Jan 7, 2014
10:43 AM

Connecticut Considers Taking Private Money for Public Education

Connecticut Considers Taking Private Money for Public Education

Commissioner Stefan Pryor, center, in a photo from the Connecticut Department of Education website.

The Connecticut Department of Education is considering offers to support the promotion and implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the state's public schools, but to date has not received any “philanthropic” money, Commissioner Stefan Pryor said.

Pryor said Monday the department has “received inquiries from some foundations and other philanthropies regarding support for Common Core related efforts in Connecticut.”

The department announced in December it will invest $1 million in a public relations contract to promote CCSS. The state allotted $14.6 million over the next two years for transition to the new standards. At the time of the announcement, department spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly said the state is looking for private nonprofits to help with the cost. Since then, Pryor has been approached by several private nonprofits and one of the discussions is substantially far along.

While the department doesn’t have contributions from nonprofits yet, Donnelly said the state does receive “technical assistance” for the Common Core from agencies such as the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the National Association of State Boards of Education and the Council of Chief State School Officers.

Common Core was developed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2009. The standards are intended to make students more internationally competitive and prepared for college and career.

Connecticut adopted the standards for English, language arts and mathematics in July 2010, joining more than 40 states in the transition.

The standards have widespread support but also face criticism for being drafted by policy makers, rather than experienced educators, and being funded by private dollars. Of the 29 people who worked on either theMath or English-language Arts work groups for the standards, 28 are associated with an education company, such as ACT, Inc., Student Achievement Partners or The College Board.

David Coleman, commonly labeled “the architect” of CCSS, previously co-founded Student Achievement Partners and is now the president of the College Board.

Louisiana public school teacher Mercedes Schneider conducted an audit in August and determined the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributed more than $147.9 million to the development and promotion of the standards just between the NGA, CCSSO, Achieve and Student Achievement Partners. The Gates Foundation has a public record of its grants online.

Since August, additional grants have been awarded to support promotion and implementation of CCSS.

See the full story at the New Haven Register online.

Connecticut Considers Taking Private Money for Public Education

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