Search results for: ""hewlett foundation""

Mercedes Schneider, no fan of the Common Core standards, here reviews a new proposal for Common Core accountability, this one funded by the Hewlett Foundation. We are supposed to believe that the ideas are new, but almost everyone involved was a key player in the creation of the standards or the federally-funded CC tests.

 

Schneider says that what is needed is not more accountability for standards that have never been reviewed, revised, or piloted, but accountability for a dozen years of testing post-NCLB.

 

Why no piloting for CCSS? She writes:

 

Piloting was needed for CCSS, and it never happened. Instead, overly eager governors and state superintendents signed on for an as-of-then, not-yet-created CCSS. No wise caution. Just, “let’s do it!”

That word “urgency” was continuously thrown around, and it makes an appearance in the current, Hewlett-funded report. No time to pilot a finished CCSS product. Simply declare that CCSS was “based on research” and push for implementation.

This is how fools operate.

America has been hearing since 1983 that Our Education System Places Our Nation at Risk. I was 16 years old then. I am now 47.

America is not facing impending collapse.

We do have time to test the likes of CCSS before rushing in.

 

She identifies where accountability is needed most, and that is for programs that have been tried and obviously failed:

 

How about an accountability report on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) and its strategic placement on a life support that enables former-basketball-playing US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to hold states hostage to the federal whim?

The Hewlett-funded report notes that between 2000 and 2012, PISA scores have “declined.” Those are chiefly the NCLB years and beyond, with the continued “test-driven reform” focus. It is the test-driven focus that could use a hefty helping of “accountability.”

And let us not forget the NCLB-instituted push for privatization of public education via charters, vouchers, and online “education.” An accountability study on the effects of “market-driven,” under-regulated “reform” upon the quality of American education would prove useful.

There is also the very real push to erase teaching as a profession and replace it with temporary teachers hailing from the amply-funded and -connected teacher temp agency, Teach for America (TFA). A nationwide accountability study on the effects of the teacher revolving door exacerbated by TFA would be a long-overdue first of its kind.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We live in an age when politicians, advertisers, and others develop and distribute fake news to sell their wares. It’s more important than ever for people to have the digital skills to check the accuracy of what they see online.

A recent study conducted by Stanford University researchers reached a sobering conclusion. Most students don’t know how to fact-check what they see online.

The University published the following survey of the results:

A new national study by Stanford researchers showing a woeful inability by high schoolers to detect fake news on the internet suggests an urgent need for schools to integrate new tools and curriculum into classrooms that boost students’ digital skills, the study’s authors say.

In the largest such study undertaken, researchers from Stanford Graduate School of Education devised a challenge for 3,446 American high school students who had been carefully selected to match the demographic makeup of the American population.

Rather than conduct a standard survey, in which students would self-report their media habits and skills, the research team came up with a series of live internet tasks. The results, published online this week in the journal Educational Researcher, highlight what the researchers say is an urgent need to better prepare students for the realities of a world filled with a continual flow of misleading information.

“This study is not an indictment of the students—they did what they’ve been taught to do—but the study should be troubling to anyone who cares about the future of democracy,” said Joel Breakstone, director of the Stanford History Education Group and the study’s lead author. “We have to train students to be better consumers of information.”

In one of the study’s tasks, students were shown an anonymously produced video that circulated on Facebook in 2016 claiming to show ballot stuffing during Democratic primary elections and asked to use Internet-enabled computers to determine whether it provided strong evidence of voter fraud.

Students tried, mostly in vain, to discover the truth. Despite access to the internet’s powerful search capabilities, just three of the study’s more than three thousand participants — less than one tenth of one percent – were able to divine the true source of the video, which actually featured footage of voter fraud in Russia.

In another task, students were asked to vet a website proclaiming to “disseminate factual reports” about climate change. Ninety-six percent failed to discover the publisher’s ties to the fossil fuel industry. Overall, the researchers found that students were too easily swayed by relatively weak indicators of credibility—a website’s appearance, the characteristics of its domain name, the site’s “About” page, or the sheer quantity of information available on a website, irrespective of the quality of that information.

“Regardless of the test, most students fared poorly, and some fared more poorly than others,” said Sam Wineburg, the Margaret Jacks Professor of Education at Stanford, who co-authored the paper. “It presents a concerning picture of American students’ ability to figure out who produced a given story, what their biases might have been, and whether the information is reliable. More troubling still is how easy it is for agents of disinformation to produce misleading—or even deliberately false stories—that carry the sheen of truth. Coupled with the instantaneous and global reach of today’s social media, it does not bode well for the future of information integrity.”

The researchers suggested potential remedies that might right the ship, including teaching students strategies based on what professional fact checkers do–strategies that have been shown in experiments to improve students’ digital savvy.

“It would be great if all students knew how to take advantage of the full web and had complete command of advanced skills like Boolean operators, but that’s a lot to ask,” Wineburg said. “If you want to teach kids to drive a car, first you have to teach them to stop at red lights and not cross double lines, before learning how a catalytic converter works. As the study shows, a lot of these kids aren’t stopping at red yet.”

It is possible to develop students’ digital literacy skills, Wineburg said. Given the risk to our democracy, it will be critical for schools to integrate these skills into all subjects, from history to math, and at every grade level.

“The kids can do it,” Wineburg said. “We must help get them there.”

The study was funded by The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The Biden campaign released the names of those who will serve on transition teams. Our reader, retired arts educator Laura Chapman, reviewed the members of the education transition team. According to the campaign (cited in Valerie Strauss’s article), the transition team will identify DeVos regulations that should be reversed, but the team will not set policy or staff. Chapman, like many readers of this blog, believes that President Obama’s Race to the Top was profoundly wrong because of its overemphasis on standardized testing (a fact acknowledged even by President Obama) and its advocacy for charter schools and evaluation of teachers by the test scores of their students. Biden promised a new vision and fresh policies for K-12 education, not more of the same failed policies.

Chapman writes:

Biden-Harris Transition teams are selected to review specific agencies. Volunteers are listed only by their “most recent employment.” Those serving in education are “volunteers” and not required to indicate “sources of funding.”

I have looked into the biographies of Biden’s 20 experts in education – entries from LinkedIn, their current organizations, and less often Wikipedia. 

Of these
15 have no documented Pre-k to12 teaching experience.
14 held positions in Obama’s administration with nine of these in the US Department of Education (USDE). Two worked at USDE before Obama.
10 are lawyers.
7 have supported charter schools, here indicated by*
Also lurking here are Billionaire supporters of failed educational reforms. 

LEADER: Linda Darling-Hammond.* CEO Learning Policy Institute. See Wikipedia. Of interest: She developed the EdTPA (Teacher Performance Assessment) used in 40 states and 750 teacher education programs and the Smarter Balanced Assessment aligned with the Common Core, still used in some states, including California. Early in her career, she co-founded a preschool/day care center and Early College High charter school serving low-income students of color in East Palo Alto, California. The school had multiple connections with Stanford University where Linda Darling-Hammond taught. A version of this concept still exists in East Palo Alto Academy where some academic programs are connected with Stanford University. Linda Darling-Hammond is the subject of video interviews conducted in her home by Amrein-Beardsley. I recommend them. Be sure to scan down for the first video /inside-the-academy/linda-darling-hammond This archive also has video interviews with Diane Ravitch, Howard Gardner, Elliot Eisner and others.

UNION CONNECTIONS: American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association.
–Donna Harris-Aikens. Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Senior Director of Education Policy and Practice NEA (14 years). Prior work at NEA on ESEA. Former Policy Manager for Service Employees International Union.
–Beth Antunez, No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Deputy Director, Government Relations for AFT. Previously ATF Assistant Director for educational issues especially community school initiatives.
–Shital Shah, No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Manager of Philanthropic Engagement at AFT. Other AFT positions for 18 years, most of these in community engagement. Other youth and public heath work, including Peace Corps in Honduras.
–Marla Ucelli-Kashyap. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Assistant to the AFT President for Educational Issues. Former Director of District Redesign and Leadership at the Annenberg Institute for School Reform at Brown University and senior program officer at the Rockefeller Foundation. Member, Advisory Council for “Education Reimagined,” devoted to “Personalized learning that is competency-based and has a wide range of learning environments and adult roles.” https://education-reimagined.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Vision_Website.pdf

UNION and OBAMA ADMINISTRATION SERVICE
–Robert Kim. Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. John Jay College of Criminal Justice; writer and consultant on legal, policy, and civil rights issues in education. Senior Title IX EEO investigator. Former Obama Deputy Assistant Secretary for Strategic Operations and Outreach, USDE. Senior Policy Analyst, NEA. Co-author, “Education and the Law, 5th ed.” (West Academic Publishing, 2019) and “Legal Issues in Education: Rights and Responsibilities in U.S. Public Schools Today” (2017). Early legal service for ACLU, and Legal Aid.
–Ruthanne Buck. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. A Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretaries of Education John King and Arne Duncan for educator outreach and engagement. Previously Assistant to AFT President for Special Projects and National Field Director at AFT. Led major field and political operations on progressive issues, agencies and candidates.

OBAMA ADMINISTRATION (* indicates some connection to charter schools)
–Ary Amerikaner, Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Vice President for P-12 Policy, Practice, and Research at the Education Trust. Obama’s Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education. The Education Trust operates four offices coast to coast and makes recommendations for federal and state policy. These recommendations have treated ESSA as a civil rights mandate to be followed, with no testing waivers. The Trust wants to expand Civil Rights Data Collection reports on school crime and discipline, also AP courses (for the College Board?). The Trust wants to see the present ban on a “student unit record system” lifted. That would please Bill Gates and allow federal data-collection on individual students in any post-secondary program–including their SS numbers, income tax records and more. See https://dianeravitch.net/2017/01/07/stop-our-government-wants-to-create-a-national-database-about-everyone-including-your-children/ and https://edtrust.org/press-release/opportunities-to-advance-educational-equity-during-the-next-administration/.
–James Kvaal,* Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. President, The Institute for College Access & Success, a non-profit treating issues of student debt. Obama’s White House Deputy Director of Domestic Policy and Deputy Under Secretary USDE. Prior work as consultant for Achieving the Dream (a network of community colleges), America Achieves (Common Core), Annie E. Casey Foundation (Read by Grade Three), College Board (David Coleman), the Harvard Government Performance Lab, Results for America and others. The Institute for College Access & Success has six senior fellows from the Obama administration and lists 220 “partners” devoted to evidence-based policies and “what works.” Partners include Teach for America, Teach Plus, The New Teacher Center, charter school franchises (KIPP, IDEA, Green Dot, and YesPrep). Billionaires fund the Institute: Arnold Ventures (John D. and Laura Arnold hedge funds), the Ballmer Group (a nonprofit co-founded by former CEO of Microsoft Steve Ballmer), the S.D. Bechtel, Jr Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Edna McConnell Clark Foundation (funded expansion of Green Dot charter schools), William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Schmidt Futures (former Google CEO Eric Schmidt’s philanthropy)
–Emma Vadehra.Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Senior fellow, The Century Foundation, also a non-resident Senior Fellow at the charter-friendly Center For American Progress. Executive Director of Next100, a Century Foundation incubator for next generation policy leaders. Obama’s Deputy Assistant Secretary in USDE’s Office of Planning, Evaluation, Policy Development. Also Chief of Staff for Obama’s USDE serving John B. King Jr. and Arne Duncan. Former Chief of Staff at Uncommon Schools, a charter school management organization.
–Keia Cole. Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Head of Digital Experience at MassMutual, an insurance company. Obama’s Associate General Counsel and Chief of Staff to Deputy Secretary of USDE. Responsible for providing strategic direction for USDE’s financial, technology, human capital, and risk management operations. First work at Morgan Stanley’s Investment Banking Division, specialist in financial analysis of media and communications companies. For less than a year she was an Education Pioneers Fellow at KIPP San Jose Collegiate charter school, not as a teacher.
–Roberto Rodriguez.* No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. President and CEO of Teach Plus, operates in 11 states to supply charter school teachers. Obama’s Deputy Assistant to the President for Education. Claims credit for contributions to ESSA, STEM, higher education standards. Rodriguez claims credit for bipartisan work on No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, among other major bills. Advisor on education for Unidos US, the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Serves on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Excellent Education, The Achievement Network (promoter of charter schools), the Bainum Family Foundation and Strive Together’s data-mongering Cradle to Career Network.
–Kristina Ishmael. In Nebraska, she taught ELL students for two years and Kindergarten and 2nd Grade for four years. Director of Primary and Secondary Education at Open Education Global (less than a year), in charge of adoptions of Open Educational Resources world-wide. Open Education fellow in Obama’s USDE Office of Educational Technology (2016-2017). Former manager of the Teaching, Learning, & Tech team at New America. Digital learning specialist for the Nebraska Department of Education for four years.
–Lindsay Dworkin. Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Director, Policy Development and State Government Relations at Alliance for Excellent Education. Obama’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Outreach USDE (2016-2017). Legal work in Delaware for the former Governor and State Treasurer of Delaware Jack Markell. The Alliance (All4Ed) advocates for evidence-based instructional practices, and college and career pathways in 40 states and specific federal educational policies. A major Alliance project, Future Ready Schools, is active in 30 states pushing for digital access to “anytime, anywhere, personalized learning.” Superintendents in over 3400 districts have signed the Bill Gates inspired “pledge” at https://dashboard.futurereadyschools.org/pledge/
–Paul Monteiro, Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Assistant Vice President of External Affairs, Howard University. Previously Chief of Staff for Howard University’s President. Former Acting Director of the Community Relations Service, Obama’s Department of Justice (one year, 4 months), National Director of AmeriCorps VISTA. Public Engagement Advisor to White House on Arab Americans, faith communities, anti-poverty groups, and gun safety organizations. Deputy Director of Religious Affairs for Presidential Inauguration Committee including the National Prayer Service at the Washington National Cathedral. Two year appointee, Board of Education Prince George County Public Schools. Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland for three years.

USDE WORK prior to OBAMA
-Norma Cantu. University of Texas at Austin, Chair Department of Educational Administration, former US Assistant Secretary of Education 1993-2001. (Position misidentified on Biden’s list)

OTHER
–Jessica Cardichon. Lawyer. An upper elementary teacher in NYC for nearly seven years. Director of Learning Policy Institute’s DC office. Leads the Institute’s federal legislative and regulatory strategy. Co-leads LPI’s teams on state policy, member of LPI’s teams on Educator Quality, Deeper Learning, Equitable Resources and Access and Early Childhood Education. Authored reports on the Federal role in school discipline, and taking advantage of ESSA’s policies. Education Counsel to Senator Bernie Sanders, and Senior Director for Federal Policy and Advocacy, Alliance for Excellent Education.
–Jim Brown.* Lawyer. No evident Pre-k to12 teaching. Former Chief of Staff for Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey and Pennsylvania Secretary of General Services. At U.S. House of Representatives, served as Staff Director and General Counsel for the Subcommittee on Oversight of the Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs (now the Committee on Financial Services). Jim is co-founder of a company that manages over $800 million in venture capital. He is a trustee of Immaculata University, the Gesu Catholic School (K-12) and Young Scholars Charter School in Philadelphia. He is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Foundation.
–Margaret R (Peggy) McLeod. In her native Puerto Rico, she taught in two Montessori schools and owned a center that provided afterschool services to students with disabilities. Served as ESL teacher in DC. Currently Deputy Vice President of Education and Workforce Development, National Council of La Raza. Previously Executive Director, Student services, Alexandria (VA) City Public Schools. Assistant Superintendent for Special Education, District of Columbia (DC), also in DC, the Title III director, Office of Bilingual Education, Title VII coordinator, and bilingual program developer. A member of the National Board of Education Sciences since 2010.
—Pedro A. Rivera. Extent of classroom experience not found. President of Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster, PA since August 2020. Former five-year Secretary of Education, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania aiding the adoption of a funding formula for basic education; a performance measure for schools (Future Ready PA Index), and a school improvement strategy. Former Executive Director for the School District of Philadelphia, former Superintendent of the School District of Lancaster, PA, classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal.  
https://buildbackbetter.com/the-transition/agency-review-teams/ 

Laura Chapman writes:

“EdReports, an independent curriculum review nonprofit, rates curriculum on three gateways: Text Quality, Building Knowledge, and Usability. Amplify CKLA earned a green rating in all three.”

This should not be regarded as a trustworthy endorsement. Here is Why. Recall that the Common Core State (sic) Standards were first marketed as if they were not intended to be about curriculum (but they were), because the owners of the CCSS soon offered up “publisher’s criteria” for curriculum materials (2011). Those criteria morphed into a system for reviewing curricula, based on absolute compliance with the CCSS, including grade-by grade alignments. In 2013, the initial criteria for reviewing curriculum materials for compliance with the CCSS were called “drop dead” (meaning comply with these criteria or do not waste the time of reviewers). A year later, the language was softened to the idea that materials had to meet “gateway” criteria (2014), but with the same meaning,—comply or else the reviewers will not bother to look at anything else.

By 2015, the promoters of the CCSS had set up a non-profit called EdReports.org to function in the capacity of a consumer-reports of newly published math and ELA materials. The purpose was to rate publications that claimed to be in compliance with the CCSS.

EdReports is said to be the result of a meeting at the Annenberg estate of “the nation’s leading minds in math, science, K-12 and higher education.” I have not been able to find a list of participants in that meeting or the sponsors, but in 2014 professionals in branding and communications were hired to promote EdReports. You can see the strategy and their pride in getting coverage in national news, http://www.widmeyer.com/work/edreports-org.htmlincluding from Peter Greene at http://curmudgucation.blogspot.com/search?q=EdReports

In August 2015 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave $1,499,988 to EdReports for operating support followed in 2016 with $6,674,956 for operating support. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation gave EdReports.org $1.5 million in 2015 and $2 million in 2016.

Ed Reports.org is also funded by Broadcom Corporation (Board member from Broadcom is with EdReports), the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Foundation, the Helmsley Charitable Trust, the Overdeck Family Foundation, the Samuel Foundation, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, and the Stuart Foundation.

You can find more about the quest for absolute continuity from the writing of the CCSS, largely funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to current efforts to impose “approved curriculum materials” for any state that has adopted the CCSS… https://www.edreports.org/about/index.html

EdReports is a Gates funded review process initially marketed to ensure that “approved” curriculum materials were in compliance with the common core. Any curriculum materials that did not pass muster with three gateway “drop dead criteria” would not be subjected to further review.

Amplify does not want you to know the history of this phony system of rating materials. Bob Shepard has offered another excellent history of this absurdly wrong effort to standardize ELA curriculum.

I see that Margaret Spellings, former Secretary of Education, has found a position at Amplify. She also serves on the board of Gates’ relatively new lobby shop. She is not competent to make judgments about education, but that seems to qualify her to be a crony of the disrupters who will do almost anything to please a billionaire.

Last night there was a grand event at the Kennedy Center where veterans of the Bush and Obama education world joined together to wring their hands about the crisis at hand. The crisis is not the mess they made of American education for the past 20 years. The crisis is that the tests are not hard enough, the punishments are not tough enough, and the nation needs to buckle down and keep on testing and firing and demanding more from everyone. Except them. Of course.

Our reader Laura Chapman explains what was behind the big party:

“I wanted to look past the PR for this one event. The event is a launch for a new campaign capitalizing on “stagnating” NAEP scores and persistent gaps among students “who have been underserved.”

“The reformists are calling for “evidence based” methods of teaching using only “high quality, standards-aligned, content-rich curriculum.” Suddenly these reformists think “deficits in content-knowledge” matter. But these reformists are really fans of the Common Core and have a lonh history of ignoring much else worthy of study, content in the arts and humanities for example.

“In addition to being sponsored by the Collaborative for Student Success, this “new literacy campaign” is sponsored by Achieve, The Alliance for Excellent Education, The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, Learning Heroes, Literacy Now, National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Council on Teacher Quality, National Urban Alliance, National Urban League, Military Child Coalition, and The Education Trust. These have been supporters of the Common Core, and many love high-stakes tests.

“The Collaborative for Student Success is a multi-faced project of the New Venture Fund. It is supported by: Bloomberg Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ExxonMobil, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation. The website markets three of the Collaborative’s favorite math programs, but it also features “campaigns” of the Collaborative. Each campaign has a separate website. All campaigns are based on the premise that states are not living up to the requirements of ESSA. Truly, the sponsors of the Literacy Initiative are die-hard defenders of the Common Core and ESSA. Here are the camaigns in progress.

“A web-based “Assessment HQ” offers test scores and demographic breakouts for test scores “for more than half of states in grades 3-8.” This campaign is designed to claim that state assessments are not tough enough or fully reported to parents. The Collaborative scoops up state assessment results in math and ELA and puts these together in an interactive map. The Assessment HQ is actually sluggish and out of date. It is presenting data from the 2014-15 school year and it was designed to push PARCC and Smarter Balanced tests.

“The “Check State Plans” campaign offers ratings of the state plans for ESSA based on their strict conformity to ESSA. The Collaborative asked 45 reviewers to judge state plans, back in 2017, at about the same time that Bellwether Education Partners also put together a panel to review state ESSA plans. The Collaborative wanted to see “the following principles” honored in state plans. “Set the bar high for what students need to know and understand; Focus on closing the achievement gap in math and English; Ensure that parents and communities have access to meaningful data; Have a real plan for helping those schools that have been historically failing.”

“The “Educators for High Standards” campaign has offered about 12 fellowships to teachers willing to voice enthusiasm for ESSA, along with “partners” from the following groups, all known to push for high-stakes tests and the Common Core: The National Network of State Teachers of the Year, Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, PARCC, Teach Plus, Student Achievement Partners (Achieve the Core), National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), Hope Street Group, The New Teacher Project (TNTP), Teach for America, Center for Teacher Quality, and Educators4Excellece.
The” Military Families for High Standards” campaign features the work of advocates for schools serving military families. Among the resources is an article from the Center for American Progress titled “How the Common Core Improves Education for Military-Connected Children.”

“The Honesty Gap” campaign asserts that states must take NAEP’s definition of “proficiency” as the standard for judging the “honesty” in state tests. State tests that claim students are “proficient “are dishonest unless the state standard is the same as for NAEP tests. The “honesty gaps” for each state are shown on an interactive map. The explicit message is that schools are often lying to parents about student achievement. The website should be called Arne Duncan’s BS. https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=246201831
The “Understanding ESSA” campaign provides news about USDE activities (up-to-date) and links to state actions that comply with ESSA.

The whole website is devoted to belligerent judgments of states, districts, and schools while bolstering advocacy groups who will insist on “strict fidelity” to ESSA in state plans.

These birds of a feather intent on repeating the misery of two decades of top down reform.

 

 

Laura Chapman, our loyal reader and diligent researcher, writes:

 

If you want to get past the Dintersmith rhetoric, carefully contrived to make an appealing plausible story (with some help from Frameworks Institute.org), you need to look at the website Education 2020 (ED 2020) to see the underling incoherence (hot air) in Dintersmith’s project, and who is supporting it.

About Education 2020: “We (partners) have come together to advocate for a shared vision to advance a comprehensive education agenda that promotes universal inclusion and access to ongoing learning opportunities for everyone living in America. We call on all 2020 Presidential candidates to develop comprehensive education proposals aligned to this shared vision.”

Our coalition members (partners) include: Alliance for Excellent Education, American Federation of Teachers, Autism Society-, Center for American Progress, Children’s Defense Fund, Community Change Action, Institute for Educational Leadership, Learning Policy Institute, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Center for Learning Disabilities, National Disability Rights Network, National Education Association, National Public Education Support Fund, National Women’s Law Center, Reach Higher-, Save the Children Action Network, Save the Children-, Teach Plus-, The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Education Task Force, The Education Trust-, The Institute for College Access & Success, The Partnership for the Future of Learning, The United State of Women, UnidosUS-, Young Invincibles-, ZERO TO THREE.

Education 2020 offers a “Briefing Book” for this promotional activity aided by Dintersmith’s article. The briefing Book includes brief “policy pitches” offered by each of the partners, presented in alphabetical order. These policy pitches are brief, and they do not add up to a “comprehensive agenda” or reflect a shared vision. For example, there are pitches from Teach Plus and the Education Trust, both unsupportive of unions along with pitches from both teacher unions, AFT and NEA.

The Briefing Book includes this idea from the Center for American Progress: “High-quality charter schools are a valuable strategy to increase the number of good public school seats for students. But the growth of charter schools should not be an end in itself, and there are legitimate critiques of the sector that must be addressed. The next administration should take a nuanced approach to charters that includes both the expansion of good school options and the coordination across the traditional district and charter sectors to avoid potentially negative impacts.”

The Learning Policy Institute calls for these actions among others: “Monitor, support, and enforce ESSA’s equity provisions. Key indicators of opportunity and outcomes can be used to inform “equity audits” for low-performing schools to support improvement and effective targeting of resources. “ also “Provide federal funding to support state and district efforts to create greater socioeconomic and racial school diversity and fund the Magnet School Assistance Program at a minimum at parity with the Charter School Program, currently funded at $440 million.”

The Briefing Book for this promotional activity also says: Education 2020 is a coalition housed and supported by the National Public Education Support Fund (established 2009, EIN 26-3015634).
Next question: what do we know about the National Public Education Support Fund? Here is what the fund does according to IRS form 990 for 2017.

“The mission of the National Public Education Support Fund (NPESF) is to promote equitable opportunities for all children to receive a high-quality education from birth through college and career. NPESF is a network hub for EDUCATION PHILANTHROPY, policy, advocacy and practice focused on equitable systems change.” What does “system change mean?” Systems change means reforms favored and charted primarily by billionaire-funded non-profit foundations, as if these tax havens are also sources of superior wisdom about education. The National Public Education Support Fund–a network for education philanthropy”–has the following projects in motion.

A. Partnership for the Future of Learning. Previously called the New Models Working Group. This working group dates to 2009. It was launched by Bill Gates to push the Common Core and aligned tests. The working group of participating foundations had quarterly meetings in DC). The current version funds organizations that offer “a forward-looking vision and policy framework for a 21st century public school system” (more and deeper learning, grounded in the core values of equity, democracy, and shared responsibility to ensure all children are prepared for college, career, and citizenship). Progress over the year: launched a STORYTELLING and NARRATIVE CHANGE effort with a microsite and about 50 partner organizations; publication of a community schools playbook and toolkit; and expanded participation to over 100 partners across dozens of education organizations.

B. We sponsor Education Justice Network. With six national education nonprofits advocating for greater education equity and opportunity with “alignment among the partners to amplify their work on policy, research, and advocacy.” Over the past year, members have created a governance structure for the network and its activities (e.g., working groups on community schools, school finance, redesigning districts, narrative shift, and democratizing knowledge).

C. Education Funder Strategy Group. Includes more than 30 leading foundations focused on “education policy and systems change from early childhood to college and career readiness and success.” Four quarterly meetings were held on the topics of FRAMING THE NARRATIVE on public education, resource equity, systems change…8 monthly calls were held on a variety of topics.” “A special dinner was held with leaders from the OECD focused on expanding access to high quality early learning. Working groups continued to self-organize around issues including “racial equity, using research evidence for change, and social-emotional learning.” (This as the current version of the New Models Working Group started by Bill Gates.)

D. Grantmakers for Thriving Youth: We are the fiscal sponsor for foundations/funders who are investing in “non-academic youth outcomes” such as “social and emotional learning and character development.” A majority of the funders “decided to continue this collaboration over the next two years.”

There is more. The 2017 Form 990 form identifies the Alliance for Excellent Education (all4ed.org) as a related organization whose work advances …”the goal of remodeling US public education.”

Indeed. all4ed is supported by many foundations known to support public funding of privately managed schools. These are named: Anonymous, AT&T Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, GE Foundation, James Irvine Foundation, Kern Family Foundation, National Public Education Support Fund, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, State Farm, Stuart Foundation, William & Flora Hewlett Foundation.

If you want a deep dive into the policies favored and promoted by all of these interrelated projects and organizations, look at the “issues” section of the all4ed website. These are the topics for which there are recommendations.
Accountability, Adolescent Literacy, Assessments, Brown vs. Board, Career & Technical Education, College- and Career-Ready Standards, Deeper Learning, Digital Learning and Future Ready Schools, Economic Impacts, Every Student Succeeds Act, High School Reform, International Comparisons, Linked Learning, Personalized Learning, Science of Adolescent Learning, Teachers and School Leaders.

Dintersmith’s article is an example of the relatively new strategy for selling ideas, marketed by Frameworks Institute.org with a focus on inventing stories, and forwarding narratives calculated to distract attention and elicit favorable responses to hidden-from-view power players. Many of the same “philanthropies” who have promoted failed policies for schools in the last two decades are still at it with Dintersmith trying out a refreshed story line.

This is indeed revelatory of the funding behind this “vision.”

My personal view, based on the rigorous research of the Network for Public Education into the federal Charter Schools Program, is that this program should be completely abolished. The NPE report, Asleep at the Wheel:How the Federal Charter Schools Program Recklessly Takes Taxpayers and Students for a Ride, found that at least one-third of the charter schools funded by CSP had either never opened or closed soon after opening, for a loss of about $1 billion in federal funds. The CSP is currently funded at $440 million. Betsy DeVos asked for $500 million. She is using that money to underwrite the expansion of national charter chains like KIPP and IDEA and to flood states like New Hampshire, Alabama, and Texas. Given the massive funding of charter schools by foundations, no federal funding is needed. Ongoing research by NPE shows that in some states, as many as 40% of charters were failures. Every presidential candidate should be asked if they will eliminate federal funding for new charter schools and direct the funding to Title I or other programs that meet genuine needs, not satisfy billionaires’ egos. 

 

In this comment, posted not long ago, reader Laura H. Chapman describes the Ohio view of education as workforce preparation. The pioneers of education had nobler goals. Above all, they considered the purpose of education to be preparation for citizenship in our emerging democracy. That meant literacy and numeracy but also character development with the hope of cultivating a commitment to democratic values and a readiness to participate in improving society on behalf of the community, not just oneself.

A resident of Ohio, Chapman describes the state’s narrow, utilitarian view of the goals of education. She notes that this goal was announced without any public discussion.

Several days ago, she wrote:

 

Today March 30, 2019, several Ohio newspapers had variations on the same announcement of a new non-profit headed by Lisa Gray, a long standing point person for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gray is now the “founder” of Ohio Excels, a corporate-led non-profit intent of making evidence of job preparation the priority for all high school graduates . The mission statement also includes educational choice, a policy perfectly consistent with the view that early apprenticeships and career prep from preschool are the singularly important missions of Ohio’s public schools.

This set of policy and practice priorities, comes to us hard on after the State Board of Education published Each Child, Our Future. Ohio’s Strategic Plan for Education: 2019-2024 in June 2018. That plan also included a strong emphasis on workplace skills and early career education, notably with Lisa Gray participating in a “workgroup” on “ High School Success and Postsecondary Connections ” led by LEAH MOSCHELLA from JOBS FOR THE FUTURE (JFF) where Moschella is a senior program manager for the Pathways to Prosperity Network, a collaboration between the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

I judge that plan 2018 Ohio plan (a conceptual mishmash) left too many CEOs unhappy, so Ohio Excels will be putting a new plan is in place–one that is an offshoot of Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Pathways to Prosperity Network.

I looked at the board of Ohio Excels and see lots of CEOs, many from activist positions in metro area business committees and civic and cultural groups. One is also on the board of Hillsdale College–a radical right school. I recognize another as a major supporter of the arts. Another was leading an initiative instigated by the MindTrust in Indianapolis, seeking more charter schools in Cincinnati with the usual patter about needing more “high quality seats.”

I am still unravelling the connections among all of these outfits, but so far I have discovered that JFF has received 35 grants for a total of about $122.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation dating from 2002. Early grants pushed the Common Core with “college and career” readiness, beginning in earnest in grade 9.

The Pathways to Prosperity Network has been funded within each member state (e.g., annual participation fee for California, $500,000) in addition to funds from the Carnegie Corporation of New York $450,000, the James Irvine Foundation (about $12 million, most in California), the Noyce Foundation (before it closed in 2015), and SAP an international Software company.

Jobs for the Future,appears to be inseparable from the Pathways to Prosperity Network. JFF has 18 projects in Ohio. All of these are designed to make Ohio education serve corporate interests. I have not yet done research on each of these projects.

Pathways to Prosperity Network (a project and all host to other efforts);
Center for Apprenticeship & Work-Based Learning;
Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative;
Postsecondary State Network;
Student Success Center Network;
Nudging to STEM Success;
Early College;
Improved Reentry Education;
Jobs to Careers;
Counseling to Careers;
Middle-Skill STEM Pathways Initiative;
New Skills at Work;
Digital Career Accelerator;
Great Lakes College and Career Pathways Partnership;
Lumina Foundation Talent Hubs;
Google IT Support Professional Certificate;
Policy Leadership Trust, and the big surprise:
“Pay for Success in K–12 Education” wherein venture capitalists overtly hope to make money from turning K-12 education into a financial product with little or no public voice and oversight.

Jobs for the Future has “partners.” These are

GOOGLE,
California Endowment,
Salesforce.org (cloud computing, artificial Intelligence),
Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) Foundation,
The James Irvine Foundation,
William and Flora Hewlett Foundation,
Social Finance (Pay for Success contracts), and yes–
US Department of LABOR and US Department of EDUCATION.

This national network of interlocking programs, foundations, and corporate groups has an agenda far removed from vocational eduction.

Ohio Excels, the new Ohio non-profit to be led by Lisa Gray has three staff and a policy agenda for public education that has not been shaped by public discussion. Our students are to part of the “talent pipeline” that CEOs say they want. Never mind what the life of our students may offer or require beyond getting a job and getting ready for a job beginning in Kindergarten. I hope to offer more detail about “Ohio Excels,” Jobs for the Future, and Pathways to Prosperity in another post.

 

Reformer groups and programs and projects pop up so often that I’m tempted to call them mushrooms, although stinkweeds would work too. I met Matt Gandal, described below, when he worked for Checker Finn at the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. As long as the foundations keep pumping money into their hobby, there will be more mushrooms. She wrote this comment a month or so ago:

 

Laura Chapman describes the latest Reformer mushroom:

 

Meanwhile, the self-appointed members of the “Education Strategy Group” will command the National Press Club March 8 for a launch of “Level UP, Aligning for Success.”

The program will focus on “how we are collectively working to improve student preparation and increase success in postsecondary education and training,” especially “the preparation of students of color, students from low-income backgrounds and first-generation college students.”

Level Up is described as a coalition, a collaboration, and effort to provide “a playbook of high-impact strategies that K-12 and higher education leaders can collaboratively use to increase student success.”

The Founder (2012) and President of the Education Strategy Group, Matt Gandal, is not embarrassed to offer a brief resume that reveals his 20 year association with perfectly terrible policies for education. He was as a senior advisor to Secretary of Education Arne Duncan where he led the “Reform Support Network” created as an enforcement arm for compliance (implementation) of Race to the Top.

Before that job, Gandal claims to be a founder and executive vice president of Achieve—infamous for its promotion of the Common Core State Standards—and the antecedent American Diploma Project. If you have not read Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools by Mercedes Schneider please do so. If you know the history of those bad ideas just be aware that they are not dead yet, not by a long shot. Gandal also claims to have held a leadership position in Chester Finn’s Educational Excellence Network. What more do you need to know?

Gandal ”was the author and chief architect of Making Standards Matter, an annual American Federation of Teachers report (beginning in 1992) purporting to evaluate the quality of the academic standards, assessments and accountability policies in every state. He also helped to drum up anxieties about standards in the United States in relation to other industrialized nations.

So, that is the leadership for the “Education Strategy Group.” The group functions as an advocacy shop for varied efforts to sustain the Common Core, with the attached aim of preparation for “college and career,” where career refers to workforce training.

This is a partial list of past and present “clients” for the Education Strategy Group: Delaware Department of Education, Georgia Department of Education, Maryland Department of Education, Rhode Island Governor’s Workforce Board, Indiana Department of Education, Indiana Commission for Higher Education, Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Department of Higher Education, Baltimore City Public Schools.

These are also listed as if clients: Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), National Governors Association (NGA), Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU), United States Chamber of Commerce Foundation, myFutureNC, New America.

Credits indicate support from the Charles A. Dana Center, Collaborative for Student Success; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Helios Education Foundation; Rodel Foundation of Delaware; J.P. Morgan Chase; Carnegie Corporation of New York; Joyce Foundation; Lumina Foundation; Abell Foundation; Strada Education Network; and Belk Foundation,

Two of the service “stories” of the Education Strategy Group focus on “The Collaborative for Student Success,” a project of the New Venture Fund. The Collaborative is also a creature of deep-pocket funding from groups unfriendly to public schools: the Bloomberg Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ExxonMobil, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and The Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

“The Collaborative for Student Success (CSS)” is a platform designed to reassert the general idea that standards are not high enough and they are a panacea. The CCS is also one among several non-profits (e.g., Bellwether Education Partners) that have elected to review and criticize state ESSA plans. You can see the CCS effort here with a direct link (no surprise) to the charter loving Walton funded 74 Million http://schoolimprovement.the74million.org

In other words, the National Press Club will become a forum for the launch of “Level UP, Aligning for Success.” The question is whether any one in the audience will have done enough homework to grasp this latest effort to shore up failed education policies. The National Press Club is for hire, and the launch of “Level UP, Aligning for Success” provides another venue for billionaire foundations and corporate friends to promote policies and practices that have no basis in professional wisdom. I hope members of the National Press Club will ask pointed questions about this latest PR effort to keep the the standards movement in place–a major effort to discredit public education. The link to the Walton funded 74 Million leaves no doubt about whose interests this PR campign serves.
http://edstrategy.org/level-up-launch/

 

 

 

Our reader, Laura Chapman, was interested in the sponsorship of the Education Writers Association, whose annual meeting will feature Betsy DeVos. No matter how odious her views, journalists should hear her and question her.

She wrote:

 

You have to pay $125 to attend this Education Writers Association event and do some writing on education.

It is not surprising that the Education Writers Association has selected DeVos as a major speaker. I conclude that by looking at the list of “Current Sustaining Funders”—all known for undermining public education while posturing about saving children from “underperforming schools.”

Here are the current “Sustaining Funders:”

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Joyce Foundation, The Kern Family Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Pritzker Children’s Initiative, The Wallace Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, William T. Grant Foundation.

The Education Writers Association also invites groups to pay for programs like this one as well as its website, newsletters, blogs, and printed programs for regional meetings. Those who foot the bill are called “Sponsors.” The list of past Sponsors is a curious mix of non-profits, for-profits, and national organizations of educators. Following is my grouping and parenthetical comments on past Sponsors of the Education Writers Association.

Membership Organizations:

American Council on Education (leaders of about 1,700 accredited, degree-granting institutions); American Federation of Teachers (about 1.7 million members, all levels of education); National Education Association (about 3 million members, all levels of education); Council of Chief State School Officers (public officials in charge of state departments of elementary and secondary education, plus the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Education, Bureau of Indian Education, and the five U.S. extra-state jurisdictions—promoters of the Common Core).

Higher Education Institutions:
California State University; National University; Stanford Graduate School of Education; Strayer University; University of Connecticut Neag School of Education; University of Chicago Urban Education Institute; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Southern California.

Academic Research and Advocacy Organizations:
American Institutes for Research.org (holding company for contract researchers in the social sciences); Learning Policy Institute (academic research, President and CEO Linda Darling-Hammond)

Organizations with Megabuck Funding:
Big Picture Learning, The Met School.org (network of career high schools);
The Broad Center.org (bang-for-the-buck corporate training for leaders in education); Data Quality Campaign.org (Gates funded to promote computer-coded national database on every student, teacher, and school); EdChoice.org (promotes market-based education, not public schools);
Education Trust.org (promotes high stakes tests to expand market for charter schools, choice). Say Yes to Education, Weiss Institute.org (software and metrics for college/career readiness programs in selected communities, read by grade three, etc. Weiss’ wealth came from money management): Strada Education Network.org (postsecondary career connections with this subsidiary—Economic Modeling LLC, offering predictive analytics about labor force needs and talent pipelines);

For-Profit Ventures:
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.com (promotes technology, data use in education); CollegeVine.com (college admission and SAT prep); GetaTutor.com (broker for online tutoring services); n2y.com (online resources special education); Pearson.com (marketer of instructional materials and tests); Scholastic.com (multinational publishing and media company in education)

Public Relations/Marketing Firms:
GMMB.com (PR firm, political messaging); HagerSharp.com (PR firm, branding and Messaging); Widmeyer Communications — A Finn Partners Company (PR firm, digital marketing);

Testing Organizations:
The College Board.org (marketer of SAT and AP tests and test-prep materials); Educational Testing Service.org (contractor/provider of tests—NAEP, GRE, PRAXIS, others)

Foundations:
American Financial Services Association Education Foundation (consumer education, especially about credit cards);
The Broad Foundation (supports the arts, medical sciences, and charter schools); Edwin Gould Foundation (helps incubate non-profits in education);
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (awards fellowships to emerging leaders for the academy and public service).

SPONSORSHIP FEES:
There are tiers of “sponsorship” for the website and other activities/events of the Education Writers Association. The highest fees are for website advertising— four-week purchase of announcement space options include: “Run of site – $ 5,000;
Blogs – $ 2,000;
Jobs – $ 2,000;
Events – $ 1,200;
Single overview page – $600.
For all of the advertising options the Education Writers Association “maintains editorial control over all programming and content.” https://www.ewa.org/sponsorship-info/sponsored-messaging

It would be interesting to see a timeline of the sponsors. I’d guess that the long list of “past sponsors” includes many short time and one-timers. I hope that this program will cause many sponsor to flee. Devos is menace to education.

Thank goodness for Laura Chapman. She has the patience to dig deep and find out who is behind the curtain.

She writes:

I looked at EducationCounsel. It is part of a very large corporation with legal and policy expertise, especially for federal and state policies in the South and among states on the East coast. The larger company is Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP– Attorneys and Counselors at Law. (see whisper type at the Education Counsel website)

A brief look at staff at EducationCounsel shows that some have advanced degrees from the Relay Graduate (sic) School of Education. Some began with TFA. Some have worked for the National Council on Teacher Quality (phony ratings of teacher education programs, promoter of NCLB). Some have experience with Jeb Bush’s corporate friendly Foundation for Excellent Education (FEE) see https://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Foundation_for_Excellence_in_Education

My impression is this: EducationCouncil is lobby shop. It has no principled approach to education other than serving clients who want policies shaped by the expertise of the staff.

Almost all of the senior people are former staffers and lawyers with experience in Congress or the Executive branch including the Obama and Trump administrations. The “current partners” (clients) dedicated to “closing the opportunity and achievement gap” include many who are not supporters of public schools but gifted at putting together punitive policies. Here are few.

America Achieves- orginal promoter of the Common Core now self described as an “accelerator that brings together exceptional educators and other leaders with game changing ideas, results-oriented funding, and strategic and operational support to drive success for students at scale.”https://achievethecore.org/author/23/america-achieves

Council of Chief State School Officers also big into promoting the Common Core and ESSA tests with several offspringalso clients of EducationCouncil: a) the National Network of State Teachers of the Year, a program of the Council of Chief State School Officers, and b) Partners for Each and Every Child –lobbyists for the Council of Chief State School Officers in seven states and funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Carnegie Corporation of New York, The Ford Foundation, The National Education Association, The American Federation of Teachers, The Stuart Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

These are are also clients of EducationCouncil: Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and others who are major supporters of charter schools and tech in schools including Turnaround for Children –lobbyists serving the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Add Jeb Bush’s Foundation for Excellence in Education really hostile to public schools.
Center for American Progress, The College Board, Institute for Higher Education Policy (B&M Gates funded), Lumina Foundation, and more.

In any case this not the only LLC set up to provide ready to use legislation, policy ideas, and advocacy packages for anyone who can pay the fees.