state led
How the HB1490 work groups were designed to fail via DESE’s use of paid facilitators and nstrategy via private federally funded NGOs.  Adhering to the intent of the law and following the law for work group members was essentially impossible even before the first work group meeting..

Part II

This is what ‘state led’ looks like

Yesterday we wrote about FOIAed emails from DESE relating to the ELA 6-12 work group tasked via HB1490 to write Missouri standards.  Part I may be found here.  It set the stage illustrating how DESE controlled the message in its May 2, 2013 state-wide meetings and the increasing frustration of citizens who believed the agency was not being accountable to the legislature or the taxpayers.

The emails received showed that DESE had a desired outcome from the beginning of HB1490 work group deliberations and this outcome was to keep the Common Core standards in Missouri.  After the bill was passed in May 2014, DESE  contacted out-of-state federally funded NGOs requesting assistance in determining the focus of the work groups.  It also requested funding from these organizations to pay for the eight facilitators it had contracted with (without legislative knowledge).  DESE provided  PowerPoint presentations to each facilitator and instruction from consultative organizations (below) on how to control the process.  These contracts stated DESE would pay $500 per work group meeting day, plus reasonable and necessary travel expenses per DESE policy not to exceed $4,500.  Eight facilitators were to be provided for six dates: September 22, 23 and October 2, 3, 20 and 21, 2014.  These dates were set by DESE even before the work groups had their first meeting and participants could decide what dates were most beneficial for their particular workgroup.   The cost for these facilitators and DESE note takers and video personnel was estimated at $90-100K and was not provided for in the legislation, hence DESE’s solicitation for funding from groups outside of Missouri.

~~The Cast of Characters and Organizations in the ‘State Led’ Process of Writing Missouri Standards~~


 CEELO Center On Enhanced Early Learning Outcomes – One of 22 Comprehensive Centers funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, the Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO) will strengthen the capacity of State Education Agencies (SEAs) to lead sustained improvements in early learning opportunities and outcomes. CEELO will work in partnership with SEAs, state and local early childhood leaders, and other federal and national technical assistance (TA) providers to promote innovation and accountability.

Central Comprehensive Center

CEELO Liaison:
Jana Martella

Colorado, Kansas, Missouri

Donna Richardson
(405) 325-5485

University of Oklahoma
1639 Cross Center Dr.
Suite 354
Norman, OK 73019


Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) leverages the resources available from a range of federal networks, including the Regional Educational Laboratories, Equity Assistance Centers, and our partner comprehensive centers, to provide the most up-to-date information about states’ standards, assessment, and accountability systems.  The Center on Standards and Assessment Implementation (CSAI) reviews a variety of resources, ranging from guidance documents, research papers, and policy briefs to tools and websites aimed at supporting state and local education agency leadership in making decisions about their standards, assessment programs, and accountability systems.



National Institute of School Leadership (NISL), a division of Criterion Education,  offers the most efficient programs proven to improve student achievement at scale:

Common Core Support:Beyond alignment–NISL provides the skills to lead the schoolwide instructional changes required by CCSS.



WestEd – In 1966 Congress created a network of Regional Educational Laboratories, under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, two of which became WestEd. Today WestEd is no longer officially run by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE), but it is still funded largely by the federal government. It receives grants from the DOE and other federal and private granting agencies. WestEd is the project manager for the SBAC. WestEd/SBAC is required, by the document entitled “Cooperative Agreement” which is written by the U.S. DOE, to coordinate “across consortia,” which means working closely with Achieve, Inc., (program manager for PARCC, the Common Core’s other testing arm) as well as having to coordinate, report and give status updates to the DOE.



C3 Central Comprehensive Center at the University of Oklahoma The Central Comprehensive Center (C3)  The Central Comprehensive Center (C3) at the University of Oklahoma is one of a national network of 22 federally funded centers. The C3 mission is to provide high quality/high impact technical assistance that helps build or expand the capacity of the state education agency (SEA), intermediary agencies, and other educational systems in Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri to implement, support, scale-up, and sustain reform efforts to improve teaching and learning.

This portal brings together instructional resources available on this website to help educators as they rethink instructional practices as part of the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.




These organizations are committed to the promotion of CCSSI. Emails verify that some of these organizations have advised other states on how to retain Common Core in their states when legislation was passed to eliminate CCSSI, including manipulation of their standards development process.  These Emails show collaboration between out-of-state federally funded agencies and DESE which began after the Legislature passed HB1490 but before Governor Jay Nixon signed it into law.


The first e-mail is from Ellen Balkenbush (C3) to DESE personnel and includes an agenda for a later discussion with Sujie Chin, Director of Research for the Assessment & Standards Development Services (ASDS) program at WestEd in California, to discuss how to structure work group facilitation for the desired outcome.

  • Ellen Balkenbush is the Technical Assistance Liaison at University of Oklahoma, Office of Research.


  • Sujie Shin serves as the Director of Research for the Assessment & Standards Development Services (ASDS) program at WestEd.  Shin’s area of focus is providing state and district clients with the strategic partnership needed to navigate transitions and growth in their assessment and accountability portfolios, particularly in the implementation of the Common Core State Standards.



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Sharon Helwig is Assistant Commissioner of Education.  Funding for facilitators was to be asked from MC3, The Regional Technical Center, but as this center was seen as CCSS supportive and partisan, that idea was discarded:

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DESE’s Jeremy Ellis setting the ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ for the work group meetings with a DESE appointed designated notetaker:

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Email from Oklahoma University based C3 Director Donna Richardson  to Jana Martella, Belinda Biscoe, Patricia Fleming:


  • Jana Martella is the Co-Director of the U.S. Department of Education (ED)-sponsored comprehensive technical assistance Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO). Martella brings to her work over 30 years of experience in education and has served as a state legislative liaison, coordinator for federal programs, school administrator, and teacher. She has worked on multiple initiatives designed to advance high quality in early education. A central part of her focus has been on education system and program improvement through standards-based reform.

As Co-Director of CEELO, Martella oversees the delivery of technical assistance and policy advice to state education agency offices of early learning and the 22 US-ED Comprehensive Content and Regional Centers. CEELO staff, partners, and experts work to advance states’ use of early childhood comprehensive assessment systems; promote the use of assessment data and other information to improve program quality; increase the knowledge and skills of the early learning workforce; strengthen the alignment of birth through Grade 3 educational policies and systems; and improve the coordination of resources and policies across statewide systems.


  • Dr. Belinda Biscoe is associate vice president of University Outreach, Public and Community Services Division. Also within University Outreach, she serves as director of the South Central Comprehensive Center (SC3), principal investigator for the Central Comprehensive Center (C3), and director of Educational Training, Evaluation, Assessment and Measurement (E-TEAM).

Dr. Biscoe’s areas of expertise include: research and evaluation, higher education administration, nonprofit administration, public school administration, school reform, early literacy, public school issues, substance abuse prevention, mental health, resilience, homelessness, workforce development, juvenile justice, lifespan developmental psychology (with an emphasis on early childhood and adolescence), and substance abuse treatment, including client management, women and family issues, polydrug abusers, co-occurring disorders, and self-help organizations. Dr. Biscoe is also a co-founder of the Eagle Ridge Institute, a nonprofit substance abuse organization in Oklahoma City.

During the course of her career, she has written and received funding for more than 47 major grants, resulting in the application of millions of dollars to support initiatives for common education, non-profit organizations, and higher education. She is an accomplished public speaker, having presented papers at local, state, and national conferences.


  • Patricia Fleming: Associate Director & Technical Assistance Coordinator at Central Comprehensive Center and the University of Oklahoma



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DESE’s Melia Franklin requests assistance from C3 to aid the compensated Missouri NISL work-group facilitators.  Note that she wants them to be a “firefighter” in what might be difficult meetings with the parent appointed work members?  Note also the “after” meeting with facilitator debriefing that was to take place afterward as requested by DESE:

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While DESE won’t use Jana Martella from the NGO CEELO as a facilitator, it plans to use her as a “resource”….for DESE?  As a “resource” for “friendly” work group members?

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Melia Franklin states in an email to Maridella Carter that DESE is to ‘stay out of the fray’.  (Carter is a current member of the ELA 6-12 work group appointed by Governor Jay Nixon). Perhaps that’s the public perception of DESE’s supposed non-involvement in the work group process, but it’s obvious from the emails that it was orchestrating the work group facilitation with out-of-state privately funded NGOs and had a desired outcome of retaining the standards as it requested assistance from organizations dedicated to the continuation of Common Core standards:

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DESE sought external funding to circumvent the intent of the legislation and hire facilitators to implement DESE’s agenda and distribute DESE prepared materials.. HB 1490 neither required nor implied that DESE personnel actively participate in the standards development process as agents of the state of Missouri; and, though Section 160.526. 3 specified the qualifications of work group members and authorized only members to develop Missouri’s academic standards in four subject areas, DESE sought funds from out-of-state federally funded private organizations  to contract and actively work with hand-picked facilitators and certain work group members between work group meetings to develop strategies designed to “shape the House Bill 1490 work groups,” that is, to interfere in the work of the groups and keep discussions and decisions of the groups in favor of keeping the privately copyrighted Common Core Standards.

This is what “state led” looks like.

Part III tomorrow.

(The first graphic and description of the Delphi technique may be found here.)


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