The Architect of Common Core, David Coleman (AKA The Man Behind the Curtain)
Whenever I think of David Coleman, Common Core’s architect, I always get a visual of the Great and Powerful Oz proclaiming, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” Pay no attention to the man creating the illusion of fewer, clearer, higher standards. Pay no attention to the man responsible for the change of the entire American educational system.
They call him “the Most Influential Education Figure You’ve Never Heard Of.” Many pieces have portrayed him as a Jewish man with colorful socks who speaks at an urgent clip. As a child who grew up in downtown Manhattan with a college president for a mother and psychiatrist for a father, they verbally sparred at the dinner table, often having discussions about books he read and movies he saw.
His parents cared more about the quality of what he did then by other traditional measures of success, he says. What a wonderful picture of childhood ala Coleman.
Make no mistake, though, he has an agenda. What is his agenda? Transforming the American education system to fit his lofty ideas of what “real” education is. And it has nothing to do with learning useful skills to help you, say, write a cohesive and grammatically correct resume or long division.
After high school, Coleman attended Yale, where he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to the University of Oxford. Upon returning to New York, from Oxford, he applied to a high school teaching job and was turned down. He ended up working for a consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, where he advised public schools and became a fixture at New York City Department of Education meetings.
You know what they say, “If you can’t do, teach”. I don’t buy that. But in this case, if you can’t teach, you create an entire national set of educational standards to be used in virtually every American classroom. That makes sense, no? Who better than someone who has never had any K-12 experience, at all?
Fast forward to the “now” Coleman who in a conversation with David Farris, president of the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, said that he didn’t like the database all that well. “It was not originally part of the Common Core, but other people have seized the opportunity to make a centralized data collection effort through the implementation of the Common Core.” This was in response to Farris’s position on the Statewide Longitudinal Database which will collect every piece of information it can on your child, your child’s teacher and yourself and put it in a huge data hub, going directly to the federal government.
Oh, but hold that thought, Mr. Coleman! What is this piece we find on Missouri Education Watchdog? It’s a small video where Coleman discusses his love of the Strategic Data Project, which not coincidentally, is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation is currently paying large amounts of money, in the form of grants, to different educational resources across the nation for their support of the Common Core. In other words, they’re pushing Common Core as hard as a drug dealer pushes crack. No, Coleman loves data collection. He points out that data collection is a huge reason behind Obama winning the presidency. They were able to collect and research data on segments of the country that they could then strategically target with Obama ads, in order to hopefully garner more votes.
Let’s recap what we have so far. We have discovered the quirky Coleman with the colorful socks. We have found the Coleman who never taught in a classroom. We have the double talking Coleman who tells Farris he is uncomfortable with data collection, yet touts its virtues as an “untapped national resource” in a speech to data analysts in Boston.
Let’s move on to the foul-mouthed Coleman. In a presentation to the New York State Department of Education in 2011, we find Coleman discussing popular types of writing in high school. One of the most popular with be what he refers to as “personal” writing. This is what David Coleman has to say to those pesky, self-involved teens: “As you grow up in this world you realize people really don’t give a sh** about what you feel or what you think.”
He has an opinion on what he sees as the watered down curriculum that is in American classrooms currently.
“I’m scared of rewarding bullsh**,” he says.
Quirky, never taught a day in his life, double speaking, data loving, foul-mouthed, and now president of the College Board where he is working on rewriting the SATs to align with the Common Core.
But it gets better folks. Perhaps my favorite version of Coleman can be seen in this video. This is the Coleman we caught with his pants down, so to speak.
This is the David Coleman who completely debunks the Common Core advocates’ claims that the nation’s governors got together and created these standards themselves.
Watch as he brags about having to convince governor’s in adopting these standards:
I don’t know about you, but this video makes me positively giddy. It sounds like the people promoting Common Core have lied about one of the most fundamental aspects of the initiative. The guy who was one of the main architects of the standards lies about his not being comfortable with data collection. And they all deny the intrusive data mining happening from birth to career.
This leads me to ask you one question: Do you really want these kinds of people in charge of your children’s education?