Checking In With Common Core Potemkin Village Resident ‘NC Ready For Success’

It’s hard to keep tabs on all of the Common Core supporters and their ‘non-profits’, ‘alliances’ and ‘organizations’. There are so many of them, that sometimes one forgets to check back and see what they are up to.

Last year took a look at one of these Common Core supporting groups called “NC Ready for Success”.  These articles on NC Ready for Success are not light reading, but important in terms of how post-secondary organizations like this are working to keep Common Core in place:

I just happened to stumble on a mention of NC Ready for Success yesterday so I decided to check in on them. The NC Ready for Success website is apparently not about education anymore:


While the NCSMT website still shows NC Ready For Success as one of their listed initiatives, the WHOIS I did yesterday confirms ‘Chip Miller Photography’ has control of the website. Whoops.

Since the NC Ready For Success site appears to be owned by a photography firm now, I pulled out my file on them for comparison.

When I first looked into NC Ready For Success I noted that their page had an icon at the very bottom which belongs to a 501(c)3 called the NC Science, Mathematics, and Technology Ed Center (NCSMT).

As it turns out, NC Ready For Success is actually an initiative of NCSMT.  Take a moment to check out the board of directors for NCSMT. Notables are CEO Sam Houston, John Burris of Burroughs Wellcome and Mark Jewell of the NCAE. Also, State Board of Ed member, Tricia Willoughby.

I was unable to locate NCSMT at the NC Secretary of State. I did, however, locate the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Follow The Money
As previously mentioned, Sam Houston is the current President and CEO of NCSMT and is also the contact if one wishes to donate to them. NCSMT takes donations through the Burroughs Wellcome Fund:

If you or your organization are interested in providing financial support for the SMT Center, please contact Sam Houston at 919-991-5111 or (link)

Burroughs Wellcome and NCSMT share an address of 21 T. W. Alexander Drive
Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.

Another ‘partner’ of NC Ready For Success is the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, led by Hope Williams. The very same Hope Williams who spoke to the NC Common Core Academic Standards Review Commission in July. Her bio given to the commission left out the partnership with NC Ready for Success and NCSMT.

When their website was still theirs, NC Ready For Success stated their funding came from all the big corporations who brought the nation Common Core.

NC Ready for Success is a cross-sector collaboration between the NC Community College System, the University of North Carolina, the NC Department of Public Instruction, NC Independent and Private Colleges and Universities, and the NC Science, Math, and Technology Education Center.  A statewide bridge to information connecting K-12 and postsecondary education, NC Ready for Success informs and educates faculty, community, policymakers and stakeholders about the ongoing impact of the state’s adoption of the Common Core State Standards.  This highly collaborative endeavor seeks to inform the state’s efforts to create a coherent and consistent framework for career and college readiness for postsecondary success. 

Support for NC Ready for Success is provided from a national Core to College: Preparing Students for Career and College Readiness grant funded by the Lumina Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

One can still view captures of the original site using the Wayback Machine.

You can read more about “Core to College: Preparing Students for Career and College Readiness” mentioned by NC Ready for Success at WestEd, because “WestEd is providing evaluation services over the course of the initiative.”  How convenient.

WestEd apparent purpose is to do an end run around the system and legal restraints for the Dept. Of Education whenever they need it.  WestEd has been given an enormous amount of money and grants from the Dept. of Education and federal government.

This is the same WestEd who sent  a man named Kevin Perks to talk to the NC Common Core ASRC in March.  Mr. Perks failed to mention this connection when ASRC C0-Chair Covil grilled him about who funds WestEd.

Fun Fact the former “Alignment Director” for College to Core was John Denning, former NC State Director, K-12 and Postsecondary Alignment Initiatives.  Denning now works for the Gates Foundation.

The Common Core Potemkin Village Grows…Out Of The View Of The Public
NC Ready For Success also has a ‘Steering Committee’ but the members were not listed on the website at the time. I sent an inquiry back in December 2014 and got the answer:

CC ED Potemkin VillageAlisa Chapman, UNC ­General Administration

Lisa Chapman, NC Community Colleges

Rebecca Garland, Robin McCoy,
NC Department of Public Instruction

Angela Quick, NC New Schools

Andrew Meehan, NC Chamber of Commerce

Tom West, NC Independent Colleges and Universities

Eric Guckian, Governor’s Office

Small wonder the steering committee wasn’t on the website – a lot of high profile names there.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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