What is Achieve, Inc.?
The information is available on Achieve, Inc.’s official website: http://www.achieve.org/AboutAchieve.
Achieve, Inc., is a Washington, D.C. group formed in 1996 by a group of corporate leaders and some governors who wanted “standards-based education” across states. (See http://www.achieve.org/AboutAchieve)
“Much of Achieve’s work has focused on English Language Arts and mathematics standards, most recently around the Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”
Achieve takes boasts about releasing the CCSS standards:
“With the release of the Common Core State Standards in June 2010, states now have a clearly defined set of expectations in English language arts/literacy and mathematics.” http://www.achieve.org/achieve-applauds-final-k-12-common-core-state-standards
Achieve openly admits that it developed the Common Core and that the organization’s goal is to alter states’ policies:
“Our work doesn’t stop with the publication of reports; we have developed tools that help states change policies and practices. Chief among these are benchmark expectations – model K-12 academic standards – in mathematics and English… which served as a pre-cursor to the Common Core State Standards.” (See http://www.achieve.org/AboutAchieve)
The Race To the Top grant funded two testing arms of the Common Core Initiative: SBAC and PARCC.
PARCC’s project manager is Achieve, Inc. (See http://www.parcconline.org/project-management-partner). This means that Achieve, Inc. not only wrote the Common Core State Standards that would be turned into currriculum and tests, but they also are writing the tests themselves. The tests will “signal whether students are on track to graduate ready for college and the workplace” as defined by that small D.C. group.
Achieve “provided Common Core ‘boot camp’ to a number of states… to support implementation efforts.” http://www.achieve.org/AboutAchieve
In a June 2, 2010 press release by Achieve, Inc., the company praised itself, the NGA and the CSSSO for providing “a clear path – from kindergarten to high school graduation” and “encourages states to adopt and fully implement the Common Core State Standards” released the day of that press release, June 2, 2010. http://www.achieve.org/achieve-applauds-final-k-12-common-core-state-standards
Full implementation of Common Core “means aligning graduation requirements, curriculum materials and instructional tools, educator preparation and professional development, assessments, accountability indicators and data systems with the Common Core State Standards so that the whole system – down to every classroom – is geared toward the same end goal” according to the press release.
Leadership of Achieve, Inc:
Michael Cohen has been president of Achieve, Inc. since 2003. Before that, he was a career-long federal education officer:
Michael Cohen has been Director of Education Policy at the National Governors Association (1985-90) and Director of Planning and Policy Development at the National Association of State Boards of Education (1983-1985). During the Clinton Administration he served as Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Assistant to President Clinton for Education Policy, and Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley.
Thus, Michael Cohen went from a career in the U.S. Department of Education to leading Achieve, the national-standards group that wrote the CCSS, to then working for the national standards’ testing arm, PARCC, as its project manager, thus writing the tests for those standards which his group had written, that now will be federally directed and overseen* by the Department he long worked for.
(*See Cooperative Agreement with SBAC for requirement statements about coordinating and reporting to the federal government and sharing project status and research data collected on students from that test “across consortia”.)