By Margaret Sessa-Hawkins for MarylandReporter.com
A handful of large foundations, including the Gates foundation, Carnegie foundation, Helmsley foundation and Hewlett foundation have collectively spent almost $300 million on the advocacy, development and implementation of the Common Core State Standards, analysis of the foundations’ grant reports reveals.
The breakdown of the grants shows that the Gates foundation has given out over $200 million, the Carnegie foundation $47.8 million, Helmsley $20 million, and Hewlett just over $15 million.
Other foundations, such as the Broad foundation, report giving extensively to organizations associated with the planning, development and implementation of the Common Core, but do not cite specific amounts contributed.
Objections to private funding
This method of funding an already heavily contested education policy has attracted its own share of controversy. Sandra Stotsky, professor emerita at the University of Arkansas and a member of the Common Core State Standards Initiative Validation Committee, neatly summed up one of the main objections to the financial underwriting.
“They’re trying to shape public education,” Stotsky said. “They gave money away to shape something, and it was never ratified by state legislatures, local school boards or parents.”
The grants, which stretch back to 2008, include over $71 million spent on advocacy for the standards, almost $42 million on the development of materials aligned with the Common Core, and $106 million on implementation of the standards, including $27.8 million, which went directly to state or regional boards of education to support their implementation efforts.
The three groups which served as the main architects for the standards, Achieve, the National Governors Association for Best Practices, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, collectively received at least $31.7 million in funding from private foundations to create Common Core.