Thursday, May 26, 2016

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Catholic Education Daily


Support Grows for Congressional Investigation into Common Core

Congress should investigate the role Bill Gates and the U.S. Department of Education played in drafting and imposing the Common Core State Standards, according to both a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) and a former education official appointed by the Clinton administration.

Just recently, the Washington Post ran an article on “How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution.”  In response, Diane Ravitch, former member of the National Assessment Governing Board, wrote on her blog and Stanley Kurtz, senior fellow at EPPC, wrote at National Review Online that a congressional investigation into the background of Common Core is necessary.

“I may not always share Ravitch’s take on Common Core—although often I do—but I agree with her that a congressional investigation is now in order,” wrote Kurtz.

“Several laws prohibit the federal Department of Education from directing, supervising, or controlling programs of instruction in state or local school systems,” he continued. “By coordinating with the Gates Foundation, and by other means as well, the Obama department of education appears to have violated that prohibition.  Congress is obliged to investigate.”

The Gates Foundation spent more than $200 million on developing and building political support for the standards, according to the Washington Post.  The Foundation also paid the National Catholic Education Association more than $100,000 to help implement the Common Core in Catholic schools, as was reported.

“The idea that the richest man in America can purchase and–working closely with the U.S. Department of Education–impose new and untested academic standards on the nation’s public schools is a national scandal,” wrote Ravitch. 

The development and implementation of the Common Core is a “story of how a private foundation working hand in glove with the Obama administration made an end-run around democracy and the law,” according to Kurtz.  He wrote:

When the story of the Common Core is finally told, it’s going to be ugly.  It’s going to show how the sponsors of the Common Core made a mockery of the Constitution and the democratic process.  It’s going to show how the Obama administration pressed a completely untested reform on the states, evading public debate at both the federal and state levels.  It’s going to show how a deliberative process that ought to have taken years was compressed into a matter of months.  It’s going to show how legitimate philanthropic funding for an experimental education reform morphed into a gross abuse of democracy. It’s going to show how the Obama Education Department intentionally obscured the full extent of its pressure on the states, even as it effectively federalized the nation’s education system.  It’s going to show how Common Core is turning the choice of private—especially Catholic—education into no choice at all.

The Newman Society launched Catholic Is Our Core last year to provide Catholic parents, educators and Church leaders with guidance and resources in exploring the Common Core and concerns about its potential impact on Catholic schools and students.  More information is available at

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