Mike Huckabee was right. The term “common core” has become toxic and rebranding is needed. This time, instead of states calling the Common Core State Standards by a more a palatable name, a pro-Common Core organization that received millions from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has created an entirely new name for itself.
The Colorado Legacy Foundation is rebranding. It is now called the Colorado Education Initiative. Their goal of implementing Common Core related education reforms in partnership with the Colorado Department of Education has not changed. It’s just the name that’s different. Colorado’s Commissioner of Education Robert Hammond still sits on the organization’s board as does Colorado State Board of Education member Elaine Gantz Berman.
Anything Gates related these days has become almost synonymous with Common Core. That’s because of the money they put behind funding the development and implementation of Common Core. This poses an image problem for organizations like the Colorado Legacy Foundation that accept millions in “Common Core cash” grant money.
In addition, other groups received grant money for the purpose of collaborating with the Colorado Legacy Foundation. (Collaboration is a favorite buzz word often used by Common Core advocates.)
Who are the collaborators? The Colorado Children’s Campaign, another pro Common Core group, received over $500,000 in September of 2011 “to combine organizational resources and capacity with those of Colorado Legacy Foundation and the Colorado Department of Education…” The Colorado Education Association Foundation for Teacher Quality and Student Achievement received $300,000 in February of 2013 “to help train teachers and teacher leaders… in support of integration work led by Colorado Legacy Foundation.”
The Gates’ money runs deep at the Colorado Legacy Foundation—or the Colorado Education Initiative as they now like to be called. It reaches all the way to the Colorado State Board of Education which touts the organization on their Web site. With the new name, the desire for grant money remains the same.
According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Web site, the Colorado Legacy Foundation has been receiving a steady flow of grants since 2010. The Gates’ financial infusions add up to well over 20 million dollars, including a 2011 grant of nearly 10 million dollars “to provide organizational support to the Colorado Legacy Foundation related to implementation of the Common Core State Standards…” This grant was used by the Colorado Legacy Foundation—now the Colorado Education Initiative—towards the Colorado Integration Project.
The money trail from Gates to the Colorado Legacy Foundation to how the money was allocated through the Colorado Integration Project raised its own scandalous headline questioning if the Colorado State Board of Education was being bought and sold by the Gates Foundation.
The last reported grant to the Colorado Legacy Foundation was in April, 2014 just before the name change. While the Gates’ Foundation shows no grants awarded to the rebranded Colorado Education Initiative, only two months have passed since the name change.
Stay tuned for news on future grants and how the Colorado Legacy Foundation—oops, make that the Colorado Education Initiative—plans to use them.
(At this time, the Colorado State Board of Education has no plans to change its name, despite its partnership with the Gates funded, rebranded pro Common Core group. However, it does refer to the Common Core State Standards as the Colorado Academic Standards.)