Dr. Manny Sethi continues to beat the drum for Bill Hagerty’s connections to Common Core State Standards, but how much, if any, was the former ambassador to Japan entangled with the controversial learning scheme?
Sethi aired an ad attacking Hagerty for “making millions” off Common Core. The ad is available here.
The Tennessee Star this past week has asked both campaigns about that claim.
When asked by email Sunday about the claim, Hagerty’s campaign simply referred back to a statement they had made to The Star that ran in a story Friday.
Hagerty campaign spokeswoman Abigail Sigler addressed the ad in an email Thursday. The Tennessee Star specifically asked Sigler about Sethi’s claim that Hagerty made millions of dollars off Common Core and whether it was true.
“Of course, Bill worked to defeat Barack Obama in 2012, unlike Massachusetts Manny Sethi who applied to be in the Obama Biden White House. Manny Sethi’s Never Trumpers have been attacking Bill since the day President Trump endorsed and announced his run for Senate,” Sigler said.
“President Trump looked at all the candidates in this race, and he endorsed Bill because he trusts Bill to stand with him to protect conservative values, get our economy going again, hold China accountable, and stand up for life.”
Hagerty once had ties to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, a textbook company that sells books using the Common Core curriculum. On May 11, 2010, the company announced Hagerty signed on as a director on the board.
“Bill provides proven expertise as well as a unique and valuable perspective
to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,” said Barry O’Callaghan, CEO of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. “His experience reflects a deep understanding of both business and educational considerations. Additionally, his Tennessee roots support our continued commitment to the state as a partner in improving education.”
Hagerty was on the HMH board from May 2010 to June 2012, according to a Feb. 23, 2015 press release from RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd. That company was announcing that Hagerty was joining its board of directors.
The Star asked Sethi campaign spokesman Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer for any evidence that Hagerty “made millions” off Common Core.
“Hagerty and HMH made millions from Common Core. Hagerty’s company implemented the Federal Government takeover of our schools while Hagerty was a director, they sent press releases bragging about it, and they continued cashing in to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars during the Obama administration.”
He referred to a brief March 11, 2015 story on CNBC about Common Core, available here.
States have already awarded hundreds of millions of dollars in Common Core-related contracts to businesses including Pearson, McGraw-Hill Education CTB, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Apple since 2012. And, despite some legal challenges and boycotts, more contracts potentially worth billions of dollars for testing, instructional materials and teacher training are on the way.
The Star then asked Barnwell-Hagemeyer “Do you have anything tying him specifically to HMH’s push for Common Core?”
Barnwell-Hagemeyer responded, “Yes, he was a director,” then said that when Hagerty was on the board, HMH began selling a Common Core English Language Arts literature anthology.
A March 7, 2011 announcement of that initiative is available here.
A search of the Securities and Exchange Commission for HMH filings and the keyword “Hagerty” shows this S-1/A registration statement listing his FY2012 salary as $79,500.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.