New York established a privately funded “Research Fellow” group to implement the Race to the Top agenda of Common Core implementation and testing. This group was funded by the Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, and the chair of the Regents, Merryl Tisch.

“Two of the charities bankrolling a controversial $18 million education fellowship program also gave millions to a data company to which the state Education Department plans to send personal student information, despite parents’ objections.

The charitable foundations, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York, are major contributors to inBloom, Inc., the data company. The two charities and other entities underwriting the fellowships support rigorous standardized testing for the purpose of assessing teachers, the Common Core curriculum, and student-data collection.

Referring to the privately funded state-education research program, which oversees the work of 23 fellows, New York State United Teachers president Richard Iannuzzi told Capital, “In many ways, it goes back to the very fundamental question about the role of government in a democracy and the need for a system of checks and balances. … All of that is effectively circumvented when private structures are used to significantly influence public policy, and that’s what’s happening here.”

One might well wonder, if these foundations and donors wanted New York to have a research capacity, why didn’t they make a contribution to the state so that these employees are public employees, not a privatized group?

Critics are angry about the ties between the Gates-funded group and inBloom, the massive data collection project funded by Gates and Carnegie. The spin on inBloom is that schools and states “need to know” everything about every student, and that private and confidential information about every student should be put into a data “cloud.” At the moment, the data project is free, but it will not be free in the future. Critics say that the cost to the state in the future will run into the millions. Another concern is that the student data may be hacked or made available to vendors who market their products directly to children. At present, the only two states that have agreed to place student data into inBloom’s possession are New York and Illinois.