Leadership Tennessee, a program funded by Governor Haslam and his allies, was launched to promote “collaborative leadership” across political, cultural and business lines that could problem-solve for the “common good.” Complete Tennessee is gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd’s initiative to “complete the mission of education and economic development initiatives” of the Haslam administration.
According to the President of The Cornerstone Foundation a funder and early promoter of Leadership Tennessee, a “terrific example of collaboration in action” was SCORE’s Executive Director Jamie Woodson, the biggest and most well-financed lobbyist for Common Core in Tennessee.
Common Core standards championed by the Obama Department of Education, the Gates Foundation and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was a cornerstone of Haslam’s education reform platform during his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Haslam’s plan to fully embed these standards into Tennessee’s K-12 system was derailed in 2013 by House conservatives.
Five months before announcing himself as a gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd who describes himself as a political “moderate,” launched Complete Tennessee, “a nonprofit 501(c)3 education advocacy organization focused on increasing postsecondary access and completion in Tennessee.”
Boyd is getting help in his “complete” mission from fellow Leadership Tennessee classmate, Janet Ayers who is a Complete Tennessee and SCORE board member. Ayers and Boyd were both 2013 first-year participants in Haslam’s Leadership Tennessee program.
Ayers is president (and co-founder) of the Ayers Foundation. The Ayers Institute for Teacher Learning and Innovation at Lipscomb University in Nashville was founded in 2012 using a $1 million dollar donation from the Ayers foundation. A few months later, the Tennessee Higher Education Commission awarded the Ayers Institute a $1.2 million contract for teacher training materials implementing the new Tennessee Common Core standards.
Complete Tennessee board member Krissy DeAlejandro was a Haslam appointee to the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that assists state policymakers on education issues to “make informed decisions by providing independent, accurate data and recommendations.”
SREB programs are funded in part by the Pearson Foundation and the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation spent more than $200 million to promote Common Core. The Pearson Foundation paid a $7.7 million settlement for alleged self-dealing in Common Core educational products.
Complete Tennessee board member Barbara Hyde, the President of the Hyde Family Foundations is a funder of Leadership Tennessee and SCORE and her husband is a SCORE board member.
Renata Soto, founder and director of Conexion Americas, Board chairman of the National Council of La Raza and Nashville ‘Indivisible’ organizer is on the Steering Committee of SCORE and is a Complete Tennessee board member.
The Steering Committee of Complete Tennessee interlocks with both the board of SCORE and Leadership Tennessee. For example, Cathy Cate, the wife of Haslam’s first chief of staff, is the executive director of Leadership Tennessee, David Mansour is the President of SCORE, and Nancy Dishner is the President & CEO of the Niswonger Foundation whose founder is on the board of SCORE. The Policy Manager of Soto’s Conexion Americas and a Policy Director from Haslam’s office also help guide Boyd’s organization.
Boyd’s gubernatorial education campaign platform is bootstrapped to “completing” Haslam’s ‘Drive to 55’ higher education goal, the same program being used by legislators to justify giving in-state tuition to illegal immigrant students, a position Boyd appears to endorse as well.