Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Rich Crandall Wants You To Know

"We started looking at the Common Core for Arizona over five years ago, long before Race to the Top was even a gleam in Obama's eye.  I was in the original meetings with Jim Zaharis, the Board of Regents, the State Board of Education and several lawmakers back in 2008..."  And that it wasn't just "dreamed up three weekends ago over a couple of beers."
Which means that Senator Crandall wants you to know that he was willing to commit Arizona to a set of standards that hadn't even been written yet.

(FYI:  This will be a long and well-documented entry which will lay the groundwork for our future articles)

The formal announcement to create Common Core wasn't made until July 2009.  Although, it didn't stop those behind the initiative from pressuring states to sign off on an "un-binding" Memo of Understanding even before July in an effort to give the illusion of "state" support.  Including Arizona.

The only way for us to know what REALLY happened behind the scenes here in Arizona, or more specifically, who sold us down the river, is to look at the minutes from the meetings that Senator Crandall claims he attended.

And, of course, find out who is behind the national push for CCSS.

Surely Senator Crandall is fully aware of those who are behind the initiative.  For some who are just learning about this now, here is a quick family history of the groups involved in creating, writing and implementing the "state-led" effort.

1996:  Achieve is born

2001:  Achieve joins with Education Trust, the Fordham Institute (partner with Center for American Progress and Education Reform Now!  One of the trustees is Diane Ratvich, a founder of the Common Core Initiative) and National Alliance of Business to create the American Diploma Project

2004:  ADP releases report "Ready or Not: Creating a High School Diploma that Counts" which identifies a common core in English and math or "benchmarks" that students need for success in college

2005:  ADP is launched in 13 states

2006:  ADP creates the College and Career Ready Policy Institute (Arizona is one of the "lucky" states to be chosen to assist the Institute from September 2008 to December 2009 in developing a state assessment system)

2007:  ADP Assessment Consortium launches to develop common Algebra II assessment...the largest multi-state assessment to date

2008:  Achieve releases "Out of Many, One: Toward Rigorous Common Core Standards From the Ground Up"

2009:  Work begins to develop the Common Core Standards

2010:  Final Common Core Standards are released;  Achieve begins serving  as Project Management Partner for PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers)

2011:  Achieve begins managing the "state-led" development of K-12 Next Generation Standards

Partners of the CCRPI include the National Governor's Association, the EducationCouncil , the Data Quality Campaign  and:

Jobs for the Future whose funders include the Bill/Melinda Gates Foundation, George Soro's Open Society, the Joyce Foundation, Annie-Casey Foundation, Corporation for National and Community Service among other donors of leftist, big government, nanny state causes. 

Partners include the National Council of State Legislators (which Crandall is an at-large member.  Rep. Goodale sits on the NCSL Education Committee which is why she introduced HB2047 in the AZ State legislature), the National Governor's Association, the AFL-CIO, Open Society, SEIU, Brookings Institute (funded by Gates and Ford Foundations), National Council of La Raza and the Center for American Progress.

You know, the usual groups one might see involved in writing the standards in a "state-led" effort.

Meeting Minutes

March 11, 2009 (just a couple of weeks after Obama signed the Recovery and Reinvestment Act which included money for Race to the Top)

A presentation was made on the work of the College and Career-Ready Policy Institute (which AZ was a participant) relating to student assessment. This presentation was made by Dr. Karen Nicodemus.

March 25, 2009

The AIMS task force was introduced to a report titled, "Tough Choices or Tough Times" funded almost exclusively by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Annie Casey Foundation, Lumina Foundation and Hewlett Foundation (donates to the United Nations, Tides Foundation, Open Society, and gave $50k to Achieve in 2012). 

The report gives recommendations on what the government should fund such as universal early childhood education, equality of pay, and creating more equality and fairness between poor schools and wealthy schools. 

Meeting Minutes

May 18, 2009

This is the first discussion at an Arizona Board of Education meeting about the Common Core Initiative.  This took place two months before the formal announcement by Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan.

Dr. Butterfield who made the presentation in front of the Board stated that the CCSSO and the NGA Center for Best Practices had been working together to build support and relationships to create the "condition necessary to embark on common core standards as an initiative."  The initiative would include rigorous content skills and be internationally benchmarked.  Dr. Butterfield said that the states participating in the initiative were REQUIRED to have signatures of approval from the Governor and the Chief State School Officer.  At the time, forty states had expressed interest in participating and at least 15 states had officially registered.

 December 7, 2009

The presenter, Deputy Associate Superintendent Cheryl Lebo, stated that one of the main goals of the initiative is to equalize some of the access to educational excellence.  48 states and 3 territories have signed on to the Common Core Standards Initiative leg by the NGA Center and CCSS.  This work will affect 43.5 million students which is about 87% of the student population.

Ms. Lebo claimed that Common Core was being developed based on research and evidence from leading national organizations and high-performing states and counties.  CCSSO and the NGA Center in partnership with ACT have established the common core development, advisory process and validation process.  Public comment was scheduled to begin in December and the work to be finalized in the fall of 2010.

Ms. Lebo stated the following would be requirements for state adoption:
1.  It would be voluntary, however, there is a condition of RTTT funding
2.  Adoption would need to be in its entirety or in its entirety with up to an additional 15% added (so, states can only have 15% input in a "state-led" curriculum)
3.  Upon adoption, the organizations will encourage consortia of states in the development of assessments and curricular materials.

Benefits of adoption:
Eligible to receive RTTT funding
Eligible to apply for $350M grant for assessments
THEN it benefits students, parents and teachers

January 25, 2010

Supt. Horne signed the "non-binding" MOU (Memo of Understanding) for the assessment portion of the CCSS.

Ms. Lebo provided the Board with a time-line for the CCSS work. 

Mr. Jaime Molera stated he was not in favor of the process and was concerned for long-term outcome.  Supt. Horne stated the Board will have the authority to approve or disapprove the state standards.

(which is actually not true as those states who accepted RTTT funding were REQUIRED to sign up for the CCSS)

Remember, the standards still have not been finalized.

February 22, 2010

The ADE is committed to supporting, establishing and implementing standards and has developed an implementation plan to transition to the CCSS.

Standards still have not been completed.

June 28, 2010

Final presentation for the CCSS was given by one of the writers, University of Arizona Professor, Dr. McCallum.  The public would have 30 days to make additions to the 15% allowed by the state (in this "state-led" initiative).

The Board was asked to formally adopt the CCSS with a reminder that all states involved in Race to the Top were required to adopt the CCSS by August 2nd.

Board member Mr. Thomas Tyree moved to adopt the standards.  Diane Ortiz-Parsons seconded.

The Governor, Board member Dr. Balentine and Supt. Horne also signed an MOU on the PARCC assessment portion of CCSS.  Because Arizona was one of the first states to join the consortium, these states would be the only ones who would qualify for grant funding. 

Arizona would be a governing member of the consortium and the two voting members would be Dr. Vicki Balentine and RICH CRANDALL.   

We've shown you how CCSS was able to be implemented in our state, no thanks to our state "leaders", now let's see who is behind Common Core and how its tentacles even made its way into our state in the first place.

While the push for a common standard among the states began in the mid 1990's, the Common Core Initiative itself began in early 2008 by New York University research professor Diane Ravitch and Antonia Cortese with the American Federation of Teachers (an affiliate of the AFL-CIO).  The Common Core Initiative was a project that received a majority of their funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

In April 2008, the AFT began yet another push to adopt a national common standard for every grade and in every subject.

If Senator Crandall is proud to say that he has been behind the Common Core Initiative for the last five years, then he must not have a problem with the fact that it was pushed by the AFL-CIO and funded by the leftist Gates Foundation


he certainly must be aware of the people who ended up writing the curriculum.  

They are just the people one might expect to see writing curriculum standards for our public schools.


1.  Jim Patterson - Lead writer

Mr. Patterson is the lead content specialist for the English and reading portions of the EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT tests and has worked on the development of ACT's College Readiness Standards.  He will help to adapt the CCSS to the college entrance exams.

2.  Susan Pimentel - Director of Standards Works and Achieve

In 1999, Ms. Pimentel authored the book, "Raising the Standard:  A Eight-Step Guide For Schools And Communities."  In the book she writes about laying the groundwork for lasting school reform because genuine, long-lasting reform grows from the grass-roots.  She lists organizations that can help "guide" the standards such as Achieve and the American Federation of Teachers (AFL-CIO).

She said, "Ours is a society that thrives on change....Reform is hard work"

Ms. Pimentel donated over $22,000 to Democrats in 2012 (mostly to Obama's campaign).  Significantly more than the $4000 donations she made in 2008.

3.  David Coleman - With Student Achievement Partners

Mr. Coleman founded the GROW Network which was later acquired by McGraw-Hill.  Last year, GE made an $18M donation to SAP which is odd since  Obama gave GE a big bailout.

Mr. Coleman donated $15,000 to the Obama campaign in 2012.


1.  Bill McCallum - Lead writer/Professor at the University of Arizona

Mr. McCallum has donated thousands of dollars since 2008 to Democrats including the Obama campaign, the DNC, and Gabby Giffords.  He also made a $100 donation to Randy Parraz's Citizens for a Better Arizona during the 2011 recall effort against Arizona Senate President, Russell Pearce.

2.  Jason Zimba - With the Center for Advancement of Public Action (CAPA)

Mr. Zimba worked alongside David Coleman with the GROW Network.  Also, CAPA is a non-profit that started in 1991 and is all about "Equity and Accountability."  Bennington College in VT has a new CAPA curriculum which focuses on human rights, transformation, education, social change, and community organizing.

Mr. Zimba donated $1000 to Obama's campaign in 2012 and $2300 in 2008.

3.  Phil Daro - Fellow and Board Member with Noyce Foundation (founded in memory of Dr. Robert Noyce, co-founder of Intel)

Between 2010 - 2011 the Noyce Foundation gave $500,000 in grants to Achieve, the National Research Council and the National Governor's Association for Best Practices...groups directly involved with Common Core.

Did you catch that?  One of the main writers of Common Core sits on a board who donated $500,000 to the groups who, at the same time, were out pushing CCSS across the country. 

Mr. Daro also donated to Obama in 2012.

Surely Senator Crandall had to have been aware...

He must also know that Governor Brewer appointed former Intel CEO, Dr. Craig Barrett, to chair her newly created Ready Council designed to market   implement Common Core in Arizona.  Which means that Senator Crandall probably doesn't have a problem with Dr. Barrett also being the Chairman of Achieve, the non-profit organization who is helping implement the assessment of Common Core and the same organization that received a significant amount of money from those who wrote the standards in this "state-led" effort. (see the Foundation donors above)

Perhaps Senator Crandall, Governor Brewer and Supt. Horne heard the speech by Obama's Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, in June 2009 when he spoke about the CCSS to the National Governor's Association,

"This is your opportunity to be bold. To be creative. To think big and push hard on the kinds of reform that we know will create FUNDAMENTAL and LASTING CHANGE...

So, while this effort is being led at the state level, as it should be, (wink wink) it is absolutely a NATIONAL challenge that we must meet together or we will compromise our COLLECTIVE future.

There's never been this much money on the table and there may never again be....

We will continue everything in our power to fulfill your COLLECTIVE VISION of great schools, producing great citizens and great do-ers."

We'll post Mr. Duncan's full text in another entry and show you how "state-led" this effort really was....

Apparently, Sentor Crandall wants us to know that for the last five years, he has been working side-by-side not only with leftist organizations, but with a radical federal administration whose goal is to fundamentally transform our educational system and destroy anything that resembles the 10th amendment along the way. 

And he sits on our state's Senate Education Committee? 

Before Senator Crandall and others in the State Senate cast their vote for HB2047, perhaps they should speak to one of the original founders of the Common Core Initiative, Diane Ravitch, because she would tell them why she now OPPOSES it.