Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon Mobil, sent a letter to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in May with a veiled threat to move operations out of the state if Corbett does not implement the controversial Common Core standards in Pennsylvania schools.
However, I was disappointed to learn of the misinformation opponents of this critical effort are advancing, which subsequently led your administration to delay its implementation. I urge you to make the necessary clarifications quickly and move forward with the Pennsylvania Common Core.
Exxon Mobil has significant operations in Pennsylvania, and we are committed to enhancing the quality of life for all your citizens. Last year, we contributed $3.3 million to Pennsylvania universities, hospitals, environmental research efforts and arts and civic organizations, but I believe there is nothing more important than improving the quality of education. The Pennsylvania Common Core will go a long way to achieving that goal, and it gives Exxon Mobil the confidence that the educational standards we require for employment will be met by your state’s graduates.
Exxon Mobil runs a website called Let’s Solve This to promote their dedication to improving education in America, and under the Resources tab, a link to Common Core Standards appears first. There is also a link to the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO), which is a nonprofit organization of public officials who head education departments in the states who also promote Common Core. Many officials with this group plan and arrange these tests behind closed doors with no input from the taxpayers. The nonprofit organization, the National Governor’s Association (NGA), is also involved with Common Core and is linked by Exxon’s education website.
More research shows Exxon Mobil is very friendly with President Obama’s administration, which developed Common Core. In 2008, Exxon donated $117,946 to Obama’s campaign as opposed to the $73,326 it donated to Senator John McCain’s campaign. They also donated $250,000 for President Obama’s second term inaugural ceremony. Their attorney, Judith Batty, donated $10,750 to this inaugural ceremony as well.
Corbett is not the first state governor Tillerson confronted about Common Core. He applied the same pressure to Florida in October during the National Summit on Education Reform. This summit was organized by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and promoted Common Core.
“If I’m looking for talent, why wouldn’t I go to states that are using the Common Core State Standards, where I know what the performance of the education system is?” Tillerson said during a discussion there. “Not only do I know its performance relative to other states, but I also know its performance relative to international work forces.”
Spokesman Richard Keil reiterated Exxon’s commitment to Common Core:
“Our confidence in and support of the program would provide an extra measure of comfort in evaluating candidates knowing that candidate has gone through the Common Core experience in high school,” spokesman Richard Keil said.
“It sets very important milestones and standards for educational achievement while at the same time providing those most invested in the outcome – local teachers and administrators – with the flexibility they need to best achieve those results.”