Suspect Common Core Standards Linked to StudentsFirst Former Board Members

When the CEO of an educational lobbying nonprofit is quoted as saying "The last thing we're going to do...is get wrapped up in curriculum battles" while at the same time two of her board officers authored the Common Core State Standards, you have to wonder, don't you?

Common Core is a nationalized education initiative accepted by all but two states. If, as they say, Common Core simply acts as a framework for educators and states can tailor the standards to their curricular needs, why was it necessary in the first place? Every state already had its own standards and objectives.

There must be something more afoot; and conservative watchdogs are questioning the initiative's goals. Common Core promoters are pushing guidelines which veer away from a broad liberal arts education to a narrowly defined utilitarian one.

The Blaze reports many teachers including a ""former public school teacher who left the trade because of Common Core...believes that the initiative is "dumbing down" children by giving "informational texts" instead of training students in the classic literature.""

But the answer to why we even have a common set of standards may lie in the relationships between major education players in the reform movement.

Back in 2010 Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst, had gotten into a discussion with former teacher Robert Pondiscio, of the website Core Knowledge, about curriculum. Pondiscio had just finished listening to a speech Rhee gave at the Manhattan Institute on December 16, 2010, when he asked her if she could comment on the importance of curriculum.

Here's the exchange:

"I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Rhee about my reform game -curriculum, teaching and learning.  I wondered out loud whether it made sense to reach conclusions about the effectiveness of individual teachers who are poorly trained and have no say over their curriculum or, more often than not, no curriculum at all. 

"I know you have a lot on your plate," I concluded. "But I'd urge you to at least keep curriculum in mind." 

"The last thing we're going to do," she replied with a chuckle, "is get wrapped up in curriculum battles."

A stunning reply if you think about it.  The poster child for bare-knuckle reform, who moments earlier was urging her listeners to "embrace conflict," has no stomach for a debate about what kids should learn in school. 

Rhee was technically correct when she said StudentsFirst would not get caught up in "curriculum battles," but she knew something Pondiscio apparently didn't. She knew she had three officers on her StudentsFirst board who were also staff at Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit founded by three of the contributing authors of the Common Core State Standards.

David Coleman, the Treasurer/Director of StudentsFirst from 2010 to 2012 is known as the "architect" of the Common Core; and as of 2012 he's the new president of College Board.

Coleman's career in education began when he founded Grow Network in 2000. But In 2007, he   co-founded Student Achievement Partners which played a leading role in developing today's CCSS.  He has also written the Publishers Criteria for the Common Core in English Language and Literature.

Now conservatives are fearful of standards/curricula which indoctrinate children in a more comprehensive way than ever before. The engineering of the education reform movement has been nothing less than stealth.

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report



When the CEO of an educational lobbying nonprofit is quoted as saying "The last thing we're going to do...is get wrapped up in curriculum battles" while at the same time two of her board officers authored the Common Core State Standards, you have to wonder, don't you?

Common Core is a nationalized education initiative accepted by all but two states. If, as they say, Common Core simply acts as a framework for educators and states can tailor the standards to their curricular needs, why was it necessary in the first place? Every state already had its own standards and objectives.

There must be something more afoot; and conservative watchdogs are questioning the initiative's goals. Common Core promoters are pushing guidelines which veer away from a broad liberal arts education to a narrowly defined utilitarian one.

The Blaze reports many teachers including a ""former public school teacher who left the trade because of Common Core...believes that the initiative is "dumbing down" children by giving "informational texts" instead of training students in the classic literature.""

But the answer to why we even have a common set of standards may lie in the relationships between major education players in the reform movement.

Back in 2010 Michelle Rhee, founder of StudentsFirst, had gotten into a discussion with former teacher Robert Pondiscio, of the website Core Knowledge, about curriculum. Pondiscio had just finished listening to a speech Rhee gave at the Manhattan Institute on December 16, 2010, when he asked her if she could comment on the importance of curriculum.

Here's the exchange:

"I had the opportunity to talk briefly with Rhee about my reform game -curriculum, teaching and learning.  I wondered out loud whether it made sense to reach conclusions about the effectiveness of individual teachers who are poorly trained and have no say over their curriculum or, more often than not, no curriculum at all. 

"I know you have a lot on your plate," I concluded. "But I'd urge you to at least keep curriculum in mind." 

"The last thing we're going to do," she replied with a chuckle, "is get wrapped up in curriculum battles."

A stunning reply if you think about it.  The poster child for bare-knuckle reform, who moments earlier was urging her listeners to "embrace conflict," has no stomach for a debate about what kids should learn in school. 

Rhee was technically correct when she said StudentsFirst would not get caught up in "curriculum battles," but she knew something Pondiscio apparently didn't. She knew she had three officers on her StudentsFirst board who were also staff at Student Achievement Partners, a nonprofit founded by three of the contributing authors of the Common Core State Standards.

David Coleman, the Treasurer/Director of StudentsFirst from 2010 to 2012 is known as the "architect" of the Common Core; and as of 2012 he's the new president of College Board.

Coleman's career in education began when he founded Grow Network in 2000. But In 2007, he   co-founded Student Achievement Partners which played a leading role in developing today's CCSS.  He has also written the Publishers Criteria for the Common Core in English Language and Literature.

Now conservatives are fearful of standards/curricula which indoctrinate children in a more comprehensive way than ever before. The engineering of the education reform movement has been nothing less than stealth.

Read more Ann Kane at Potter Williams Report



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