Dispatches From The Common Core Potemkin Village: Another Hope Street Grp Op Ed

CC ED Potemkin Village

There is a vast web of ‘non-profits’ and foundations that make up a Potemkin village in Education today.

By tracing the funding of over 250 of these organizations, I’ve figured out who is building that village – Bill Gates… and a couple of his friends.

The Hope Street Group is at Potemkin village resident and is an outfit largely backed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


The main purpose is to recruit teachers who will advocate for their brand of education programs and agendas, including Common Core.

One of the tactics of this group is to blanket news organizations with Op Ed’s that further the Gates education agenda.   Here’s another an example. A ‘Hope Street Group Fellow’ has a rather poorly thought out and hypocritical Op Ed at the Citizen Times, titled Guest columnist: When everything old shouldn’t be new again.

Note that The Citizen times calls Mr. Lunsford a “guest columnist”.  Keep in mind that this guy is supposed to be a math teacher who uses logic daily.

At the bottom of the rather short article, it says, “Elliot Lunsford is a fellow for the Hope Street Group NC Teacher Voice Network.

Who is this guy? Let’s read his Hope Street Group Profile:

Elliot has taught mathematics at Owen High School since 2008.  He served on the School Improvement Team (2009-2013) and was appointed the Chair of the Graduation Project Committee in 2014.  He led the implementation of Outcomes-Based Assessment and new mathematics courses.  Additionally, he helps students compete in mathematics competitions.  Elliot also teaches at South College Asheville where he was awarded the 2009 General Education Teacher of the Year.  He graduated from Western Carolina University in 2006 as a North Carolina Teaching Fellow.  In 2007, he earned a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics also from Western Carolina University.

So,from the profile, we see he was teaching High school math for exactly two years before Common Core came along in 2010.

His entire article is based on the idea it’s bad to go back to something time tested and proven and good to stay with something that has test scores flat-lining and declining.

Yes, it’s bad to go back to the kind of math that has been working for thousands of years and put men on the moon in favor of a set of overly convoluted math strategies and a progression schema that doesn’t support STEM students. Makes perfect sense, if one is employing Common Core style logic.

Remember, Mr. Lunsford has a whole two years of pre-common core teaching experience to draw from.

Common Core had NO support, NO training, NO materials and NO resources — teachers literally had to scramble to pull lessons together and find materials on their own just a month prior to the kick off of school.

So, where were you then Mr. Lunsford?  I guess Bill Gates was funding that type of Op Ed, huh?

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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: APDillon@Protonmail.com
This entry was posted in A.P. Dillon (LL1885), Common Core and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Dispatches From The Common Core Potemkin Village: Another Hope Street Grp Op Ed

  1. Elliot Lunsford says:

    First, everyone is entitled to an opinion, and everyone has the right to voice critique of said opinion.

    Second, if you believe that one op-ed article and one short bio on a website gives you an idea of who I am as a person or a teacher, then you are mistaken.

    Third, Hope Street Group encourages all teachers, not just those who are fellows, to become teacher leaders. Being a leader in our profession is also a standard in the NC Evaluation instrument for teachers. One way that I can demonstrate leadership is by advocating for improvements in teaching and learning. Writing this short op-ed piece (had to be short due to restrictions in the newspaper, by the way) gives me a chance to voice my opinion about the standards that I am teaching. Hope Street Group did not write this article for me, and Hope Street Group did not require that I write a piece about the Common Core State Standards. I chose on my own to write about it based on current events involving the math work group and academic standards commission, etc.

    Fourth, I did not write any op-ed pieces before I became a Hope Street Group fellow; however, I had plenty of opinions about the state of affairs in education. Many of the things I disliked was the burden put on teachers due to budget cuts, which cut our supplies and staff. I also disliked being furloughed under Beverly Perdue’s time, and even though I understood that the U.S. was in a recession, I still found it wrong what was being done to teacher salary. I never enjoyed ABC bonus money for good results, and I had my salary steps frozen not long after I started teaching. Then came Common Core, which was an incredibly difficult transition. Fortunately, here in Buncombe County I received a great amount of training in the first several years of Common Core implementation, which was a great benefit to me. So why did I never write about those things? There are many reasons, including the fact that I struggled to find my voice especially as a younger teacher; I had trouble finding time to advocate; and I felt as though it wouldn’t do any good, especially with the louder, negative voices out there that I viewed as an attack on teachers and our schools. Hope Street Group has helped give me confidence to be a leader, but I was growing in that regard even without Hope Street Group. Other leaders in the education world and in my own school and district influenced me as well.

    Fifth, I never said that the Common Core State Standards were perfect. Even in my article I indicated that they needed revision. But I don’t advocate for a complete overhaul. Indeed I taught under the “old” standards when I began (though, Pre-Calculus Honors, which I’ve taught, has not had a change in standards). I also was trained in the previous standard course of study in college, including completing several semesters of observations, internships, and student teaching. Of course, I grew up under a standard course of study that was not Common Core too. So I am not completely inexperienced when it comes to the former standards. I did indeed struggle with math, particularly from 5th grade through 8th grade. Does this mean the old standard course of study was bad? Nope. And I totally agree that Common Core has yet to show its full merit, and could possibly never show it. One possible reason for this is the gaps that have occurred as students were required to transition to Common Core. And I have already noted that teachers continue to need training, which many received during the early years of Common Core implementation. Data from those early years need to be considered, but not used to simply justify a change is needed without considering other factors. I advocate for keeping the standards because I do have a mind that can be convinced that one way of doing something is better. Hope Street Group did not convince me that Common Core was better. The training I’ve received as well as the experience I’ve had teaching Common Core in the classroom has helped convince me.

    Finally, we are both in agreement that there are corporations and private entities that are pouring way too much money into education just to push a particular belief, reform, set of standards, curriculum materials, and tests. I have great distrust, for example, of what Pearson is doing to education. Just because I work as a fellow for Hope Street Group does not mean that I have been brainwashed to believe a certain thing. I do believe Hope Street Group is doing a good thing for North Carolina and its teachers.

    Working in the schools as a teacher, I have direct contact with students and I am able to see the effect and implementation of various policies. My primary job as a Hope Street Group fellow is to coordinate with teachers in my region to help express their own teacher voice. Emphasis on: teacher voice. If we want to know what works in schools and how to improve them, then shouldn’t we listen to what actual teachers think?


    • A.P. Dillon says:

      Mr. Lunsford,
      Thank you for your letter here. You are the first HSG fellow to actually write one here.

      I’m sure HSG didn’t write the piece for you. I am sure it was your idea even though HSG encourages it and promotes it as a ‘tool for sparking change’ or something equally as platitude-ish.

      I won’t address your whole letter, but there was a piece or two that I’d like to speak to. One is the ‘gaps’ that you point to as a reason Common Core might be failing. I’d redirect you to the 3rd graders who have known nothing but Common Core. They have no ‘gaps’. My son is one of them. He knew basic addition and subtraction and adored math before going into kindergarten; what common core has done is kill that love and confuse the hell out of him. I’ve resorted to re-teaching him every day when he comes home.

      To make matters worse, his grade is dependent on doing it the overly convoluted common core strategy du jour, regardless if it works for him or not. These kids are not being given a foundation in math concepts, they are being trained to jump through strategy hoops. NAEP and EOG scores are going to reflect this regardless of how DPI has manipulated the state test and scoring.

      After over 3 and a half years of Common Core, my Bottom line is this: Common Core math in K-4 is an age and developmentally inappropriate train wreck. It isn’t teaching kids math facts or giving them a foundation. It is not making young children into ‘critical thinkers” — nor will it ever do that. Kids of this age are concrete thinkers, not abstract ones. What it is doing is training kids in overly convoluted strategies and beating their confidence and love of learning out of them. My son is bright, with my help, he will get through this. I fight anyway because there are kids out there with parents who are utterly clueless to common core being why their child is flailing around in school. An entire response for another day is to ask yourself, why are so many parent unaware of Common Core if it’s the greatest thing ever?

      You wrote,
      “Hope Street Group encourages all teachers, not just those who are fellows, to become teacher leaders. Being a leader in our profession is also a standard in the NC Evaluation instrument for teachers.”

      And how does HSG do that, exactly?

      While we can totally disagree about Common Core, especially the math, I found it interesting you agree on the influence of private entities and business. I am sure you see the irony that Hope Street Group is one such business.

      While I am sure HSG has other education points of focus, the main goal of the teacher voice network was to recruit teachers like yourself to influence and reinforce a set of larger education policies, an example of one is the pro-common core position. This ‘teacher voice network’ was not created to elevate “teacher voices”, it was create to elevate agenda items using teacher voices. It’s even better when they find teachers that agree with these specific pieces. Have you found much dissent in your ranks? Likely no, just as is the case with HSG in Tennessee.

      “Emphasis on: teacher voice. If we want to know what works in schools and how to improve them, then shouldn’t we listen to what actual teachers think?”

      How about an emphasis on: PARENT VOICE.
      We see what is working and what is not every day at our kitchen tables, yet no one wants to give parents a voice. In my opinion, groups like HSG are meant to silence parents. After all, Teachers know what is best, they are the ‘experts’ right? Who is a parent to complain? Parents don’t have teaching degrees. They should shush and sit down.

      Out of curiosity, why does it take an outside, Gates funded organization to create “teacher voice network” in North Carolina?
      Is it Dr. Atkinson and the iron curtain she dropped across the state when CC was adopted? Funny how Atkinson has embraced HSG — or rather not so funny. HSG’s support of Common Core mirrors her own, so of course she entered into a partnership with them. Nevermind that DPI could and should be elevating “teacher voices” all by themselves.


  2. Pingback: EducationNC Promotes Gates Backed Hope Street Group | Lady Liberty 1885

  3. Betty Peters says:

    Thank you for this information. The Hope Street Group is now in AL and I see we have a “teacher of the year” on their list.


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