The Fizzle of Common Core Face, Student Achievement Partners
The chief purpose of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) initiative was to develop a “common core” of ELA and math standards that states (ideally all) would adopt so that state education might be standardized and therefore comparable using similar assessments.
At the center of CCSS development was Student Achievement Partners (SAP), an organization created in 2007 that became a nonprofit in 2011 (EIN 27-4556045). SAP was founded by David Coleman and Jason Zimba, with Susan Pimentel later grafted in as a founding member– although any mention of her being involved in SAP prior to the emergence of completed CCSS in June 2010 is notably absent from all of her pre-2012, non-SAP bio sketches. (I briefly discuss the Pimentel SAP-founder grafting in this December 2013 post.)
On its 2017 “about” page, SAP offers the following info about its “founders”:
Student Achievement Partners was founded by David Coleman, Susan Pimentel and Jason Zimba, lead writers of the Common Core State Standards.
Prior to SAP, the well-connected Coleman had another ed org, a company called Grow Network, which had a $2 million contract with Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in 2003, when Arne Duncan was CPS CEO. In 2004, Coleman sold Grow Network to McGraw-Hill.
Following the completion of CCSS in June 2010, the SAP website, achievethecore.org, began promoting CCSS. At the time, it seemed like CCSS would be the next golden chariot for many with careers tied to ed reform, and for Coleman, it was, sort of. In May 2012, Coleman became president of the College Board, another organization on the inside of CCSS development. Zimba and Pimentel remained with SAP, and other CCSS “lead writers” (Phil Daro and Bill McCallum) boarded the SAP ship, as did former Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) CEO, Gene Wilhoit. (It was Wilhoit who, with Coleman, approached billionaire Bill Gates in 2008 and asked him to finance CCSS.)
It is one thing to become College Board president; it is another to succeed at it. Under Coleman, the College Board has been riddled with difficulty and dysfunction, not the least of which is Coleman’s sloppy SAT revamp. Coleman has not been removed as College Board president. Not yet, at least.
As for Pimentel and Zimba: They are still listed on the SAP website, as “staff,” but nothing notable seems to have become of them (or of the CCSS they championed, for that matter). According to SAP’s 2014 tax form (the most recent one available), Pimentel and Zimba were SAP “executive directors” and were paid $338,491 and $331,813 in total compensation, respectively.
It remains to be seen what compensation the two pulled in 2015. Perhaps the grant The Fizzle of Common Core Face, Student Achievement Partners | deutsch29: