Recently, Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post wrote a lengthy story concerning the role of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in fostering the Common Core State Standards. If you haven’t already seen the full article, you should read it (see below for the link). For now, we will summarize it for you.
The article is an important look into the way that charitable donations affect American education. The article is also timely because states will be officially rolling out Common Core this coming school year, even as South Carolina and Oklahoma recently repealed Common Core in their states.
While the article never openly declares a position on the Common Core or how it came to be so pervasive in American education, the subtext clearly is that Americans concerned about education should follow the money trail. In other words, the most compelling evidence given in the article is that advocacy organizations, states, school districts, and think-tanks that leaned toward both sides of the political spectrum have accepted money from the Gates Foundation, in the order of millions of dollars, to carry out research about Common Core. In an era of budget cuts since the Great Recession of 2008, Layton speculates that organizations and states had a financial incentive to accept the extremely well-funded Common Core agenda.
In addition to the article, there is a nearly 30 minute video interview with Bill Gates, which at times grows tense. Gates stands by his assertion that supporting Common Core has everything to do with philanthropy on behalf of American students who have been underserved by the American school system and nothing to do with any sort of political or business agenda.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the article, whatever your political and/or beliefs about the Common Core are, is its consideration of how swiftly such a sweeping change to American education was able to come about. What has taken place with Common Core since 2008 is staggering when compared with the incremental changes to American public education that have occurred in previous decades.
Following is the link to the article, which also contains the video: