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Common Core Developer Achieve Inc. Recruits NH Gov. Maggie Hassan to Board of Directors

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation-funded nonprofit Achieve Inc. — one of the developers of the Common Core standards— has announced that New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) has joined its board of directors.

“By joining the board, Governor Hassan will help to guide Achieve’s work to lead and support state efforts to improve systems of standards, assessment, accountability, and graduation requirements so that all students are prepared for postsecondary education, work, and citizenship,” a press release states.

Achieve’s website points to the nonprofit’s mission of serving as the chief “networker” and organizer for the Common Core initiative:

[T]hrough our networks Achieve convenes not just a cross-section of leaders across states, but also a cross-section of leaders within states, including state K-12 and higher education leadership; policymakers from governors’ offices, legislatures and state boards of education; district leaders; and third-party advocates from business- and community-based organizations. Our expertise in convening state leaders is best evidenced through our work managing the American Diploma Project Network [1], the PARCC consortium [2], and the Next Generation Science Standards [3] development effort.

The PARCC consortium is one of the two federally funded interstate groups developing assessments aligned with the Common Core standards. The Boston Globe admitted in July that the consortium is essentially in a “death spiral,” having dropped from 26 member-states down to likely fewer than 10.

Achieve President Michael Cohen said:

We are delighted to welcome Governor Hassan to the Achieve board. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to ensuring that students in New Hampshire gain the knowledge and develop the skills they will need to compete in a global economy. Her experience as a governor and state legislator will be a tremendous asset in Achieve’s work with states to ensure college and career readiness for all students.

Achieve observes that, prior to being elected governor, then-state Sen. Hassan helped to institute universal kindergarten in New Hampshire and reduce the state’s dropout rate by increasing the legal dropout age to 18 and establishing alternative education programs.

“Under Governor Hassan’s leadership, New Hampshire remains committed to raising the bar for its students by ensuring schools have robust college and career readiness standards like the Common Core,” the press release states.

As Breitbart News reported in May, Hassan vetoed a bill that received significant support from her state’s parents that would have prohibited New Hampshire’s Department of Education and State Board of Education from implementing the controversial Common Core standards in any school or school district in the state.

Claiming that the bill would undermine New Hampshire’s ability to maintain a workforce that would allow the state to be economically competitive, Hassan said in a press release, “As this bill has no practical impact, its purpose appears to be that of sending a message, and it is the wrong message. New Hampshire must be clear that it is committed to developing a 21st Century workforce and citizenry, that it welcomes innovation, and that it is modernizing its education system to reflect those values.”

Additionally, in June Hassan vetoed a bill that would have required parents to be notified two weeks prior to subject matter being taught in schools dealing with human sexuality or sex education.

Though the measure had passed both the state House and Senate – mostly along party lines – Hassan said in her veto message, “By imposing inflexible notice requirements on certain curricula, House Bill 332 would be an impediment to an adaptable learning environment, which is critical to helping our students develop the skills and critical thinking necessary for success in the 21st century economy.”

Hassan described the parental notification period that would have been required as “over-burdensome” and one that “could lead to schools avoiding material of merit and historical importance because it could potentially elicit objections and even litigation.”

“Additionally and just as troublesome, this bill aims to put in place additional barriers for New Hampshire students who decide to access education about sexual health,” she continued. “House Bill 332 would create an even greater stigma concerning sex education and lead to fewer students having access to important health information, which can have far-reaching, negative impacts on the health of our young people and communities.”

Ann Marie Banfield, education liaison at New Hampshire’s Cornerstone Policy Research, tells Breitbart News, “New Hampshire is fully invested in facilitating the federal education reforms so it is not surprising that Achieve Inc, funded by the Gates Foundation, would want to fill that position with Gov. Hassan.”

“Unfortunately we have seen no independent analysis that shows any kind of improvement in academic achievement since all of the federal reforms were put in place,” Banfield adds. “Instead we hear about schools like Pittsfield where they’ve implemented the federal reforms but graduates and school board members admit the school is broken.”

Achieve has been a recipient of funds from the Gates Foundation for years. Examples include a grant of $7.7 million in May of 2004 “to assist and encourage specific states to adopt high school graduation requirements that align with college entry requirements.” In February of 2008, the education group also received over $12.6 million in support of its American Diploma Project.

In 2012, Achieve received a grant in the amount of $9,297,699 from the Gates Foundation “to strengthen and expand the ADP Network, provide more support to states for CCSS [Common Core State Standards] implementation, and build strategic national and statewide alliances by engaging directly with key stakeholders.” That same year, the nonprofit received another $3.5 million “for general operating support” from the Gates Foundation.

Hassan joins Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) on the Achieve board of directors.

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