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Business Roundtable Connections You Need to Know

Susan Notes: My hope is that you will read these connections and be as appalled as I am. . . and then DO something.

by Susan Ohanian

Take a look at the Indiana Business Roundtable Education partners and then find out whom the Business Roundtable partners with in your state. And ask yourself: here are our professional organizations who should be warning us about this? Read on and you will see that our unions are out whoring themselves.

Where is our democracy? Will we allow these corporate politicos totally bury what it means to be a teacher and what it means to be a student?

These are not rhetorical questions. Our democracy is at stake. The robber barons are smothering us.

Publicize this unholy alliance: Write Op Eds, give talks to local service organizations. Picket.

Indiana's Education Roundtable Partners

Achieve, Inc.

Achieve, Inc. is an independent, bipartisan, not-for-profit organization formed in 1996 by governors and corporate CEOs to develop innovative initiatives for helping states implement high-quality education reforms that will improve student performance.

Refutation:That's what they say. Guns for Hire for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Achieve has brought us the Common Core Standards.

Refutation: From a letter by the late (and great) Gerald Bracey to The New York Times and USA Today, June 10, 2004:
Why do you insist on publishing stuff from Achieve, Inc.? It might be non-profit, but it is certainly NOT non-partisan. Achieve is the bastard child of Lou Gerstner and his "education summits," the Business Roundtable, and Republican Governors. . . .

The American Diploma Project

A partnership of four national organizations and five states (including Indiana), The American Diploma Project is working to guarantee that that American high school graduates have the knowledge and skills they will need for success after graduation: in college, the workforce, and the armed services.

Refutation: The ADP started as a partnership between the Education Trust, Achieve, Inc., the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation, and the National Alliance of Business. Essentially recycling the same human capital arguments as A Nation At Risk and Tough Choices or Tough Times, this group has advocated for national standards, national testing, and the withholding of high school diplomas if students do not pass exit exams . . . Both of their arguments essentially rely upon a "carrot-and-stick" vision of educational restructuring (e.g., more standards, more tests, and just work harder), with no detailed attention to what combination of school environment, funding, in-service teacher training, working/learning conditions, and community involvement might be necessary to be "successful."--Wayne Au, Unequal By Design: High-Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality (2009), 77-78

American Federation of Teachers

The American Federation of Teachers is a trade union representing workers in education, health care, and public service. Today, the AFT continues to be known for its democratic ideals and its cutting-edge work on behalf of its members and the public they serve by exerting strong influence on standards and professional practices in its members' workplaces.

Refutation: It seems refutation enough that a labor union would partner with the Business Roundtable on education policy. Of course, they are aligned. Among other things, the AFT supports Common Core Standards. Randi Weingarten is effusive in praise, claiming AFT member teachers played important part in developing them.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

The foundation's goal is for all students--regardless of race or family income--to graduate from high school prepared to succeed in college, career, and life. All students, all schools, everywhere.

Certainly, these folk need no introduction. But here are a couple of stinging rebukes.

Refutation: After Bill Gates spoke to the National Governors Association in February, 2005, I wrote "You Bill Gates! If You're So Rich How Come You Ain't Smart?" To me, Gates' speech was just another illustration that when experts in one field speak out in another, they can say some really stupid things. No one would publish my screed.-- Gerald Bracey, Huffington Post, Sept. 24, 20007

Refutation: Given the dubious research on which his foundation invested nearly $2 billion in small schools, one can only hope that he examines the extensive research that challenges his view on teacher effectiveness. He might also ask himself whether schools focused only on standardized tests of basic skills will produce the high achievement and creative thinking that he values and that are necessary to maintain the nation's innovative edge and its productivity in the future.--Diane Ravitch, Death and life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education, p. 219

The Business Roundtable

The Business Roundtable (BRT) is an association of chief executive officers of leading U.S. corporations that are committed to advocating public policies that foster vigorous economic growth, a dynamic global economy, and a well-trained and productive U.S. workforce essential for future competitiveness. The Business Roundtable's issue analysis is done by BRT Task Forces that develop policy recommendations and lay out plans for action on a specific issue area. The BRT's Education & The Workforce Task Force works to improve education performance and workforce competitiveness in the U.S. with an emphasis on ensuring that American high school graduates are prepared to succeed in the global economy.

Although to understand the Business Roundtable's pernicious effect on education, you really should read Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools? here are a few notable remarks from this website:

Notable Remark: The Business Roundtable and our chief executive officers and their companies have been involved with No Child Left Behind from the beginning. . . We all worked to help shape the NCLB bill and we cheered when it won bipartisan support and was signed into law. The Business Roundtable has been working with others to help implement the bill in seven states where 40 percent of America's school children live. The states we're focusing on are California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan.--December 11, 2002

Notable Remark: Business Roundtable member CEOs congratulate President-elect Obama on the selection of Arne Duncan as the next Secretary of Education. The selection signals that the Obama administration believes that aggressive efforts are needed to raise U.S. student achievement. Mr. Duncan has a strong record of working with the business community to improve schools in Chicago. -- News Release, Dec. 16, 2008

Notable Remark: We strongly support the opportunity provided by the Race to the Top competition to accelerate the education reforms, policies and programs that help equip our nation's students to succeed throughout their lifetimes. Business Roundtable urges states to take this opportunity to carefully craft applications that push education reform efforts toward transformational changes that will enable students to succeed in the global economy.-- Press Release, Nov. 12, 2009

Are you feeling nauseous yet? Here's one more, an affirmation of the Business Roundtable.

It is wonderful to be back here with the men and women of the Business Roundtable. Over the last year, we've worked together on a number of issues -- from economic recovery and tax policy to education and to health care. And more often than not, we've found common ground . . . . To train our workers for the jobs of tomorrow, we've made education reform a top priority in this administration. We are not interested in just putting more money into our schools; we want that money moving toward reform. And last year we launched a national competition to improve our schools based on a simple idea: Instead of funding the status quo, we will only invest in reform -- reform that raises student achievement and inspires students to excel in math and science, and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans. I just met this week with the nation's governors, and education reform is one of those rare issues where both Democrats and Republicans are enthusiastic.
--President Barack Obama, address to Business Roundtable, Feb. 24, 2010

CareFinder Indiana

CareFinder is the Family and Social Services Administration's guide to finding child care in Indiana. Users can learn about child care, including policies, rules and laws as well as how to become a Care Provider in Indiana.

I have no information on CareFinder but I would make the positive observation that many people on their Board of Advisors are connection with educational institutions.

Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP)

The Center for Evaluation & Education Policy (CEEP) promotes and supports rigorous program evaluation and education policy research primarily, but not exclusively, for educational, human services, and nonprofit organizations. CEEP takes a dynamic approach to evaluation and education policy research, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including experimental designs.

I have no information on CEEP, which is assocated with Indiana University. I can make some guesses, but I don't much like guesswork.

Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL)

Created in 2001, the Center of Excellence in Leadership of Learning (CELL) at the University of Indianapolis serves as a leading convener, catalyst and collaborator for dynamic, innovative education change to dramatically impact student achievement throughout Indiana. CELL's efforts are rooted in the principle that all students, regardless of background, should graduate from high school prepared for postsecondary education, training and success in the 21st-century global economy.

I have no information on CELL, which is associated with University of Indianapolis.

Council of Chief State School Officers

The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) is a nationwide, nonprofit organization composed of public officials who lead the departments responsible for elementary and secondary education in the states, the US extra-state jurisdictions, the District of Columbia, and the Department of Defense Education Activity. In representing the chief education officers, CCSSO works on behalf of the state agencies that serve pre K-12 students throughout the nation.

No guesswork needed here.

Refutation: : 2009 Corporate Partners: Cisco, ETS, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, Evaluation Systems Pearson, Worldwide Interactive Network (WIN), College Board, Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), Intel, Measured Progress, Northwest Evaluation Association, Renaissance Learning, Apple, Dell, Evans Newton Inc. (ENI), Metametrics, Public Consulting Group, Scantron, Texas Instruments, Verizon Foundation, Wireless Generation.
CCSSO partnered with the IBM to sponsor the Change Toolkit and provide training and implementation support to state education departments in integrating NCLB into accountability and school improvement efforts. Collaborated with Standard & Poor's School Evaluation Services, Achieve, Inc., and the CELT Corporation to form the National Education Data Partnership, which was funded by a $45 million investment by The Broad Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. And, of course, they received another big bundle of cash to coordinate the Common Core Curriculum Standards. When you see an 11th grader struggling with the 15 narrators in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, thank CCSSO.

Refutation: [S]uch approaches [as the National Education Data Partnership] encourage teaching to be viewed not as an intellectual practice, nor as critical practice, but rather as a technical skill. The overemphasis on testing as the definition of student achievement has practical and social costs. It compromises pedagogical approaches oriented toward creative problem-solving while rendering pedagogical content estranged.--Kenneth J. Saltman, The Gift of Education: Public Education and Venture Philanthropy (2010), p. 97

Education Commission of the States

The Education Commission of the States (ECS) is a national, nonprofit organization that helps governors, legislators, state education officials and others identify, develop and implement policies to improve student learning at all levels.

Education Commission of the States does things like put out feelers for a 4-day school week.

The Education Trust

The Education Trust is an independent nonprofit organization that works for the high academic achievement of all students at all levels, kindergarten through college, and forever closing the achievement gaps that separate low-income students and students of color from other youth. The Education Trust advances its mission along several fronts, from raising its voice in national and state policy debates to helping teachers improve instruction in their classrooms.

This is another case where I advise you to read Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?

On a personal note, I have been in the audience when Kati Haycock is in her teacher-bashing mode. It isn't pretty. Since it was at an Education Writers conference, she probably felt confident she had a receptive audience.

I used to take strong exception to the Education Trust banner headline on their website: College begins in kindergarten. Wrong! Kindergarten begins in kindergarten. They have since removed that banner--but not their policies which refuse to acknowledge that different children have different needs.

The Indiana Center for Family, School and Community Partnerships is a non - profit organization that is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education to act as a Parent Information and Resource Center (PIRC). As a PIRC, they seek to improve education in Indiana by forming strong and lasting family-school-community partnerships, and to empower parents so that they may become more involved in the educational lives of their children.

I know nothing about this group. I would advise them to take the US Department of Education No Child Left Behind banner off their website.

Likewise, I don't have information on other Indiana-specific groups.

Indiana Commission for Higher Education

Working closely with public and independent colleges and universities, the Commission for Higher Education coordinates planning and budgeting for higher education in Indiana.

Indiana Department of Education

The mission of the Indiana Department of Education is to serve the citizens of Indiana by fulfilling its statutory responsibilities, implementing the policies of the State Board of Education, and supporting the priorities of Indiana's Superintendent of Public Instruction. This site provides educational news and information from the Hoosier state.

Indiana Gold Star School Counseling

The Indiana Gold Star School Counseling Initiative provides schools and communities with the tools and professional development needed to transform their school counseling program to an accountable system of guidance and counseling implemented by counselors, teachers, and community members. The Gold Star School Counseling Initiative enables students to 1) master defined guidance standards, 2) make choices that support high achievement, and 3) reach standards of high achievement. All initiatives are voluntary with the exception of the counselor licensing standards.

NOTE: Following 4 broken links failed to locate this site.

Indiana Principal Leadership Academy
The Indiana Principal Leadership Academy is committed to strengthening the leadership of principals. Focusing on people, the Academy provides innovative and uncompromising quality services for educational leaders to improve school communities.

Another broken link.

Jobs for the Future

Through partnerships with states and communities, national and local foundations, and other organizations, JFF accelerates opportunities for people to advance in education and careers through: research, analysis and policy development; practical, on-the-ground projects; and advocacy, communications and peer learning.

Look at their partners. And funders.

The CEO Marlene Seltzer bills herself as a key player in Clinton's Welfare-to-Work scheme.

Lumina Foundation for Education

Through grants for research, innovation, communication, and evaluation, as well as policy education and leadership development, Lumina Foundation addresses issues that affect access and educational attainment among all students, particularly underserved student groups, including adult learners. The Foundation bases its mission on the belief that postsecondary education remains one of the most beneficial investments that individuals can make in themselves and that society can make in its people.

Lumina bills itself as "the nation's largest private foundation committed solely to enrolling and graduating more students from college" and they make exaggerated claims about benefits of higher education.

The National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)
NCHEMS provides state policymakers and analysts timely and accurate data and information that are useful in making sound higher education policy decisions. The Information Center is a comprehensive "one-stop-shop" for state-level higher education data and information, and a leader in coordinating the collection of missing data and information that are crucial for higher education policy analysis.

The National Council on Teacher Quality

The National Council on Teacher Quality advocates for reforms in a broad range of teacher policies at the federal, state, and local levels in order to increase the number of effective teachers.

Funders include the usual suspects. Ditto Board of Directors.

And don't miss the Advisory Board.

NCTQ will give you a chance to win an Amazon certificate for $25 if you will bash a college of education program. It was a pop-up screen so I didn't get a url.

National Governors' Association

The National Governors Association is the only bipartisan national organization of, by, and for the nations' Governors. Through NGA, the Governors identify priority issues and deal collectively with issues of public policy and governance at both the national and state levels. The association's mission is to provide a forum for Governors to exchange views and experiences among themselves; assistance in solving state focused problems; information on state innovations and practices; and a bipartisan forum for Governors to establish, influence, and implement policy on national issues.

Here is a list of their Corporate Fellows, aka corporations they could squeeze money out of in return for favors.

Here is a press release from the anticipated 2005 speech by Bill Gates. The reader is advised to visit the Achieve website for more information.

The National Governors Association, partnering with Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), received buckets of Gates money to coordinate the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

SHEEO (State Higher Education Executive Officers)

SHEEO organizes regular professional development meetings for its members and their senior staff; maintains regular systems of communication among the professional staffs of member agencies; serves as a liaison between the states and the federal government; studies higher education policy issues and state activities and publishing reports to inform the field; and implements projects to enhance the capacity of the states and SHEEO agencies to improve higher education.

Here The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), and the State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) announced today that they have formed a partnership to promote broad implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Mathematics and English language arts. The groups recognize collaboration is essential to effective implementation of the CCSS.

When I put SHEEO and "Gates Foundation" into a Google Search, Google asked me if I meant "SHEEP" and "Gates Foundation." That said, there are numerous indications of Gates funding for this group.

State Scholars Initative and Indiana Core 40 Scholars

The State Scholars Initiative creates public/private partnerships to motivate high school students to take courses that prepare them for college and careers. Based on research that shows a direct relationship between challenging high school courses and college completion rates, State Scholars promotes a core course of study that emphasizes math, science, language arts, and social studies. The Center for State Scholars is a 501(c)(3) established in 2002 to increase the percentage of high school students completing a rigorous course of study. In partnership with the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education, the Center is introducing the Initiative in 12 pilot states during the 2003-2004 school year.

I am not posting the hot link provided for the Indiana Core 40 Scholars because if you go there you will get a site in Japanese.

Thomas B. Fordham Foundation

The Thomas B. Fordham Foundation supports research, publications, and action projects of national significance in elementary/secondary education reform, as well as significant education reform projects in Dayton, Ohio and vicinity. It has assumed the work of the Educational Excellence Network and is affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.

The Fordham Institute website bills itself as "Standards Central." Chester Finn, President of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute who, with the support of conservative think tanks, has flooded the market with neoconservative opinions about education. Former president of National Assessment (NAEP) Governor Board; assistant Secretary of Education during Reagan administration; founding partner and senior scholar the Edison Project; John M. Olin fellow Hudson Institute; chairman of Hoover's Koret Task Force on K-12 Education; senior editor of Education Next research associate Brookings Institution.

Notable Remark: In Better Leaders for America's Schools: A Manifesto (May 2003), the Broad Foundation and the Thomas B. Fordham Institute jointly proclaimed: "It is no more essential for every education leader to be a teacher than for the CEO of Bristol-Meyers Squibb to be a chemist. In any organization, the similarities between technical and leadership roles and skills are incidental and the differences fundamental." They singled out the following as exemplary in this recommended model. I make no attempt to describe the school tenures of these familiar figures. They need no introduction and their controversial careers have made plenty of headlines on this site should you be inclined to search. There is plenty of evidence that putting this crew up as what our schools need for leadership has resulted in an incredible assault on children.

  • Joel Klein, Office of White House Council during the Clinton administration; superintendent of New York City Schools 1998--2010, when he left to join Rupert Murdoch's News Corp.

  • Roy Romer, chair of the Education Commission of the States; chair of the national Democratic Party; Colorado governor; superintendent of Los Angeles from 2000 to 2006.

  • John Fryer, major general U. S. Air Force; commandant of the National War College; interim president of the National Defense University; superintendent of Duval County, Jacksonville 1998-2005

  • Paul Vallas, policy adviser, Illinois state senate; Chicago city budget director; unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Illinois governor in 2002 and since then has toyed with other runs for political office; superintendent of Chicago and Philadelphia. Then moved to the Recovery District in New Orleans.

  • Alan Bersin, federal prosecutor; appointed in 1998 as Superintendent of Public Education in San Diego City Schools. In 2005, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him as California's Education Secretary. In March 2010, President Obama appointed Bersin Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

  • Paula Dawning, sales vice president of AT&T; superintendent of Benton Harbor, Michigan.
    Dawning resigned after 4 years, saying she "didn't know how difficult it would be" and did not seek another superintendency.

  • — Susan Ohanian
    Indiana Business Roundtable Education


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