Gates Trains MI PTA in Common Core Advocacy

The National PTA announced that Michigan along with Kansas and Indiana were selected to participate in training in Common Core advocacy courtesy of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wave 4 Common Core Grantees Announced

National PTA would like to congratulate the Indiana, Kansas, and Michigan State PTAs who were recently selected to participate in the fourth wave of the Common Core State Standards. Delegates attended an intensive training weekend with a broad range of national education experts at the PTA headquarters in Alexandria, Va. to kick off their campaigns.

These Common Core advocates will join the ranks of more 50,000 PTA members who have been trained on Common Core State Standards and the advocacy skills needed to provide parents with a strong voice in the education reform debate. Through this effort, PTA volunteers will continue to engage entire communities, made up of teachers, parents, educators and decision-makers on Common Core Standards which provide clear learning benchmarks for mathematics and languages arts for all K-12 students in more than 45 states.– PTA Takes Action, August 2013Gates donated $1 million to the National PTA.

According to Susan Ohanian, the money for the training is coming from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.   I contacted the Michigan PTA to confirm this release.  They confirmed that Michigan was selected for the advocacy training but did not confirm the source of funding or the amount.     But this is not inconsistent with Gates donations to the PTA in the past.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $1 Million to National PTA to “engage parents in four states.”  in 2009.

CHICAGO — – National PTA is positioning itself as a key player at the front line of education reform.  The association today announced a new three-year effort to mobilize parents to advance key education priorities, beginning with common core state standards—a voluntary, state-led, internationally benchmarked set of high academic standards in English language arts and mathematics. A $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help support the effort.

To read the full press release, visit the PTA web site.

The link to the full press release is dead.  When I searched the site, I could not find it.   It appears to have been permanently removed.

The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is a chief underwriter of the Common Core standards.  They have made sizable donations to the National Governors Association, the Fordham Foundation, and several other groups for their support and advocacy.   So it is no surprise that they would seek to provide funding to help parents advocate for the Common Core.    Parents who advocate for the Common Core at any hearings or in public forums should be questioned about whether they went through the Gates-led training sessions.

By contrast, those of us who advocate against the Common Core at Stop Common Core In Michigan do NOT receive any funding from any foundation to advocate against it.

With the Common Core standards now under the control of the NGA and the CCSSO, it appears that the “high standards” are easily  influenced by the Gates or the highest bidder.

(Hat tip:  Susan Ohanian)

I received the following two emails from the MI PTA,

Michigan PTA did not receive a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Michigan PTA received a grant from National PTA to support ongoing work supporting the Common Core State Standards.

This is the link for National PTA’s press release about the grant.

“National PTA receives funding from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. National PTA has been working with state and district PTAs to strengthen advocacy efforts surrounding education issues important to our membership including the adoption and implementation of the Common Core State Standards since 2009; Michigan PTA was not included in the wave from the press release you referenced below. Michigan PTA was awarded funds from National PTA as part of Wave III (2011-2012) and Wave IV (2013-2014). Our press release and website information is forthcoming; our work for this year is just beginning. Michigan PTA and National PTA fully support voluntary, clear, high academic standards for all students.”

Shaton Berry
Common Core State Standards Team Lead
Michigan PTA