Who are the Power Brokers behind the Common Core State Standards?

Many parents, teachers, educators and concerned citizens do not know who are the “power brokers” behind Common Core State Standards (CCSS). It is important to understand who is pushing this initiative that is a federal government backed top down approach to public school education. United Opt Out National has compiled a comprehensive list of the key power brokers, nonprofit institutions and corporations behind CCSS. It is provided here for your edification.

Through the U.S. Department of Education designated Race to the Top initiative, grants and other monies are given to states that adopt RTTT which requires them to adopt CCSS, use new high stakes testing such as PARCC or SBAC, and requires these tests to be attached to teacher and school evaluations which in turn foster the agenda of corporate-run education policies. (See ALEC at the bottom for more.)

Achieve was granted the contract from U.S. Department of Education to develop and manage the Common Core State Standards initiative including curricular development and assessment. NGA and CCSSO also lead the development and implementation of CCSS)


Who they are? According to their website, “Created in 1996 by the nation’s governors and corporate leaders, Achieve is an independent, bipartisan, non-profit education reform organization based in Washington, DC that helps states raise academic standards and graduation requirements, improve assessments and strengthen accountability so all students graduate ready for college, work and citizenship.”

Key players: Lou Gerstner, co-founder of Achieve (Former CEO of IBM) and Craig Barrett, Achieve Chair (former CEO of Intel Corp.)


AT&T Foundation (ALEC)/The Battelle Foundation/Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation (ALEC)/The Boeing Company (ALEC)/Brookhill Foundation
Carnegie Corporation of New York
Chevron (ALEC)
The Cisco Foundation/DuPont (ALEC)
The GE Foundation (ALEC)
IBM Corporation (ALEC)/Intel Foundation (ALEC)
JP Morgan Chase Foundation
The Joyce Foundation
The Leona & Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
Lumina Foundation (ALEC)
MetLife Foundation
Nationwide (ALEC)
Noyce Foundation
The Prudential Foundation (ALEC)
Sandler Foundation
State Farm Insurance Companies (ALEC)
Travelers Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

ACHIEVE partners with Pearson for most of its testing and curricular materials for the PARCC.


Who they are? According to their website: “The National Governors Association (NGA) is the bipartisan organization of the nation’s governors which promotes visionary state leadership,shares best practices and speaks with a collective voice on national policy. Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations.” Through their Corporate Fellows programs, corporations can donate money in exchange for greater influence over policies including those in education.

Key donors and players: In 2012-2103 Executive Director is Dan Crippen. Executive Committee members include: Governor Jack Markell, DE—Chair, Governor Mary Fallin, OK—Vice Chair.

The Education and Workforce Committee is led by Governor Dannel Malloy, CT – Chair and Governor Terry Branstad, IW — Vice Chair.


Who they are? According to their website, “The Council of Chief State School Officers is a nonpartisan, nationwide, nonprofit organization of public officials who head departments of elementary and secondary education in the states, the District of Columbia, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions.

CCSSO provides leadership,advocacy, and technical assistance on major educational issues. The Council seeks member consensus on major educational issues and expresses their views to civic and professional organizations, federal agencies, Congress, and the public.”

Key donors and players:

CCSSO Executive Director is Chris Minnich, President is Mitchell Chester, Massachusetts. The President-elect is Terry Holiday, Kentucky and Past-President Thomas R.Luna, Idaho.

NOTE: Chris Minnich is a former employee of PEARSON.

Corporate Partners include (but are not limited to):

American Institutes for Research(AIR)
Data Recognition Corporation
ETS (part of Pearson)
McGraw-Hill Education
Pearson Education/ACT (part of Pearson)
Intel Corporation
K12 Inc. (part of Pearson)
Measured Progress
Wireless Generation
The College Board

See complete list of funders here.


This global management firm promotes the idea of “big data” as a means of global management and profit building. David Coleman, key architect of the Common Core, Sir Michael Barber,Chief Education Advisor to Pearson, and Lou Gertsner, co-founder of Achieve ALL have worked for McKinsey and Co.

CCSSO is proposing partnerships with McKinsey and Co. to take over management of Common Core and PARCC in several states after 2015.


ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is not a lobby; it is not a front group. It is much more powerful than that. Their self-described mission is to “promote free market, limited government, and federalism.” Through ALEC, behind closed doors,corporations hand state legislators the changes to the law they desire that directly benefit their bottom line. Along with legislators, corporations have membership in ALEC. Corporations sit on all nine ALEC task forces and vote with legislators to approve “model” bills. ALEC’s subcommittee for education policy promotes legislation that attempt to privatize public education, destroy unions, replace teachers with computers and Teach for America temporary teachers, and use education as a form of corporate control and profit.

Names on this handout that have (ALEC) next to them now, or formerly, have ties with ALEC.

Public Sector Co-Chair of the ALEC Education Task force is Rep. Greg Forristall (R-Iowa).

Other powerful funders/promoters of CCSS who are members of ALEC include the Walton Foundation and the Eli Broad Foundation.


United Opt Out National, Inc. is registered as a nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Florida.

Members of this site are parents, educators, students and social activists who are dedicated to the elimination of high stakes testing in public education. We use this site to collaborate, exchange ideas, support one another, share information and initiate collective local and national actions to end the reign of fear and terror promoted by the high stakes testing agenda. 

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