by A.P. Dillon
Earlier this week , Project Veritas, the investigative journalism outfit led by James O’Keefe and known for explosive undercover videos, released their latest work – an investigation into Common Core and the big money being made off the controversial standards.
In the video, undercover Project Veritas journalists catch an executive from textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on camera describing that Common Core isn’t about the kids, it’s “about the money”.
Diane Barrow, an account manager for Houghton Mifflin’s West coast division, is filmed saying, “You don’t think that the education publishing companies are in it for education do you? No, they’re in it for the money.”
When asked if she was in it for the kids, Barrow responds, laughingly saying “No, I hate kids”.
As many activist have noted over the years, the Common Core State Standards represent a multi-billion dollar windfall for publishing companies like Mifflin Harcourt and Pearson. Not only do the publishing companies stand to gain, but so do testing companies such as the ACT, SAT and the two Common Core consortia testing companies – the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
Education activists also noted early on that the work groups which developed the standards were loaded with people who either worked for or had previous employment ties to education testing and publishing companies.
One such education activist who pointed out the ties to these companies was Mercedes Schneider. In a blog post from 2014, Schneider delved into the press releases about the Common Core standards and included a good amount of detail about the Common Core development work groups.
In these work groups, Schneider noted that nearly none of them had any K-12 teaching experience in Math or English language arts and the majority of them had ties to Achieve, Inc, Pearson, the ACT, and The College Board. Schneider summarized the make-up of the work groups. (Emphasis and amplification is mine):
“In sum, 5 of the 15 individuals on the CCSS ELA [Common Core State Standards English Language Arts] work group have classroom experience teaching English. None was a classroom teacher in 2009. None taught elementary grades, special education, or ESL, and none hold certifications in these areas.
Five of the 15 CCSS ELA work group members also served on the CCSS math work group. Two are from Achieve; two, from ACT, and one, from College Board.”
Schneider closes with these statements; emphasis added is mine:
“Those pitching for ’teacher development’ of CCSS have just lost their case. Even if one considers the CCSS work group ’additions’ not originally part of the CCSS MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] but “conceded” in the forced 2009 NGA publicizing of its CCSS work groups, one readily sees that current classroom teachers were intentionally excluded from the CCSS decision-making table – especially elementary school teachers, special education teachers, and teachers of English as a Second Language (ESL). And I have not even touched upon NGA and CCSSO’s completely ignoring inclusion of teachers currently teaching in varied ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic regions.
“NGA and CCSSO [Council of Chief State School Officers] (and, by extension, USDOE[United States Department of Education) undeniably meant for CCSS to be something done ’to’ teachers. NGA’s and CCSSO’s concentration of individuals versed in standardized assessment on their CCSS work groups speaks to the purpose of CCSS to both financially benefit education testing companies and usher unprecedented, nationwide standardized testing into the classrooms of those very professionals purposely excluded from the CCSS work group table.”
There you have it. Schneider’s writing laying out the work groups, combined with Project Veritas’s video of a publishing company executive outright saying that Common Core is “about the money,” is very damning evidence indeed.
This first video is certainly a bit of vindication for the millions of activists, parents, teachers and students out there who had been demonized for protesting Common Core as a machine that makes money off the backs of the children.
If history has shown the public anything about Project Veritas, we know that even more videos will be coming. Stay tuned!