Pushing Back Against PARCC/Achieve Inc. Lobbyists


                                   

                             

                             


                                           By Michelle Malkin




Attention, class: A Common Core mouthpiece wants to rap my knuckles with his Gates Foundation-funded ruler. In response to my column two weeks ago about the marketing overlords pushing the Fed Ed racket, Chad Colby of Achieve Inc. demanded corrections. Let's go to school.

"I wanted to take a moment to highlight two points that were incorrect regarding Achieve," Colby complained. "Contrary to Ms. Malkin's assertion, Achieve employs no lobbyists and we never have."

No? Never?Someone didn't do his homework. Mr. Colby, meet Patricia Sullivan. She's the founding executive director of Achieve and a career lobbyist who has bounced around D.C. for the past quarter-century in influence-peddling positions for the Gates Foundation-funded National Governors Association, Council for Chief State School Officers and Center on Education Policy. She has "advocated" for trade groups, a teachers union and her own "consulting firm." That's Washington-speak for "lobbying."

And let me introduce Mr. Colby to Ronn Robinson, a founding senior vice president of Achieve and veteran Democratic and corporate education lobbyist for former Washington Gov. Booth Gardner and Boeing. According to The Hill newspaper's column titled, ahem, "Lobbying World," Not-a-Lobbyist Robinson left Achieve several years ago to lobby for the D.C.-based National Center on Education and the Economy (NCEE).

NCEE is the multimillion-dollar Gates Foundation-funded advocacy (read: "lobbying") group founded by Marc Tucker, the godfather of Common Core-style schemes and top-down control masquerading as "reform." He has dominated the D.C. education-lobbying scene since before Bill Clinton was in office. Like Achieve, Tucker's NCEE is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that crusades for ever-increasing federal involvement in every aspect of education while denying its brazen lobbying activities.

In the early 1990s, NCEE (established with $5 million in New York taxpayer-funded seed grants) paid Hillary Clinton more than $100,000 to direct the group's "Workforce Skills Program" while she worked at the Rose Law Firm in Arkansas. After the Clintons moved into the White House, Tucker sent a now-infamous letter to Mrs. Clinton outlining a radical progressive plan "to remold the entire American system" through a centralized national-standards Trojan Horse.

Tucker's proposal represented "a new approach to government" by elitist bureaucrats to "create a seamless web" that "literally extends from cradle to grave." The Clinton White House soon after delivered federal Goals 2000 and School-to-Work laws. Tucker has explicitly advocated that the United States "largely abandon the beloved emblem of American education: local control." Today, his acolytes hail the creation of a "P20W" system to groom students from "prenatal" ("P") through graduate school ("20") and into the workplace (W").

Tucker's close ally, Mike Cohen, was one of the cadre of education radicals called on to shape his plan and was name-checked in his letter to Hillary. Cohen served as a top education adviser to Bill Clinton and his Education Secretary Richard Riley, and as a Don't-Call-Me-A-Lobbyist lobbyist for the NGA before becoming president of Achieve Inc. in 2003.

And that brings us back to Mr. Chad Colby and Achieve Inc.'s second complaint. As I reported in my column, the incestuous relationships among these lobbying groups and their Common Core boondoggle partners are deep and wide. I noted that in addition to staffing the Common Core standards writing committee and leading the public relations campaign, Achieve Inc. "is the 'project management partner' of the Common Core-aligned, tax-subsidized PARCC testing conglomerate."

Colby protested that "Achieve is no longer affiliated with the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC)" and that its "contract ended with them in December of last year." Clean break? Hah. Achieve and PARCC are inextricably intertwined. Don't take my word for it. Take PARCC's. Though the contract with Achieve "ended" last year, a PARCC letter to Arizona education officials explains that no one's really going anywhere:

"The Achieve staff members that have conducted the work of PARCC over the last several years are transitioning to PARCC, Inc. so that they can continue to maintain the leadership and programmatic expertise that will see the project through the end of the development period, as well as the sustainment of the assessment moving beyond the grant. Many of them have been involved in work surrounding student assessment and academic standards for 15 or more years..."

Moreover, PARCC makes crystal clear that "the Achieve staff members that will make up PARCC, Inc. ... have been intimately involved in the development of each of PARCC's procurements, subsequent contracts and contract management."

Despite spending tens of millions of dollars on advocacy along with millions more in federal and state taxpayer grants and subsidies, the Beltway educrats' propaganda machine is crumbling. Tens of thousands of parents and students are now boycotting the racket's PARCC/Achieve field tests. States are withdrawing from standards, technology and data-collection plans in droves. Looks like it's time to ask the Gates Foundation to pour more money down the Common Core/Fed Ed Not Lobbying vortex, Mr. Colby. Class dismissed

Michelle Malkin is the author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks and Cronies" (Regnery 2010). Her e-mail address is malkinblog@gmail.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM





A Halo for Selfishness




                             



                                        By Thomas Sowell





 The recent Supreme Court decision over-ruling some Federal Election Commission restrictions on political campaign contributions has provoked angry reactions on the left. That is what often happens whenever the High Court rules that the First Amendment means what it says -- free speech for everybody.

When the Supreme Court declared in 2010 that both unions and corporations had a right to buy political ads, that was considered outrageous by the left. President Obama called the decision "devastating" and said it "will open the floodgates for special interests."

Those unfamiliar with political rhetoric may not know that "special interests" mean people who support your opponents. One's own organized supporters -- such as labor unions supporting President Obama -- are never called "special interests."

All politicians are against "special interests," by definition. They all want their own supporters to have the right to free speech, but not those individuals and groups so benighted as to support their opponents.

Even in an age of polarization and gridlock, the one area in which it is easy to get bipartisan support in Congress is in passing campaign finance laws, restricting how much money can be spent publicizing political candidates. What Congressional Democrats and Republicans have in common is that they are all incumbents, and they all want to keep their jobs.

Publicity is necessary to win elections, and incumbents get millions of dollars' worth of free publicity from the media. Incumbents can all pontificate in Congress and be covered by C-SPAN. They can get interviewed on network television, have their pictures in the newspapers, and send out mail to their constituents back home -- and none of this costs them a dime. Congressional staffs, paid by the taxpayers, are supposed to help members of Congress with the burdens of their office, but a major part of their staff's work is to help get them re-elected. That's not just during campaign years. Everything members of Congress do is done with an eye toward re-election.

Any outsider who wants to challenge an incumbent at the next Congressional election has to pay hard cash to buy ads and arrange other forms of publicity, in order just to get some comparable amount of name-recognition, so as to have any serious chance of winning an election against an incumbent.

Few people have the kind of money it takes for such a campaign, so they have to raise money -- in the millions of dollars -- to pay for what incumbents get free of charge. Campaign finance laws that restrict who can contribute how much money, who can run political ads, etc., are all restrictions on political challengers who have to buy their own publicity. If truth-in-packaging laws applied to Congress, a campaign finance law would have to be labeled an "Incumbents Protection Act."

The very high rate of incumbent re-elections, even while polls show the public disgusted with Congress in general, shows how well incumbents are protected.

The media are accessories to this scam. So long as the information and opinions that reach the public are selected by mainstream media people, whom polls show to be overwhelmingly on the left, the left's view of the world prevails.

Hence the great alarm in the media, and in equally one-sided academia, over the emergence of conservative talk radio programs and the Fox News Channel on television.

No longer can the three big broadcast television networks determine what the public will and will not see, nor two or three leading newspapers determine what is and is not news. Nobody wants to give up that kind of power.

When businesses that are demonized in the mainstream media, and in academia, can buy ads to present their side of the story, that is regarded in both the media and academia as distortion. At the very least, it can cost the left their self-awarded halo.

It is fascinating to see how some people -- in both politics and the media -- can depict their own narrow self-interest as a holy crusade for the greater good of society. The ability of the human mind to rationalize is one of the wonders of the world. Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2014 CREATORS.COM


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UN, Obama, and Gates Are Globalizing Education Via Common Core


Written by Alex Newman


For over a year now, Americans have been up in arms over the Obama administration’s unconstitutional efforts to bribe and bludgeon state governments into surrendering control over K-12 education through the controversial so-called “Common Core” national standards — and the outrage is still growing. A peek beneath the ..... more