We’ve been told by Common Core advocates that they were developed by “the states.” The Huffington Post on Friday published a defense of the Common Core, and they have a historical overview of the Common Core’s development. We learned fascinating things about how Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday agonized over how to accomplish his state legislature’s directive to write new standards while “munching on pasta and salad” (a fascinating detail I know).
He then thought aha! The National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers did a presentation on how states could pool resources and create standards.
Wait a minute? Doesn’t that illustrate that the standards were in fact the brainchild of trade organizations? Why yes, yes they were (as we’ve been saying for years).
Then David Coleman was interviewed and I found this excerpt to be very interesting:
Government officials meeting in airport hotels weren’t the only ones thinking about these problems. In New York, college buddies David Coleman and Jason Zimba had created — then sold — the Grow Network, a startup that sought to make the results of tests under No Child Left Behind inform teachers’ instruction. Coleman recalled they were shocked to discover in their research that learning standards tended to be so scattershot and cumbersome that it was almost impossible for a teacher to convey them to her students with any depth. Existing learning standards, he felt, were simply a laundry list, a product of school-board politics.
Coleman, now president of the College Board, and Zimba, a former Bennington College physicist, went to work on a seminal paper for the Carnegie Foundation that called for "math and science standards that are fewer, clearer, higher." Directors at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation saw the paper and were impressed by its ideas. They funded some of Coleman’s work — and eventually dropped as much as $75 million on what would become the Common Core.
So now we see how the Gates Foundation pushing the idea of the Common Core by ideas set forth by David Coleman and Jason Zimbia.
“The States” did not initiate the Common Core State Standards special interest groups did. Common Core advocates need to at the very least be honest about the origin of the Common Core. The claim that the Common Core originated in “the states” is absolute nonsense.