Common Core Architect Brings in OFA Workers to Target 'Low Hanging Fruit'

At a conference of the Annual Strategic Data Project (SDP) last year, Common Core "architect" and current president of the “non-profit” College Board, David Coleman, praised the collection of student data via the Common Core State Standards initiative. 

Furthermore, he welcomed to that effort members of Barack Obama’s re-election campaign who, Coleman said, would be reaching out, as they did for the campaign, to the “low-hanging fruit,” or low-income and Latino students.

In the video below, recorded last May by the Harvard Center for Education Policy Research CEPR, Coleman gave his audience several important pieces of information.

First, Coleman admitted, as former Obama adviser David Axelrod did as well, that the Common Core standards were not “state-led,” as supporters of the initiative still assert.

“When I was involved in convincing governors and others around this country to adopt these standards,” Coleman stated, “it was not ‘Obama likes them’ – do you think that would have gone well with the Republican crowd?”

Second, Coleman welcomed to the Common Core data collection initiative Barack Obama’s re-election team to develop its economic justice project, the Access to Rigor Campaign, aimed at profiling students he referred to as “low-hanging fruit,” or low-income and Latino K-12 students.

Upon the College Board’s announcement of Veronica Conforme, formerly of the New York City Department of Education, as vice president of the organization’s Access to Rigor campaign, Coleman said last May, “We see the millions of students who take part in our programs as within our care, and we feel a deep sense of responsibility to propel them forward. The Access to Rigor campaign is at the heart of our work to deliver opportunity to many more students.”

Among the 2012 Obama re-election campaign data experts, Coleman welcomed Dan Wagner, Obama’s former chief analytics officer, whom he asserted “led the Obama campaign’s use of data to galvanize a generation of low-income people to vote like they never have before.”

Coleman also announced the addition of Jeremy Bird to the College Board’s Access to Rigor campaign, who is heading “field mobilization” for the initiative. Bird is the founding partner of 270 Strategies who served as National Deputy Director of Organizing for America (OFA) and, more recently, lead the “Turning Texas Blue” campaign which is working to organize the Latino population in that state for Democrats.

As Ann Kane writing at American Thinker observed, With Obama's data gurus on hand, the Access to Rigor Campaign promises to be a broad, national operation which will complement the massive Obama database already in use.”

Similarly, the Directory of Schools Education blog noted other major Obama supporters and data analysts tapped by Coleman:

Names he [Coleman] mentions are a virtual Who’s Who in data collection, both educational and political, and they’re all from the left, and of course, Obama supporters. The project emphatically states the same talking point of all the corporatist education reformers: the teachers alone are the most crucial factor in whether schools succeed or fail. Data project leaders include:

Erin McGoldrick: “director of data management and analysis, partners with schools, researchers and funders to address the data needs of the charter school movement in California.” McGoldrick formerly worked as DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee’s chief data analyst.

Nate Silver: pollster extraordinaire “had correctly predicted the winner of every one of the 50 states and the District of Columbia” in the November 2012 elections…

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt, who was intimately involved in Obama’s reelection campaign, is the sole investor of Civics and news of the company went public May 30, 2013.

Strategic Data Project:  “The Strategic Data Project partners with school districts, charter school networks, and state education agencies to bring high quality research methods and data analysis to bear on strategic management and policy decisions. The project is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

CEPR: Center for Education Policy Research at Harvard University. “The rapid accumulation of student achievement data represents an untapped national resource, one that holds the promise of breaking longstanding stalemates in the education policy debate. The Center for Education Policy Research works with university-based researchers and policymakers to bring these new data to bear in evaluating policies and drawing implications for reform.”

Having made the seamless transition from successfully convincing 45 state boards of education to adopt his unproven Common Core standards to the top post at the College Board–which ultimately will determine who gets to go to college–Coleman now has on board the key members of Obama’s team. He noted with pride that at a recent meeting at the White House, the Obama administration was quite pleased.

“They saw that we’re going to take the lead on this issue, and they saw an opportunity for this country to get something done,” Coleman said.


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