Bill Gates: Common Core Attempt to Close Gap Between ‘Low-Income’ and Wealthy Students

In an interview with the Washington Post that summarizes how Bill Gates pulled off the very “swift Common Core revolution,” the Microsoft founder stated, “The country as a whole has a huge problem that low-income kids get less good education than suburban kids get… and that is a huge challenge.”

Gates’s statement underscores further the notion that the Common Core standards initiative is a social engineering project that places education standards ahead of parental and family influences as the major cause of poor student performance in low-income and minority communities.

Regardless of the push by various Gates-funded organizations to boast the Common Core standards’ “rigor,” the real motivation to correct what is viewed as societal injustices was underscored even by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan who said last November that it was “fascinating” that some of the opposition to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) is coming from “white suburban moms who – all of a sudden – their child isn’t as brilliant as they thought they were, and their school isn’t quite as good as they thought they were.”

According to the Post, Gates is “irritated” by the resistance to the standards from grassroots organizations who want to bar the federal government from overreaching into local education decisions.

“These are not political things,” he said. “These are where people are trying to apply expertise to say, ‘Is this a way of making education better?'”

“At the end of the day, I don’t think wanting education to be better is a right-wing or left-wing thing,” Gates said. “We fund people to look into things. We don’t fund people to say, ‘Okay, we’ll pay you this if you say you like the Common Core.'”

Nevertheless, the federal government did offer funding through competitive grants to the states in President Obama’s Race to the Top (RttT) stimulus program in 2009, as well as waivers from No Child Left Behind restrictions if states adopted “college and career ready” standards.

In addition, Common Core proponents have not provided any solid research that backs up their claims that the standards are indeed “rigorous” or have been “internationally benchmarked.”

Ze’ev Wurman, visiting scholar at the Hoover Institution and author of the Pioneer Institute report, “Common Core’s Validation: A Weak Foundation for a Crooked House,” demonstrated the shoddy research that was performed by Common Core Validation Committee members who signed off on the standards. In the pro-Common Core studies Wurman examined, he found the research had been poorly executed and failed to provide evidence that the standards are internationally competitive and reflective of college-readiness.

Similarly, the 2014 Brown Center report by the Brookings Institution found that the Common Core standards will have “little to no impact on student achievement.”

Despite the lack of validity of the Common Core standards, the Post reports that after Gene Wilhoit, director of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and a former Kentucky education commissioner, and Common Core “architect” David Coleman met with Gates about funding the development of the standards, Gates’s foundation gave over $5 million to the University of North Carolina-affiliated Hunt Institute, led by former Gov. Jim Hunt (D). The Hunt Institute then coordinated more than a dozen organizations, including the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, National Council of La Raza, Achieve, Inc., the two national teachers’ unions, and the two groups that are the copyright owners of the Common Core standards – CCSSO and the National Governors Association (NGA).

Talking points about the standards were then developed by GMMB, a communications firm owned by Jim Margolis, a top Democrat strategist and veteran of both of Obama’s presidential campaigns.

In Kentucky, where Common Core caught fire first, the state’s Chamber of Commerce provided the link to a Louisville stockbroker who organized a coalition of 75 company executives across the state who lent their names to ads in business materials that supported the nationalized standards.

Within months, states were signing on to the Common Core.

“You had dozens of states adopting before the standards even existed, with little or no discussion, coverage or controversy,” said Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, which received $4 million from the Gates Foundation since 2007 to study education policy, including the Common Core. “People weren’t paying attention. We were in the middle of an economic meltdown and the healthcare fight, and states saw a chance to have a crack at a couple of million bucks if they made some promises.”

Sarah Reckhow, a philanthropy and education policy expert at Michigan State University, told the Post that the Gates Foundation’s decision to pay both for the standards themselves and their promotion was atypical.

“Usually, there’s a pilot test – something is tried on a small scale, outside researchers see if it works, and then it’s promoted on a broader scale,” Reckhow said. “That didn’t happen with the Common Core. Instead, they aligned the research with the advocacy… At the end of the day, it’s going to be the states and local districts that pay for this.”

According to the Post, however, Gates “sees himself as a technocrat trying to foster solutions to a profound social problem – gaping inequalities in U.S. public education – by investing in promising new ideas.”

“I believe in the Common Core because of its substance and what it will do to improve education,” he said, though his children attend private schools that have not adopted the Common Core standards. “And that’s the only reason I believe in the Common Core.”

“This is about giving money away,” he said of his support for the standards. “This is philanthropy. This is trying to make sure students have the kind of opportunity I had… and it’s almost outrageous to say otherwise, in my view.”

Source: Breitbart Feed

300 California Groups Sign Statement Supporting Common Core

Common Core in California is getting a boost from over 300 California businesses, nonprofits, and children’s groups that released a statement approving of the Common Core State Standards.

The statement was circulated by Children Now, a non-profit advocacy group, and sent to California Governor Jerry Brown and state legislators.

Some of the groups signing the statement include some of the state’s chambers of commerce, various county and urban district superintendents, the California State PTA, the California Society for Biomedical Research, the Vacaville Police Activities League, and at least six chapters of the United Way.

The statement reads in part:

While we recognize the hard work that needs to be done by teachers, district leaders, and state policymakers to make Common Core implementation successful, we believe that the investments and hard work will pay off for our students in the long run in preparing them for college and career.

Debra Brown, Children Now’s associate director of education policy, said that the intent of the statement was to show that Common Core “has deep and broad support.” She added that the statement was catalyzed by the fear that the Common Core practice, or field, test that was used by the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium might have some major flaws.

Brown stated, “We were approaching the field test with trepidation” and that the supporters of Common Core were worried about “knee-jerk reactions” if the test went badly; however, according to Brown, the test ran well. Yet the supporters of Common Core still felt the need to issue a statement because “the underlying message of our support statement still applies and demonstrates how committed we as a state are” to implement Common Core.

Brown said some districts have been “more aggressive than others” in starting Common Core. Supporters of Common Core, including Children Now, are pressuring Gov. Jerry Brown to take more money out of the state budget for teacher training, materials, and technology; Brown allotted $1.25 billion in the current budget for Common Core.

Californians United Against Common Core sent a letter to the California Department of Education in February decrying Common Core and accusing the process that imposed it on the state of being deceptive. To contact them, see here.

Source: Breitbart Feed

‘Breitbart News Sunday’ On SXM 125: Crisis on the Border; Conservatives Debate the Gay Agenda; Bergdahl Deal Lies

On Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 from 7PM to 10PM EST, Breitbart News Executive Chairman and host Stephen K. Bannon will be talking about the major immigration scandal that has rocked the nation, Obama’s deal to bring back Private Bergdahl, a number of important Congressional races, and more.

Breitbart Texas Editor Brandon Darby will come on the program to discuss the massive immigration scandal involving illegal immigrant children coming by the thousands across the border and put in giant warehouses.

Bannon will speak to Congressional candidate Dave Brat who is challenging House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s 7th district. They will be discussing if there is a crisis for Republican leadership.

Breitbart’s National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka will come on the program to talk about the ongoing situation regarding the Private Bergdahl prisoner exchange.

Bannon will interview Dr. Susan Berry and Emmett McGroarty, Education Director of the American Principles Project, about the victories school choice advocates have had again the Common Core, nationalized education standards.

GOProud founder Jimmy LaSalvia will be in studio to discuss the end of GOProud and the future of his mission. Breitbart Contributor’s Patrick Kane and Sarah Rumpf will be giving a live report from Texas about the Texas GOP and gay rights. Bob Reilly, author of Making Gay Ok, and Breitbart contributor Austin Ruse will come on the program to answer if the gay left has a radical agenda.

Bannon will be speaking to Elan Carr and Paul Chabot, primary winners in the CA 33 and CA 31 Congressional races. Chabot is a veteran who served in the Clinton White House as a Presidential Fellow and later in the Bush White House as a Senior Advisor. He also served in the Pentagon, U.S. State Department, U.S. Congress, U.S. Department of Justice and in the California Governor’s Office as a three-term parole board commissioner, unanimously confirmed by the Senate.  Carr is a Jewish son of immigrants who fled Iraq. he joined the United States Army a few months before the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.  When U.S. troops entered Iraq in 2003, Elan volunteered to deploy to the very place from where his family had fled as Jewish refugees.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Op-Ed: Telling the Truth About Texas State Budgets

Editor’s Note: The issue of how to properly calculate state expenditures has been hotly contested in Texas. The Texas Public Policy Foundation and the Wall Street Journal have agreed on one set of numbers, while others have asserted their math was incorrect. A counterpoint to the below Op-ed can be found here.

Most Texans suspect their state government spends too much. They’re right. However, they typically lack information to confirm this belief because of a complex budget process and budget gimmicks that mask actual levels of spending. Ordinary Texans who pay the taxes deserve a transparent and comprehensible state budget. Unfortunately, they don’t get it from the opaque and difficult-to-grasp processes currently in place.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) gives Texans and taxpayers an easy-to-understand analysis with our recent report “The Real Texas Budget.” It isn’t what some legislators want Texans to know — and that’s exactly why we should know it.

But how do we make sense of Texas state budgets? For starters, you need a measurement that compares the 24-month biennial periods used in Texas state budgeting against each other. Due to variations in the way money is spent and data availability, multiple metrics might be used. We might, for instance, compare appropriations to appropriations or spending to spending.

There’s an important point here, in that appropriations and spending are not the same thing.The former is what a Legislature approves to be spent, and the latter is how much taxpayer money is actually spent. A credible comparison of an adopted budget alone — that is, appropriations — against actual spending from the previous cycle is not made, because the state almost always spends more during a two-year budget cycle than the appropriated amount.

Advocates of more spending like to compare different numbers over differing time spans to make their growth rates look artificially smaller. 

What are the metrics that are useful to taxpayers in comparing 24-month periods? There are two big ones we set forth in “The Real Texas Budget.”

The first is session vs. session: measuring the appropriations from one legislative session to the next. TPPF employed this method in May and June 2013 to expose the 83rd Legislature’s heavy bias toward spending. That Legislature’s problems actually started with its predecessor, 2011’s 82nd Legislature, which by delaying education payments and underfunding Medicaid, gave the impression that legislators spent conservatively. In fact, they merely pushed spending into the 2013 session. We sounded the alarm on this back in 2011, writing in the Austin American-Statesman that the 82nd Legislature’s “budget writers had to rely heavily on gimmicks and one-time fixes.” We also noted then that legislators passed up key opportunities to make state budgeting more transparent and understandable to the ordinary Texan.

In 2013’s 83rd Legislature, legislators passed supplemental bills to backfill spending into the previous budget period, and undo the accounting gimmicks of 2011. 

As we published last June and republished this week, the appropriations approved by the 83rd Legislature in 2013, including the backfill money, were significantly higher than the appropriations approved back in 2011; 24 percent higher in state general revenue and almost 26 percent higher in all funds, using the Legislative Budget Board’s (LBB) latest numbers.

That’s a tremendous increase by any standard. 

The second metric taxpayers may find useful is comparing spending on a biennium vs. biennium basis. This is the method legislators generally use to evaluate the growth of state budgets — not least because it often yields smaller numbers that may be less shocking to taxpayers. TPPF’s “Real Texas Budget” report includes this metric. Our report shows all-funds spending will likely increase by 9 percent during the current two-year period — not the 5.1 percent figure published by LBB just before the March primaries.

There’s a reason for the discrepancy, and it brings us to our final principle for honest assessment of state budgets: make sure to measure the same things.

For example, the LBB did not measure spending to spending. Instead, it measured spending to appropriation. In our report, we estimate that there will be at least an additional $1.6 billion in spending this biennium to pay for increased Medicaid costs. Even with this money added in, the LBB’s numbers wouldn’t measure spending to spending because the Legislature made $6.1 billion of “patient income” spending this biennium simply disappear from the budget.

Appropriately accounting for this and other budget gimmicks is essential to accurate examination of state spending.

Here’s the bottom line for Texas taxpayers. In 2013, the Texas Legislature spent almost every penny it could while providing less than half of the ongoing tax relief Governor Rick Perry sought. Taxpayers deserve to know how much of their money is being spent, and that’s what TPPF’s “Real Texas Budget” report provides.

Our report confirms our statements last year about the excessive hike in appropriations from 2011 to 2013. It also debunks the government’s official budget figures that give taxpayers a false impression of the increase in biennial spending.

The “Real Texas Budget” report provides truth in budgeting that Texans deserve. There are those in the corridors of power and the Austin establishment who think you don’t deserve the truth, and attack those who speak it. And that’s exactly why we do.

Arlene Wohlgemuth is the Executive Director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation. She served on the Texas House Appropriations subcommittee overseeing healthcare spending in 2003. Talmadge Heflin is the Director of the Center for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, and served on the Texas House Appropriations Committee for twelve years, including as its chairman in 2003. Together, they have a collective 32 years of experience, covering 11 state budgets, as State Representatives in the Texas Legislature.

Source: Breitbart Feed

Facing pressure and incitement, Palestinian professor resigns over Auschwitz trip

Al-Quds University’s Professor Mohammed Dajani, who earlier this year organized the first group of Palestinian university students to tour the Auschwitz death camp, has resigned from the university, Israel’s daily Haaretz reported Sunday.

According to Dajani, a campaign of “incitement” forced him to resign his post as head of the Department of American Studies at the Jerusalem-based Palestinian university.

Last march, Dajani took 27 Palestinian college students to visit Auschwitz in Poland as part of a project designed to teach empathy and tolerance.

Following the trip, Dajani was denounced as a “traitor” and “collaborator” by Palestinian critics, subjected to fierce criticism from Arab colleagues, and expelled from a university teachers’ union.  Dajani’s own university disowned the trip. 

“Dr. Mohammad Dajani’s union membership at Al-Quds University has been suspended because of his visit to Auschwitz,” Rima Najjar, an assistant professor of English Literature at Al Quds, wrote on her Facebook page.

Najjar quoted Arab academic, Mazin Qumsiyeh, as saying, “[Dajani] adopted the Zionist perspective that Judaism and Zionism are the same thing and in our opinion this is an anti-Semitic attitude to equate Zionism and Judaism and somehow link making peace and Zionism with the issues of Jewish suffering around the world.”

According to Haaretz, Dajani submitted a letter of resignation on May 18 and his resignation took effect on June 1.

“I wanted the president of the university to take a stand by not accepting my resignation and in doing so to send a clear and loud message to the university employees and students, and in general, to the Palestinian community, that the university supports academic freedom and considers my trip as an educational journey in search of knowledge by which I broke no university policy, rules, or regulations,” Dajani told Haaretz.

“My letter of resignation from Al-Quds University was a kind of litmus test to see whether the university administration supports academic freedom and freedom of action and of expression as they claim or not,” he added.

In an April interview, Dajani said: “I was brought up in a culture of denial of the Holocaust. It was a taboo and I never studied about it in school or the university. Whatever I knew about it was vague… it was either exaggerated or it was part of the atrocities within the Second World War.”

The professor said he hopes the March trip to Poland is only the first of many and will perhaps eventually lead to the Palestinian authorities introducing Holocaust education into the school curriculum.  But that hope, slim as it ever was, is looking even more doubtful in the wake of the reaction to the professor’s trip.

Source: Breitbart Feed