Gates Gives Common Core Owner, CCSSO, $15.4 Million Just to Keep 'Em in Business

Bill Gates

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is one of two owners of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In fact, former CCSSO CEO Gene Wilhoit approached Gates in the summer of 2008 to ask Gates to fund CCSS.

Despite the reality that CCSS has not taken American education by the standardizing storm that its schemers had hoped, Gates continues to fund CCSS as a pet project.

Furthermore, in January 2016, Gates has decided to do something he had not yet done:

Pay CCSSO handsomely for "general operating support":

Council of Chief State School Officers

Date: January 2016
Purpose: to provide for general operating support
Amount: $15,408,198
Term: 30
Topic: College-Ready
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Grantee Website:

Gates' paying the rent to the tune of $15.4 million (likely over 30 months) for CCSSO equals a decidedly obvious purchase of that organization- and the state superintendents who belong to it.

And the nebulous designation of "general operating support" helps to conceal any detailed expectation behind that money. (I dare Gates and CCSSO to tell the public that giving CCSSO $15.4 million has no strings. Double dare.)

In its press releases, CCSSO fails to mention that it is taking $15.4 million from Bill Gates. However, on its "Our Promise" page, CCSSO does state that it "promises" "to lead chiefs and their organizations" in CCSSO goals "though decisive leadership."

Interestingly, one of those CCSSO "decisive leaders" is board member, New Mexico Secretary of Education Hanna Skandera, who cunningly and quietly replaced Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester as PARCC chair. In that case, there was no press release either. (PARCC- Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers- is a floundering CCSS testing consortium. Down to a handful of states, PARCC is trying to survive by, uh, "expanding" into vending test items.)

Not only does PARCC have a new chair (as PARCC chair, Chester failed to hand Massachusetts completely over to PARCC and instead peddled a compromised MCAS-PARCC hybrid); the Gates Foundation also will have a new director of K12 grantmaking. The same month that Gates announced his plans to keep pushing his teacher-measuring and CCSS agendas- October 2015- Gates Foundation Director Vicky Phillips announced that she would be resigning in December 2015.

Phillips did not resign with a new job lined up, nor did the Gates Foundation have a director chosen to replace Phillips in December 2015. But what the Gates Foundation did have was Bill publicly stating on October 07, 2015, to the USP Educational learning Forum in Seattle that he would remain faithful to (fixated upon?) CCSS:

There's one other pivotal step in the movement for strong feedback and improvement systems, and that is the adoption of high, consistent academic standards throughout the country. Today 42 states and the District of Columbia are using the Common Core State Standards.

Unfortunately, when it comes to the Common Core, the attacks have drowned out the facts--and the fact is, the standards are starting to work for students and teachers.

If we want to achieve excellence, we have to define excellence. And you can't define it based on politics or individual preferences. You have to define excellence by anchoring it in something real--like getting a good job, or getting a higher ed degree that means something in the workplace. That's what these standards do: They ensure that students are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to get a good job or succeed in college.

If students leave high school without that, their next stop is probably a dead-end job or a course in remedial math. And that's just inexcusable. Every kid in America deserves high standards.

Most everyone would agree. I believe much of the difficulty with the Common Core standards came because the advocates--and I include our foundation in this category--didn't do enough to explain them early and clearly. Once states adopted the standards, parents needed to hear from principals and teachers and superintendents about the reason for the changes, how they would help their kids, and how things would be bumpy for a number of years as teachers adjusted to the new standards. But I also understand why this step was missed. Principals and teachers and their supporters were busy working urgently to figure out how to make the standards real in classrooms.

Bill Gates wants to explain CCSS clearly.

Paying $15.4 million to one of the CCSS license holders certainly makes one issue clear:

What Bill Gates wants, he buys.


Originally posted 02-03-16 at

Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of the ed reform whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who's Who In the Implosion of American Public Education.


She also has a second book, Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?.