Get sick, get well
Hang around a ink well
Ring bell, hard to tell
If anything is goin' to sell
-- Bob Dylan

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Common Core architect tied up with Rhee's group

Common Core has made for some strange bedfellows. Most Democrats support it. Lots of good educators, unions and civil rights organizations currently back  the idea of Common Core State Standards as an equity measure and alternative to current state standards. Others like Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier oppose their imposition by the DOE while others see it as another boondoggle for private curriculum contractors.

Things get really dicey when it comes to the high-stakes, standardized testing regimen that comes with CCSS. Even more so when you throw voucher supporters, anti-union and charter lobbyists into the mix,

Now we learn some new things about Common Core architect and newly appointed president of the powerful College Board, David Coleman. For one thing, Coleman has been closely tied up with Michelle Rhee. He is listed as a director on the board of StudentsFirst, the anti-teacher, anti-union, school-privatization advocacy group begun by Rhee. Coleman is a former McKinsey consultant who was hired by the Gates Foundation.

"I helped the organization get started and have discussed with them that a new board will be beginning in June," Coleman told Edweek's Stephen Sawchuck.  Sawchuck goes on to quote StudentsFirst spokeswoman, Nancy Zuckerbrod, who said that the organization had planned for Coleman and the others to step down this summer.
Why pick Coleman initially?, I asked. "He's a really impressive guy," Zuckerbrod said. "Michelle is totally on board with the common core. She's a big fan."
Other groups that initially helped Rhee raise millions of dollars for StudentsFirst include the Broad Foundation, which gave about half a million in start-up funding, and  Education Reform Now, which is affiliated with Democrats for Education Reform.  DFER President Joe Williams told Sawchuck, that was done in the haste to get the StudentsFirst group set up before Rhee appeared on "Oprah" to formally announce its launch. 

Writes Sawchuck: 
Coleman, who was recently tapped to lead the College Board, has not weighed in on StudentsFirst's policy agenda, which includes such things as revamped teacher-evaluation systems, opening more charter schools, and supporting a limited number of school vouchers.
The take-away here -- the future of Common Core is certain to be a contentious one, as well it should be. 

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