, Gates spills quite a bit of “insider information,” not the least of which is that in the summer of 2008, then-Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) President Gene Wilhoit and national-standards-writing-company-gone-nonprofit Student Achievement Partners (SAP) founder and CEO– and CCSS “architect”– David Coleman approached him about bankrolling CCSS.
The Gates purse would fund not only organizations positioned on the inside of the CCSS effort, including CCSSO, SAP, the National Governors Association (NGA), the Hunt Institute, Fordham Institute, and Education Trust, but also scores of auxiliary organizations useful in “implementing” CCSS, including both national teachers unions.
As Layton notes, support for CCSS was intentionally strategized:
With the Gates money, the Hunt Institute coordinated more than a dozen organizations — many of them also Gates grantees — including the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, National Council of La Raza, the Council of Chief State School Officers, National Governors Association, Achieve and the two national teachers unions.
The Hunt Institute held weekly conference calls between the players that were directed by Stefanie Sanford, who was in charge of policy and advocacy at the Gates Foundation. They talked about which states needed shoring up, the best person to respond to questions or criticisms and who needed to travel to which state capital to testify, according to those familiar with the conversations. [Emphasis added.]
In the interview, Gates notes that he decided to financially support CCSS because he “believes in” the standards. However, in March 2014, Gates is quite clear in an interview with the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) that his support of CCSS was because “scale is good for free market competition.”
Gates is all but “free market.” In bankrolling CCSS, he purchased American public education. Incredibly, the federal government is fine with that. After all, USDOE already had an incestuous relationship with the Gates Foundation. As Layton notes:
Several top players in Obama’s Education Department who shaped the administration’s policies came either straight from the Gates Foundation in 2009 or from organizations that received heavy funding from the foundation. [Emphasis added.]
Indeed, as Layton points out, Gates’ influence upon the White House manifests via multiple, interrelated connections– connections that swiftly advanced CCSS before America knew what had hit it:
While the Gates Foundation created the burst of momentum behind the Common Core, the Obama administration picked up the cause and helped push states to act quickly.
There was so much cross-pollination between the foundation and the administration, it is difficult to determine the degree to which one may have influenced the other. [Emphasis added.]
Undoubtedly, this Gates interview was chock full of sensational news.
So, here’s a looming question:
Why did Layton wait three months until releasing the Gates interview video and her article?
The 28-minute video that is part of Layton’s June 7, 2014, article includes the following descriptor:
Bill Gates sat down with The Post’s Lyndsey Layton in March to defend the Gates Foundation’s pervasive presence in education and its support of the Common Core. Here is the full, sometimes tense, interview. [Emphasis added.]
The video specifies the interview date as March 14, 2014.
Maybe Gates was tense because in March 2014, he was clearly trying to “protect his investment,” so to speak, and save the standards, which Gates told the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards needed protecting– otherwise America would be “back to what we had before.”
What, to state standards not bankrolled by one billionaire?
Why wait three months?
I do believe I know exactly why.
As of March 14, 2014, 39 states and DC were in legislative session– a session that was particularly stormy for “state led” CCSS.
By Saturday, June 7, that number dropped to 11 and DC, with 6 and DC having no session end to anticipate.
State legislative session graphic for Friday, June 6, 2014 Note: Map has two errors: South Carolina and Vermont sessions had ended (June 5 and May 10, respectively). Also, Virginia’s special session was on budget and Medicaid.
Hold the story until the first Saturday in June, when most legislatures are no longer in session.
Quite the standards-rescuing coincidence, n’est-ce pas?
Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education