As the news came out today that the Oklahoma non-profit Stand for Children (SFC) was presenting Oklahoma state Senators at the Capitol a book of 7000 signatures asking to keep Common Core in Oklahoma, I thought it might be wise to turn my research on this organization.
UPDATE (3/14/14): We received a tip that Stand for Children Colorado ALSO presented their legislature with 7000 signatures on a petition to KEEP Common Core ALSO generated by an online petition.
Sonja Semion, who heads Stand for Children Colorado, brought along a unique visual aid to show that group’s support for the standards – a printout containing more than 7,000 signatures from citizens who signed a Stand online petition supporting the standards.We hope that's a headscratcher for more than just us. After all, those fighting Common Core in Oklahoma are INDIVIDUAL parents, taxpayers and teachers so angry about the various problems with Common Core (and other education 'reforms' taking place here in Oklahoma as a direct result of Oklahoma's need to have the federal government dictate our local education methods) that they have banded together in little community coalitions and on email lists to try and stop the usurpation of education from the parent and community level. There is no umbrella group collecting funds to drive messaging on the issue - no corporate donors - in fact, there is no funding at all - just private individual citizens petitioning their government for redress.
As I went searching tonight, I found several facts:
- The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has donated millions to SFC to push "college and career ready standards" = Common Core (OAS in Oklahoma)
- In Chicago, Illinois, SFC has received multi-millions of dollars from the very wealthy backers that installed Rham Emanuel as Mayor.
- SFC has been a major player in various political campaigns in Chicago geared toward, as Co-Founder and CEO Jonah Edelman (son of Co-Founder Marian Wright Edelman) said during a speech to the Aspen Institute, "...executing a political objective" that many see as a privatization of public schools agenda. Rham has shuttered 50 public schools in Chicago.
- SFC has also worked elections in Colorado and Texas.
- SFC is headquartered in Portland, Oregon. A volunteer recently penned a column for Valerie Strauss at the Washington Post. Here she explains that the once-grassroots organization
- now has private equity investors and venture philanthropists on the board, making decisions for the organization as it grows new chapters. And, grow they will, as they have announced the need to hire a National Expansion Manager, having raised over a million dollars in funding from the Walton Foundation, and over three million dollars from the Gates Foundation.
- Rethinking Schools had an interesting article on the history of SFC that included this truism
- Chicago has become a testing ground for corporate education policy....Arne Duncan (2001–08), who privatized Chicago public schools at a rate of about 10 per year before becoming Barack Obama’s education secretary.
- In fact, while Chicago Public Schools CEO, Duncan worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on a project they were heading up in Chicago Public Schools called, Turnaround. Turning around failing schools is one of the Four Pillars of Education Reform that has been pushed through to states in five different federal initiatives, State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF), Race To the Top, Race to The Top Early Learning Challenge and the No Child Left Behind Waivers 1 and 2.
In closing, Stand For Children is NOT a grassroots organization representing the interests of parents, taxpayers and teachers. SFC is a shill for organizations, such as Bill and Melinda Gates, who believe that parents are too stupid to know what's best for their children, and as such, desire private organizations and the state to do the job for them.