Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Group Launches Common Core Web Site – Claims It’s For “Information Purposes Only”

A Baton Rouge non-profit group has built a web site in an attempt to dispense unbiased information about Common Core. The only problem is, the group isn’t unbiased nor are the Corporate Partners funding the effort.

Education’s Next Horizon claims that it’s mission is to “help frame the public debate on PreK-12 education”.

In an article in the Baton Rouge Advocate promoting the launch of LouisianaCommonCore.org, John Warner Smith, the group’s CEO, said, “We wanted it to also be very informative and resourceful for individuals who perhaps have not taken a side on Common Core.”

But, Education’s Next Horizon is an unabashed supporter of Common Core as evidenced by the banner ad at the top of the web site which screams “Education’s Next Horizon is For Common Core.”

While including some information and links to articles that are negative about Common Core, the web site is hardly unbiased.

When you click on the tab “Positions Across Louisiana”, the web site is loaded with every group imaginable that supports Common Core including Education’s Next Horizon’s “Corporate Partners” like ExxonMobil.

Other companies listed as “Corporate Partners” for Education’s Next Horizon include companies who are also promoting Common Core like CapitalOne Bank, AT&T, Entergy, and Blue Cross Blue Shield. These companies are not listed on the LouisianaCommonCore.org web site.

In fact, there are 63 listings of companies, organizations and elected officials who support Common Core according to the web site. In addition, many of the groups and organizations listed aren’t from Louisiana.

One of the major financial backers of the Pro Common Core movement is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Microsoft Billionaire’s Foundation has pumped millions of dollars into the local school districts in the form of grants, provided millions more to community organizers, and millions more to state departments of education, including several million to the Louisiana DOE.

As part of the Common Core initiative, local school districts will need to spend millions to purchase computers and special testing software to coordinate data throughout the states. In Jefferson Parish alone,the School Board has approved $35 Million in bond debt to purchase computers and software specifically for Common Core.

Several groups listed as supporting Common Core have also received grants from the Gates Foundation including New Schools for New Orleans which has received over $3 Million in 2012 and 2013 alone and Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools which received $650,000 in 2011 and 2012.

Here’s a link to search grants from the Gates Foundation to Louisiana organizations and another link to see their spending to support Pro Common Core groups.

Clear evidence that the LouiaianCommonCore.org web site is biased, there are only 5 listings for those who are against Common Core.

The group Stop Common Core in Louisiana is one such group listed. The web site links to the group’s Facebook page which has over 7,200 “Likes”, myself included.

“We think educational decisions should be made by parents, teachers and Louisiana Citizens and not influenced by outside groups,” said Terri Timmcke of Stop Common Core in Louisiana.