The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, an organization that has used up over $200 million in an effort to foist the Common Core Standards Initiative on America, has now asked schools to shelve any plans for using Common Core-associated standardized tests to assess teachers or students for the next two years.
The request came in the form of a “Dear partners” letter from Vicki Phillips, the director of education at a Gates Foundation branch called College Ready.
“It’s been inspiring this past year to hear from teachers and educators in many states and school districts who are excited about the standards,” Phillips writes a lengthy introduction. (RELATED: Here’s Another Impossibly Stupid Common Core Math Worksheet)
Students are “taught to analyze and apply information, not just gather it and remember it,” she also writes. “They’re encouraged to ask questions, solve problems, and think for themselves.” (RELATED: Mandatory Common Core Tests In New York Just Happen To Be Full Of Corporate Brand Names)
Eventually, Phillips arrives at the point of her missive, which is to urge state-level education bureaucrats and local school districts to impose a moratorium on any kind of evaluations based on Common Core-aligned standardized tests.
“[T]he Gates Foundation agrees with those who’ve decided that assessment results should not be taken into account in high-stakes decisions on teacher evaluation or student promotion for the next two years,” Phillips explains. (This part is italicized.)
“The standards need time to work. Teachers need time to develop lessons, receive more training, get used to the new tests, and offer their feedback,” she argues.
In a nutshell, then, the Gates Foundation wants American students in taxpayer-funded public schools to use class time to take a series of long, arduous Common Core-aligned tests for two years but also wants the tests to evaluate exactly nothing in the way of student progress or teacher quality.
“It’s valuable for students to actually take the Common Core-aligned tests without consequences during this period, so that teachers can get familiar with the tests, have a chance to offer their feedback, and get a feel for the students’ successes and challenges,” the Gates Foundation employee writes.
“Under this approach, teachers get the time, tools and support they need to teach the new standards, and students have a chance to get used to the new tests,” Phillips adds. “This can ensure that students receive the high-quality instruction that will get them ready for life.”
The call for a delay is an about-face from previous attempts by Common Core advocates to roll out the national standards very rapidly.
The Daily Caller was unable to reach any rising high school juniors or seniors to find out how they view two years of tests that will assess nothing.
The National Education Association, America’s biggest teachers union, praised the recommendation.
“We absolutely need more time not only in using them in high-stakes decisions about teachers, but in using them in high-stakes decisions about students, too,” NEA spokeswoman Becky Pringle told The New York Times.
Diane Ravitch, an educational policy analyst and a strong critic of Common Core, disagreed.
“If the sanctions and punishments tied to test scores are wrong now — promoting teaching to the test, narrowing the curriculum, cheating and gaming the system — the sanctions and punishments will still be wrong two years from now,” she told The Times.
In the fall, for the first time, most states and the District of Columbia began implementing Common Core, which attempts to standardize various K-12 curricula around the country.
Parents, students and teachers around the country have strongly condemned the national educational standards and the haste with which they have been implemented.
Common Core critics have won a handful of victories at the state level recently. Last week, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed legislation making her state the third to ditch the project. South Carolina moved to phase out the standards a few days earlier. Indiana pulled out earlier this year.
Despite their ardent support for Common Core, Bill and Melinda Gates have sent his own kids to Lakeside School, Seattle’s most elite, fancypants private school. Common Core-aligned testing does not appear to be in use there. (Bill Gates Loves Common Core For Your Kids, BUT NOT HIS)