Another House In the Common Core Potemkin Village: Hope Street Group

Over the course of the last three and a half years, I’ve come across more ‘education non-profits’ tied to Common Core than one can imagine. This sea of non-profit organizations all seem to have their roots in a core set of financial backers : Gates, Hewlitt, Walton, Lumina, Carnegie and many more.

A potemkin village of support for Common Core has been erected using this sea of non-profits as education reform astroturf.  Common Core has a key group of these potemkin village homes spanning back to 2010 and earlier:

On May 12, 2010, six reform leaders made their pitch to a roomful of funders, consultants, and staffers of nonprofits at the annual “summit” of the New Schools Venture Fund. The panel was called “Political Savvy: Guidebook for a New Landscape.

Speakers included executives from Green Dot Public [charter] Schools (Gates, $9.7 million, 2006-2007), Bellwether Education Partners (Gates, $951,800 in 2011), Hope Street Group (Gates, $875,000 in 2008-2009), Stand for Children (as noted above, $5.2 million from Gates, 2003-20011), Democrats for Education Reform (a PAC), and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation (one of the largest ed reform funders, nonetheless a Gates grantee, $3.6 million, 2010).
– Dissent magazine, Spring 2012, “Hired Guns and Astrotuf: How to Buy and Sell School Reform

I’ve identified a few of the houses in the village already, many of them listed in the passage above, but over the course of the last week I’ve spotted a McMansion I had missed previously.

This is a group that likely started with good intent, but really appears to be just another front group for Bill Gates’s next ‘big idea’ and a policy narrative vehicle for his education reformer friends.

Government here to help common coreMeet the Hope Street Group.

Hope Street Group has invaded North Carolina this year in their conquest to recruit and train teachers or what they refer to as “Fellows”.  NC’s Superintendent has welcomed Hope Street with open arms according to the March press release:

“As a teacher myself, I understand the benefits of taking lessons learned in the classroom and applying them to decisions made at the state level. I am excited to have Hope Street Group assist our North Carolina teachers in their quest to become the best educators possible for North Carolina’s children,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson.

“Participating North Carolina teachers are taught how to transform their passion for teaching into an actionable tool for improving the broader teaching profession. As stewards of our children’s education, it is imperative that teachers play an integral, empowered role in informing education policy,” said Dan Cruce, vice president of education at Hope Street Group.


The Hope Street Group North Carolina Teacher Voice Network will have access to a variety of professional development and training opportunities, including peer engagement, data collection and communications strategies. They will collect data from thousands of their colleagues to present to NCDPI. They will also serve as leaders within their own school communities.

This is a version of Teach Plus or Teach For America, but dedicated to Common Core.

Dr. Atkinson is aligning our state with yet another unelected, unaccountable outside group funded and directed by millionaires and Foundations. Why is she not doing her job and working on North Carolina’s sagging teacher college situation?

Remember the term “Teacher Voice Network“, this will be revisited at a later date in follow-up article.

The Teacher Fellows
These “Fellows” appear to be mainly young or new teachers and their training is centered on use and teaching of the Common Core standards. In fact, Hope Street Group recommends that state boards of education require Common Core specific training and proficiency be a requirement of teacher licensure and re-licensure.

This is not conjecture, this fact based directly on one of Hope Street Groups self-touted achievements: The Teacher Common Core Playbook.

The playbook has many endorsers, but this one sticks out:

“U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan highlights Hope Street Group’s work on Race to the Top and says collaboration between different groups could lead to better outcomes in education in this video.”

This playbook deserves deeper scrutiny and there needs to be a conversation on the purpose of teacher colleges, but that’s an article all its own. I’ll get to it.

Given some of what’s out there on Hope Street, the consensus seems to be that these “Fellows”  are also recruited to promote pro-testing/data collection  environments that Common Core needs to survive; with an emphasis on tying teacher evaluations to test scores.

The agenda of Hope Street Group is clearly to push testing, evaluating teachers based on test scores, and common core.  They will hand-pick some naive teachers to be their “Fellows” (or as we like to say, “follows” or “foolows” since they will be following foolish orders on what to say and do), give them a little extra $3500 boost to their paychecks, and train them in how to sweet-talk legislators to vote for the reforms that their donors want.  So, it is just like the Teach Plus organization that has already been doing dirty work here in TN, except with a more hopeful-ish name and a rosier-pink lipstick., 2/27/15, Hope Street is a Dead End for TN and TEA characterizes these “Fellows” as trained pro-Common Core/pro-testing sound bite machines in to be trotted out in front of cameras and steered to whisper in the ears of politicians.

Of course, the “Fellows” themselves likely don’t see it that way. Too bad, because when you have to use “talking points” instead of the facts of the service or topic itself, guess what? You’re a sound bite machine.

I’d have to say, that characterization sounds right on target.  In North Carolina, we saw these sound bite machines first hand a few weeks back at the last Common Core Commission meeting.

Remember ‘just a math teacher’ Kim Arwood and her pal, Trey Ferguson?  Ferguson is one of the new “NC Teacher Voice Network Fellows“. Imagine that!

Who else is promoting these “Fellows” and the “Teacher Voice Network” in North Carolina? The PR Firm, EducationNC and the best pal of the NC Chamber of Commerce et al — the Common Core pushing Public Schools Forum NC.

There is A LOT more to Hope Street Group. Stay tuned, next time I’ll give some history and follow the money.



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#DM7 Article: The Path Of Predetermination

This is a repost of my Da Tech Guy column: The Path Of Predetermination

By A.P. Dillon

I don’t know about anyone else, but I just can’t read another “so and so bans Confederate flag” story. Granted, it’s an ugly piece, but it’s still part of our nation’s history.

What sickens me is how the media has been leading the charge against a flag instead of the person who used it for his own twisted reasons. There has been little to no separation of the two.  The hyper reporting of the ensuing onslaught of removals and bannings should make people mildly unsettled with the resemblance it bears to lemmings running over a cliff.

Enough. Just enough already.  I have Jonah Goldberg to thank for restoring some sanity, compassion and education to the issue. Go read his column this week, The Dignity of Charleston Flies in the Face of the Left’s Uninformed, Anti-South Bigotry

Let’s shift gears a moment and talk about education, because there is a distinct parallel to events going on right now. Education shapes a nation.The path for the future of our children is being shaped and predetermined, much like the media is shaping and predetermining what is and isn’t outrage news.

I’ve warned about what your education dollar is buying these days. That education dollar looks a lot like the tempest in the Confederate teapot we see going on right now.

I’ve warned about the increasing evidence that standardized testing and Common Core are creating pathways or silos for kids to be dropped into as they emerge from the K-12 school system and enter either the workforce or go on to college. This is no longer a warning, it’s a reality

Consider two stories on testing that emerged this week. One on Common Core test scoring, the other on the activities of the ACT.

First, the Common Core aligned PARCC test developed by Pearson. Breitbart reported that these scorers were recruited via “CraigsList,, and Facebook”.

A Pearson official boasted about the scoring of these tests in a fashion that should have every parent running for the exits. I wrote about it at

At times, the scoring process can evoke the way a restaurant chain monitors the work of its employees and the quality of its products.

“From the standpoint of comparing us to a Starbucks or McDonald’s, where you go into those places you know exactly what you’re going to get,” said Bob Sanders, vice president of content and scoring management at Pearson North America, when asked whether such an analogy was apt.

“McDonald’s has a process in place to make sure they put two patties on that Big Mac,” he continued. “We do that exact same thing. We have processes to oversee our processes, and to make sure they are being followed.”

Small wonder the Opt Out movement in testing is spreading like wildfire.

The other was a little nugget about the ACT tests. The ACT tests have been Common Core aligned as well, by the way.  Education blogger, Mercedes Schneider, reports on this change:

“ACT is revamping its test, creating new scoring subscales and combining other scales in new ways– and it also plans to advise colleges and universities regarding predicted student success in given majors.

“ACT is intentionally shifting its role from reporting test scores to advising postsecondary institutions regarding admissions decisions.”

Schneider also notes that parents and students are not in the ACT equation for this ‘advising’ to postsecondary institutions.

Little Johnny wants to be a Doctor? TOO BAD! His ACT score says he should be an English major.

Little Susie wants to be a Engineer? TOO BAD! Her PARCC scorer dumped her into a 2 year community college for food prep studies.

Your child’s path is being predetermined, just like the media has predetermined the news we watch.

DM7 small LL1885A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885

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Bree Newsome’s “Daring” Climb

Have you heard about the woman who scaled a flagpole in South Carolina to remove the Confederate Flag?  Some are calling that “daring”.

Given that she was wearing climbing gear and had a spotter I’d call it “staged”.


Anyway, the woman’s name is Bree Newsome.

By her own description she’s a “Writer, Director, Producer, Singer, Songwriter, Activist, Consultant and Speaker”. Newsome is no stranger to being on camera on purpose.

That is her business. She’s a “powerhouse“, folks.

She should look familiar to North Carolinians — she’s a Moral Monday arrestee from July 2013.  So was her SC climbing spotter, James Tyson. Once again, not daring, but staged:

That July 2013 arrest was in protest of voting rights. A quick search for “Bree Newsome” in the North Carolina voter look up tool shows no record of a “Bree Newsome” being registered. Perhaps that’s not her legal name.

Barber wasted NO time getting in front of the media to claim his slice of Newsome’s 15 minutes of fame.  It was so fast, one has to wonder if he knew it was going to happen.

Barber in a statement he gave to both Huffington Post and local outlet WRAL , Barber compared Newsome to Rosa Parks and Fannie Lou Hamer.

In both statements Barber referred to Newsome as a  ‘committed, trained, non-violent messenger of the truth’ .

The Huffington Post has a link to more footage of Newsome. That footage is also of her being arrested because yes, Moral Monday has its own videographer.

It is no accident Newsome’s Moral Monday arrest video is posted on the “Story of Us” YouTube channel. This arrest is the documentary Reverend Barber is peddling about Moral Monday. You see, the Reverend is a shy guy who can’t bear any self promotion.

Newsome’s website has a section for her activism:

A staunch advocate for human rights and social justice, Newsome was arrested last year during a sit-in at the North Carolina State Capitol where she spoke out against the state’s recent attack on voting rights. She continues to work as an activist and youth organizer in North Carolina, serving in the capacity of Western Field Organizer for the youth-led organization Ignite NC

Ignite NC gets its support from Democracy NC, which is run by that “non-partisan advocate for clean elections”, Bob Hall.

Ignite NC is a far left group that basically recruits and trains young kids to protest.  I haven’t sort of written on before, but it was on the other members.  Namely, Bryan Perlmutter.

Perlmutter leads multiple groups with young kids, including such groups as NC HEAT and Youth Organizing Institute.  Perlmutter also participated in the Fast Food Strikes supported by Moral Monday.

There is a gaggle of organizations associated with Ignite NC. Here is the list via the North Carolina Secretary of State website:

Ignite NC
Education Justice Alliance (EJA)
NC Coalition for Education Justice (NCCEJ)
Student Power
Youth Organizing Institute (YOI)
NC Queer Youth Power Coalition

When one clicks on the NC Secretary of State document filings for Ignite NC, the name “Southern Vision Alliance” is displayed. Quite an alliance.

Oh Snap!


Posted in Err What?, HEH, LadyLiberty1885, Liberals Gone Wild, Moral Monday, Racial Justice, Reverend Barber, The Articles, Useful Idiot | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment