Skip to main content

Connecticut entertains private funding offers to support the Common Core

THURSDAY, JANUARY 09, 2014 16:03 PM

Connecticut's Department of Education might accept offers to support the integration of Common Core State Standards (CCSS), but has yet to receive any private funds. According to the state's education commissioner, Stefan Pryor, foundations and other companies have contacted the department inquiring about future funding policies. If the state does agree to accept philanthropic money, it will join the ranks of those that use private funds to support the Common Core.

Connecticut's plan to promote CCSS
In December 2013, the Connecticut's DOE announced it will invest more than $1 million in the promotion of the CCSS. The state already appropriated more than $14 million for the next two years to help schools with the transition. With the help of foundations and other philanthropies, schools in Connecticut would have enough resources to fully integrate the Standards, fund CCSS teacher training and acquire new standardized assessments.

Private nonprofit organizations would join other Connecticut-based agencies in supporting the Common Core. According to Connecticut DOE spokeswoman Kelly Donnelly, the state receives additional assistance from organizations such as the Connecticut Association of Boards of Education, the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and the National Association of State Boards of Education.

When the developers of the CCSS came together in 2009, they aimed to create a set of challenging standards that would produce future generations of skilled and capable workers. They hoped that a higher quality education that focused on critical thinking skills, complex reading comprehension and mathematics activities would help students develop a deeper, more thorough understanding of course material. Students taught under the Standards are expected to excel in college and/or the workforce after graduating from high school.  

Private funding of the CCSS in other states
While Connecticut begins entertaining the idea of private funding, some states already use philanthropic money to implement the Standards. According to an independent audit conducted by Louisiana public school teacher Mercedes Schneider, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation ranks as one of the most supportive organizations of the CCSS. The foundation distributed almost $150 million between Student Achievement Partners, the National Governor's Association, CCSSO and Achieve, Inc. The Gates family also extended their wealth to other organizations. According to South Side High School Principal Carol Burris in New York, the Gates sent millions of dollars to groups that focus on the training and advocacy of educators, like the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and others that have formed to promote the Standards. In June 2012, the Gates Foundation gave more than $4.5 million to the AFT.  In October 2013, the Gates Foundation raised almost a million dollars for Achievement First Inc.'s branch in New Haven, Conn.