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Posted at 5:00 AM ET, 03/10/2011

Gates spends millions to sway public on ed reform

By Valerie Strauss

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is spending at least $3.5 million to create a new organization whose aim is to win over the public and the media to its market-driven approach to school reform, according to the closely held grant proposal.

The organization is tentatively called “Teaching First,” and already has a chief executive officer: Yolie Flores, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, who has championed such issues as public school choice and teacher effectiveness. Flores did not immediately return phone calls for comment. A Gates foundation spokesman said she would take over the job fulltime when her board term is up in June.

The Gates proposal lays out a strategy to win public approval for the foundation’s investment of more than $335 million in teacher effectiveness programs in four school districts that involve controversial initiatives including linking teacher pay to student standardized test scores. Critics (including me) say this “value-added” model-based test scores is unfair measure of how well a teacher is doing because there are many factors that go into how well a student does on a test.

The plan includes campaigns to reach out to parents, teachers, students, business and civic and religious leaders, and to build “strong ties to local journalists, opinion elites, and local/state policymakers and their staffs.” The plan explains how the organization will ensure “frequent placement ... in local media coverage of issues related to teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers” in accordance with the Gates approach.

The proposal calls for supporting local groups that promote the value-added evaluation systems, and who even get involved in unions so they can demand this approach in collective bargaining for teachers contracts.

But in a section entitled “Risks,” the proposal says that one big risk “is that Teaching First will be characterized as a tool of the Foundation.” To avoid that, it says, “Teaching First will need to be very careful about the national partners it brings into the work” and should “maintain a low public profile” and “ensure publicity and credit accrue to local partners whenever possible.”

Chris Williams, a spokesman for the foundation, said the new organization is an advocacy, not a lobbying group.

“We believe advocacy is an important part of the work that we support,” he said. “Much of the work that we are funding requires that there be movement in political and public will on issues .... not just in education but in global health.... We fund advocacy organizations all the time.”

Teaching First is being built with a $3.5 million grant in 2009 from the Gates Foundation to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to set up the group with nonprofit tax status. [It has no known direct relationship with the “StudentsFirst” organization set up by former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee, though the two share the same teacher assessment philosophy.]

The grant proposal was attached to a Jan. 28, 2010, letter addressed to “Dear CEO Candidate”and asked the recipient not to share the confidential document.

The proposal on the foundation’s Web site says that Rockefeller is supposed “to mount and support public education and advocacy campaigns.” It does not provide details of the grant. But the full grant proposal, a copy of which was given to me, says that once the organization is completely set up, Rockefeller will “transfer all property to the new entity.”

This is not the first time the Gates Foundation has spent millions of dollars to sway public opinion in favor of controversial education reform efforts. The foundation gave a $2 million grant in August 2010 to an organization called Advocacy & Public Policy to, as the proposal said, “execute a social action campaign that will complement Paramount’s marketing campaign of Waiting for Superman.” The film by Davis Guggenheim presented charter schools as if they are all successful, demonized a teachers union leader and was marketed as a documentary even though the director changed the order of some events for dramatic effect.

Bill Gates, after abandoning his unsuccessful $2 billion effort to break up large high schools and create a network of small schools, has turned his education focus to “effective teachers,” with effectiveness largely measured by how well students do on standardized tests. His foundation has plowed hundreds of millions of dollars into teacher assessment experiments in four districts. And it is also funding a project in which teachers are videotaped and the videos are sent to independent evaluators who have never visited the school and have a list of teaching skills to check off. Critics say that videotaped feedback can help a teacher but should only be done by people within a school, and should be used only for teacher development, not for evaluation.

Williams said that the organization is only tentatively named “Teaching First” and that it still has no date for its official launch. On the Web, there is page at http://www.teachingfirst.com/, but there is no information attached.

Here is what the grant lists as “the most significant grant outcomes in the first two years of Teaching First”:

“1. Establish Teaching First as a new entity with sufficient capacity to succeed in its mission and to sign off as an independent 501(c)(3) organization within 18 months.

“2. High credibility as a trusted source of information on issues related to teacher effectiveness and equitable access to effective teaching in each of the intensive partnership districts, and/or the enablement of local organization(s) to play the role of trusted expert in each locale.

“3. Negotiated subgrants, contracts, or partnerships with local organizations and community leaders who are willing to speak out publicly on the agenda of improving teacher effectiveness and ensuring that poor and minority students have their share of the best teachers.”

“4. An extensive contact lis of parents; teachers; students; community activists; and business, civic, and religious leaders who have expressed an intereseted in improving public education.

“5. Strong ties to local journalists, opinion elites, and local/state policymakers and their staffs, and frequent placement (for Teaching First, or, ideally, local/national partners) in local media coverage of issues related to teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers.

“6. A lead or supporting role in at least one local campaign in each intensive partnership locale. (Campaign may be focused diretly on demonstrating public support for teacher effectiveness agenda, may focus on policy or political obstacles to teacher effectiveness agenda, or may focus on a local priority that is only indirectly related to teacher effectiveness agenda, e.g. funding equity, to build a base of committed activists who can grow into strong supporters of the intensive partnership work.)

“7. An independent voice (i.e. independent of district- or union-based stakeholders) to participate in the public debates on improving teacher effectiveness, with a particular focus on advancing the work undertaken through the intensive partnerships.

“8. A compelling set of messages (phrases, key words, concepts, etc.) for use by Teaching First and local advocates to communicate about the need for teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effctive teachers and to advocate for policies to achieve those aims.”

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By Valerie Strauss  | March 10, 2011; 5:00 AM ET
Tags:  bill & melinda gates foundation, bill gates, gates foundation, school reform, teacher assessment, teacher evaluation, teachers, teaching first, value added models, value-added  
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Comments

NO THANK YOU Mr. Gates!

Posted by: valerie11 | March 10, 2011 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Is it me, or is there no mention of including teachers in the list of stakeholders? Wouldn't teachers be a good group to start with in gaging 'teacher effectiveness'? What I don't understand is why they are throwing all this money into this 'teacher effectiveness agenda' instead of throwing money at teacher training, you know like Finland (#1 in education world wide) does.

Posted by: speakthetruth2 | March 10, 2011 8:46 AM | Report abuse

Anybody here have a background in public relations? I do. "Teaching First" is a political front group. Shady Mr. Gates. Very shady.

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 10, 2011 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Gates is shrewd. He knows that to influence public policy you target the politicians, who are often more beholden to those with the loudest voice/deepest pockets. Gates will not take his message to teachers or parents, which is strange because teachers are your primary product providers and parents are your customers. It's the responsibility of the electorate/taxpayers to hold their representatives to account. If your elected officials become enamored with Gates' message (some say fall for the snake oil), you must hold them accountable for their actions.

Posted by: pdfordiii | March 10, 2011 10:31 AM | Report abuse

Between watching the Congressional hearings attacking all American Muslims and the vote to end collective bargaining in Wisconsin, and these continuous attacks on teachers and public schools by sleazy psuedo experts with big money, I'm wondering if I should sell my house and move to Canada..Oh! Yeah! The value of my house has decreased.

Posted by: ilcn | March 10, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Another example of corporate America's “divide and conquer” strategy. What’s worse is the fact that taxpayers are subsidizing (as tax-free) an organization bent on undermining their best interests.

Posted by: mcstowy | March 10, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Mrs. "mcstowy" may need to learn some tax economics. Mr. Gates says he is seeking approval of spending his own foundation's money for the various programs, such as "teacher effectiveness."

There is no taxpayer subsidy, as Mrs. mcstowy claims, as Mr. Gates already was subject to taxes on the earned income that was put, probably long ago, into the Gates Foundation.

Even the IRS does not tax a nonprofit for spending money. Perhaps Mrs. mcstowy would like to correct her error. But if, Washington-style, she simply wants to say, "mistakes were made," that is ok, too, of course.

The charges against Gates, Broad and the rest of the gang just hang in the air unproven until someone shows some proof. And to do that, some basic facts need to be put in place. Have been waiting for someone to begin to do that.

We'd be better off focusing our immense brainpower and fact base (of all folks on these blogs) on cost-savings and the elimination of waste in every DCPS expenditure stream, from heating oil to labor to overhead.

Posted by: OrdinaryDCPerson | March 10, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

The NEA & AFT spend 100s of millions of dollars each year to sway public opinion against education reform efforts. That reform advocates would spend a tiny fraction of that is indeed noteworthy.

Posted by: frankb1 | March 10, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

"The NEA & AFT spend 100s of millions of dollars each year to sway public opinion against education reform efforts. That reform advocates would spend a tiny fraction of that is indeed noteworthy.
Posted by: frankb1"

Two wrongs don't make it right.

Posted by: ilcn | March 10, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

What do you expect? With no facts or bona fide research to back up his proposals, and a record of failure on what he has tried, he doubles down on crazy and goes straight for the propaganda method to impose his insanity on the nations children. He just proved that he is absolutely clueless with his idea of increasing class sizes (among other things), and so has to spin his wares like an insane top to gain any traction at all. We are not fooled. Do us all a favor and go fix the Windows OS so we don't have to do patches anymore.

Posted by: CitizensArrest | March 10, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse

@OrdinaryDCPerson here are your facts, and they have been out there for all to see for a very long time. Just to twist the knife another turn, the "business models" proposed for education reform do not conform to established best practices that business's use to improve themselves, just the opposite. It's all about the money for the big 3 deformers as shown in the first link. Your contention that "The charges against Gates, Broad and the rest of the gang just hang in the air unproven until someone shows some proof." mark you as a paid troll.

http://ksdcitizens.org/2010/12/22/waiting-for-superfraud/

http://createchicago.blogspot.com/

www.parentsacrossamerica.org

Posted by: CitizensArrest | March 10, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Delusional. How on earth can Dufus Gates believe that his new education 501(c)3 alien offspring will actually be within the IRS guidelines to maintain hold of such status with all of the behind-the-scenes political activity and influence of candidates who compromise intelligence and wisdom in order to receive the bestowed graces and political position?

When the Dufus Gates Foundation aided states with their grant writing magic in order to secure federal grant funding, they had to comply with the wishes of Gates, which so happened to also be aligned with Duncan Inc., so the lotion rubbing the hairy backs was all from the same bottle. How is within the realm of worthiness for 501(c)3 status? Gates knows no boundaries (see page 10 of "Gate's proposal" noted in Valerie's article) and note the "ghost writer" stuff.

Gates and Duncan are adept at squeezing funds to schools/education so that politicians will fall prey to their schemes in order to secure the funding that flows from the Duo. So, the money (chow) pot is stocked, and those willing to get messy with Gates and Duncan will convince themselves that it is "for the kids" and good for education in general since in light of the alternative of having severely less funding (and maybe no heat), they cave and eat the gruel from the Gates & Duncan chow pot. Obama, via a misguided Congress, handed Duncan a sceptre (billions of dollars) to change the landscape of America. Pitiful state of educational affairs. Corruption, corruption. Democracy bows in the shadows, blocked by the glowing gold of the elite, the elite who use their wealth and influence to attempt to convince the people that they indeed do want the gruel after all, 'tis better than hunger.

Posted by: shadwell1 | March 10, 2011 2:01 PM | Report abuse

It's funny to see people make fun of Gates. Guess what? He's smarter than you?

None of this stuff is even remotely objectionable... "improving teacher effectiveness and ensuring that poor and minority students have their share of the best teachers."

I guess the hard part is that teachers' unions fight any measure of teacher effectiveness, except for those that give satisfactory ratings to just about everyone? Again, it's not mainly about getting rid of people. It is about looking at positive value-added results (which are MUCH more meaningful than raw scores) finding out behaviors and conditions lead to those results, and then training teachers in those methods.

Of course, you instead see Ms. Strauss and her friends mocking extremely useful materials such as Teach Like a Champion, which has very direct, actionable advice. Yet her side of the establishment prefers to simply provide platitudes and ask for latitude for teachers to teach what they want, how they want, when they want, regardless of the results.

Posted by: staticvars | March 10, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

@OrdinaryDCPerson

The point that mcstowy was making, I believe, is that a foundation takes their income which is TAX FREE and uses the money to "give away" to school districts (and state education departments in the case of helping to write RtTT applications)--with lots of strings attached. Because that is income which has been exempted from taxes that is used basically to effect policy--particularly in the case of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation because they do this activity with so MUCH money (and because Mr. Gates is very opinionated, really sure of his own ideas, and very aggressive about pushing them onto school systems) in a very real sense the taxpayer is "subsidizing" their experiments on America's schoolchildren, and they basically have no accountability to anyone. And if their experiments don't turn out so well (think: their "small schools" initiative...), oh well, they just move on.

Posted by: MathEdReseacher | March 10, 2011 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Translation on #8 above: How can we **spin** what we want to do? We need to come up with just the right buzzwords and "sound bites" to get public opinion on our side...

Posted by: MathEdReseacher | March 10, 2011 3:52 PM | Report abuse

@ staticvars-
"I guess the hard part is that teachers' unions fight any measure of teacher effectiveness, except for those that give satisfactory ratings to just about everyone?"

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average school district in 2007-2008 had 211.4 teachers. Of those 211.4 teachers, 4.4 of them were fired for poor performance. That's about two percent. I challenge you to find another profession with a higher termination rate.

Posted by: CDuerr | March 10, 2011 3:55 PM | Report abuse

BILL GATES
& his elite cronies' duplicitous,
grotesquely irresponsible and sleazy HYPOCRISY
is astounding !

Where is the "accountability" for...
> the CIA and other corrupt
govt. & Wall Street-affiliated players
involved with international drug smuggling
for decades (!)
-- deliberately inundating
communities & specific neighborhoods
with heroin,
cocaine, meth, pills (MDMA/ecstacy), etc.
It is a documented fact that the CIA
& corrupt elements of the U.S. govt.
& freemasons have been involved in
large-scale
heroin distribution operations and also
involved in the deliberately induced
crack cocaine epidemic targeting
black neighborhoods (for the
purposes of social undermining
& political-economic control).

Where is the "accountability" for...
> The 'entertainment' industry
flooding our youth with heinously toxic,
cognitively poisonous VIOLENT
VIDEO GAMES
and GANGSTER-THUG GLORIFYING music/videos that promote
crime, substance abuse, disgusting conduct,
mistreatment & violence against women,
anti-educational achievement,
anti-positive values, anti-professional careers,
anti-healthy, responsible behaviors !

Where is the "accountability" for
self-proclaimed edu-profiteer BILL GATES
& MICROSOFT
in producing & promoting VIOLENT, PATHOLOGICAL VIDEO GAMES, including
first-person shooter games,
such as HALO !!!??? --
which, unfortunately, too many of our
country's children, our country's students heinously waste
too much time messing around with,
messing themselves up with --
instead of healthfully, smartly & beneficially using that time for... productive experiences, studying, exploring/learning, participating in sports, teamwork, creative arts music,
outdoor activities & nature, significant time with friends & family,
engaging in community service !!

==> {continued.......}

Posted by: DelveResearch | March 10, 2011 6:12 PM | Report abuse

Where is the accountability for... VIACOM
& other media corporations
(eg. instead of the "BET" channel being utilized for positive, inspirational, educational
or meaningful programming --
it has mostly broadcast the worst sociopathic, demeaning, undermining junk --
promoting gangsterism & exploiting our vulnerable youth with pernicious mind-killing crap).

FACT! --
Where is the "accountability" for Wall Street
& elite financiers,
such as MERRILL LYNCH and OPPENHEIMER,
previously the MAIN INVESTORS & SHAREHOLDERS
owning majority stock in the company
that produced the 'GRAND THEFT AUTO' video game
as its main product !!!

Also, what about the corporate soda-pop
& junk food pushers targeting children ?!

The reality is that ethical, caring, dedicated
public school teachers have been the
'good samaritans' courageously
teaching with tremendous effort daily
to educate & constructively help children --
to transcend, overcome hardship,
to cultivate wellbeing & achievement --
despite the grotesque obstacles
& destruction foisted on us by
irresponsible, unscrupulous, rapacious and
duplicitous corporate execs. & financial elites,
(societally-sabotaging/damaging,
corrupt oligarchs, such as Goldman Sachs,
J.P.Morgan/Rothschild scamsters et. al.
who've caused millions of children & families to be homeless.

=============================

Posted by: DelveResearch | March 10, 2011 6:13 PM | Report abuse

In 2006, staffers at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) brought significant concerns to TEA's Office of Inspector General regarding a Gates consultant, “public-private partnerships,” no-bid contracts, conflict-ridden subcontractors, and the evasion of state legislative policies using state discretionary grant funds. The Gates consultant obtained contracts for his ex-wife and worked to influence state policies regarding discretionary grants and contracts.

The TEA OIG report is a MUST READ:

http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/pdf/06/062807_OIG_Report.pdf

“Bill Gates wants his agenda to be presented to these sorts of groups. The Gates Foundation Consultant described the subcontractor’s work to include integrating Gates Foundation into articles, host panels, identify keynote speakers, and find organizations through which Gates agenda can be presented.” (pg. 17)

Josh Benton, Dallas Morning News reported on the influence of Gates Foundation workers in June 2007.

http://www.clipfile.org/2007/06/28/902/

http://gateskeepers.civiblog.org/blog/_archives/2007/7/1/3061782.html

Gates Inc. operates on a national level inside and outside the US Department of Education through influence peddling. Taxpayers need investigative reporting about the misguided control of public education by the billionaire philanthropists.

Related to public education, Gates works to control the media without regard for the truth.

https://beyondthecurtain.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/gates-foundation-controls-media-through-massive-journalism-grants/

Posted by: nfsbrrpkk | March 10, 2011 6:38 PM | Report abuse

If he had ideas and no money attached to them, people would not give him the time of day.

Posted by: veteranteacher1 | March 10, 2011 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Mathedresearcher: the funds coming into a foundation have already been taxed once. You want to do it again? Do you want to tax all nonprofits, e.g., church, Girl Scouts, unions, Salv. Army...?

Gates seems to be able to admit mistaken investments, e.g., high school size project. What other funder or author of education research has been so candid?

Who's responsible for the research underlying education of today's teachers? Today's methods? Who's waiting for the applause?

You call Gates-funded work "experimentation?" Many big-city systems are monuments to trial-and-error, on the one hand, or, the failure of hand-crafted, pricey, peer-reviewed, gold plated educational research on the other. How many enterprises of any type get away with such a track record? And, at taxpayer expense or subsidy? Defense contractors come to mind.

It is a miracle that any aspect of public schools ever gets better. Wake up: it isn't working. Who is making it better? Who you gonna call?

@CitizensArrest: No, I'd starve if I got paid for "this." Why? From perusing a few threads here, it's clear that minds aren't open, and no one ever wins a point. In that respect, these Post blogs are a good mirror of American Public Education--negligible change, and continuing decline. Again, who you gonna call?

Posted by: OrdinaryDCPerson | March 10, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

OrdinaryDCPerson,

RE:

"@CitizensArrest: No, I'd starve if I got paid for "this." Why? From perusing a few threads here, it's clear that minds aren't open, and no one ever wins a point.

I think you're missing the point of the work done by paid posters (PR professionals). They don't need to change the minds of other posters. They only need to keep repeating some party line to give the impression that there are a lot of people out there who agree with this, that or someone. "No one ever wins a point." Certainly someone wins a point. Apparently, what you mean is that the ideology you root for doesn't win a point.

Do you think people would stand for a church's foundation to pour millions of dollars into public schools, taxed or untaxed? I think not. Then why is it ok for the religion of capitalism to try to propagate their faith in our public schools?

"What other funder or author of education research has been so candid?" How about Diane Ravitc? She's done a 180 in her thinking about NCLB and has been very vocal about it.

"Who's responsible for the research underlying education of today's teachers? " Probably the corporations that the underwrote the grants given to the institutions that the research was performed at.

"Wake up: it isn't working." Bill Gates says: “Our student achievement has remained virtually flat”

The only longitudinal measure of student achievement that is available to Bill Gates or anyone else is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)…

On these exams, American students have improved substantially, in some cases phenomenally. In general, the improvements have been greatest for African-American students, and among these, for the most disadvantaged. The improvements have been greatest for both black and white 4th and 8th graders in math…

Bill Gates may think that these improvements are insufficient, and perhaps he is correct. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan reportedly quipped, “everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.” No rational reading of these NAEP data can support Bill Gates’ claim that “student achievement has remained virtually flat” over the last four decades. And, to repeat, no other longitudinal data are available that describe student achievement over time.
http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/

There are a couple more points for my ideology.

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 1:46 AM | Report abuse

Forgot two quote marks.
I is not a plagiarist.

"The only longitudinal measure of student achievement that is available to Bill Gates or anyone else is the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)…

On these exams, American students have improved substantially, in some cases phenomenally. In general, the improvements have been greatest for African-American students, and among these, for the most disadvantaged. The improvements have been greatest for both black and white 4th and 8th graders in math…

Bill Gates may think that these improvements are insufficient, and perhaps he is correct. But, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan reportedly quipped, “everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not to their own facts.” No rational reading of these NAEP data can support Bill Gates’ claim that “student achievement has remained virtually flat” over the last four decades. And, to repeat, no other longitudinal data are available that describe student achievement over time."
http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 1:48 AM | Report abuse

The mainstream media is broken. We need to help each other find the best and most reliable news outlets. Then we need to help others find these outlets.

Smart Guy (Gates) makes my list of “Dumbest Stuff I’ve Ever Read!”

http://schoolfinance101.wordpress.com/2011/03/02/smart-guy-gates-makes-my-list-of-dumbest-stuff-ive-ever-read/

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:25 AM | Report abuse

Spring Chickens and Seasoned Birds

http://failingschools.wordpress.com/

"This post has been categorized as “humor” but to be honest, it’s no laughing matter. Denver Public Schools initiated its ill-conceived plan to “turn around” 6 schools in the Far Northeast. They’re even trying to think of a cutesy name to apply to the project. Meanwhile, teachers, children, families, and schools have been disrupted tremendously. The disruption continues as teachers (at least 400) look for jobs and the district in its infinite wisdom has decided to move principals around from current jobs to their new (shell game) jobs immediately after Spring Break. Here is a rendering of the job fair provided on Monday, March 7th for displaced Denver teachers. (Human Resources had promised workshops to assist with portfolio and resume building but they were not available in Pandora’s building. Maybe that was another benefit available to the privileged few.)"

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:32 AM | Report abuse

I have been posting as fast as I can and I am nowhere near frankb1's post count. You others need to help me out. I am convinced that frankb1 is...IBM's Watson (sarcasm).

http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/

"Like the Whos, getting louder and stronger and bolder!
The Cat in the Hat and Old Geisel himself
would be pleased as Horton to see books off the shelf
to celebrate Birthdays and Reading and such
but more important than that, more important-- much, much--
to see folks stand together, like the Whos, shoulder to shoulder
Getting louder, pissed-offer, and stronger and bolder
in defense of our schools and our kids' education
and declare We're the Wealthiest of States - among Nations!
Top Spending for Prisons! 48th for our schools?!!
It's time to make changes to ridiculous rules!
Tax the oilers, the polluters and the corporate wealthy
Spend the money to make our kids' futures look healthy.
Time to confront the gov'ner, the Once-ler, the Rul-ers
Fight for the rights of our collegers and pre-schoolers.
Tell them all that we've HAD it with public school sadness
We're together to oppose this cut-to-bones madness!
Parents, students, administrators, community, teachers,
Pack the buses, the highways, the aisles and the bleachers!"

By Toni Morozumi, California public school teacher (Oakland Unified School District)

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:35 AM | Report abuse

http://gateseducationreport.blogspot.com/

"Welcome to the Gates Education Report, an online resource dedicated to Bill's attempt to reform public education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began investing heavily in education as we entered the new millennium, and all indicators point to increased involvement by Gates and other philanthropists in the future. While it's laudable that Bill is willing to give away his fortune, his giving is directly impacting - for better or worse - a cherished public institution: America's public schools. Should the public be concerned about private philanthropy's involvement?"

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:37 AM | Report abuse

I don't have $3.5 million, but maybe I am a one man PR machine tonight.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/the-most-dangerous-man-in_b_641832.html?view=print

The most dangerous man in America
"Bill Gates sure is a popular guy. He is appearing this afternoon at the national conference of the American Federation of Teachers in Seattle, after having recently been the keynote speaker at the annual National Charter School convention.

Just this week, Warren Buffett announced he was giving an additional $1.6 billion to the Gates Foundation, which already had a $35 billion endowment; by far the largest in the nation.

In the past eight years, the foundation has spent nearly $4 billion promoting his personal education agenda; at first providing subsidies to districts that would agree to close down large neighborhood high schools and start small schools in their place; and now encouraging the rapid and widespread proliferation of charter schools. Gates also is aggressively promoting efforts to create programs that link teacher evaluation and compensation to standardized test scores.

And his generosity has not merely been expressed through his foundation. In 2008, he contributed four million dollars to help persuade state legislators to extend mayoral control in New York City .

As Gates explained at the time,

"You want to allow for experimentation.... The cities where our foundation has put the most money is where there is a single person responsible."
In other words, he supported mayoral control because it allowed him to impose his large-scale experiments on inner city public school students, without fear of resistance from communities; instead, he has only to convince one person. No wrestling with elected school boards, nor with parents who resent having their children's schools closed, privatized, or otherwise radically transformed; no need to bother with any of the messy artifacts of democracy which might stand in his way.

According to publicity materials put out by the Gates Foundation, it has "improved 2,602 schools, engaged 40 school districts, and reached at least 781,000 students."

Actually, it has reached lot more students than that, as its small schools initiative had a profound impact on inner city schools with the most disadvantaged children.

In recent years the Gates initiative has turned districts upside-down, at first establishing as many small schools as possible, creating thousands of new administrator jobs, eating up classroom space, and compelling the neediest kids who were excluded from the new small schools to travel long distances to attend even more overcrowded large schools in worse conditions than before, relegating those schools to failure..."

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:42 AM | Report abuse

http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/07/like-lambs-being-led-to-slaughter.html

Like lambs being led to the slaughter

"Newsflash! Bill Gates has now been publicly heckled. Watch the July 9 video here.
And just three days after being subjected to that humiliation in his hometown of Seattle, the Washington Post rushed in to his defense. Bright and early on the morning of Monday, July 12, WaPo readers opened their papers to find the following: “Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system.”

Of course, it is especially important to note that both Melinda Gates and Warren E. Buffett, who is a major donor to the Gates Foundation, sit on the board of directors of The Washington Post Co.

The reason Bill Gates was heckled by a group of teacher protesters during his appearance at the AFT convention is because they oppose the enormous role which the Gates Foundation is playing re the privatization of public education and the weakening of the teachers' unions. Among other efforts, the foundation has poured millions of dollars into supporting mayoral control, dismantling neighborhood schools, and expanding charter schools. These teachers labeled Gates as a "Trojan Horse in the AFT House.”

The day following his AFT appearance, Leonie Haimson called Gates “The most dangerous man in America,” a Huffington Post piece which widely circulated in the edu-blogosphere."

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:44 AM | Report abuse

http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/2010/07/like-lambs-being-led-to-slaughter.html

"*The Master Plan to eliminate urban public school districts, as clearly outlined by the Fordham Institute's Andy Smarick in "Wave of the Future" (Winter 2008):

First, commit to drastically increasing the charter market share in a few select communities until it is the dominant system and the district is reduced to a secondary provider. The target should be 75 percent.

Second, choose the target communities wisely. Each should begin with a solid charter base (at least 5 percent market share), a policy environment that will enable growth (fair funding, nondistrict authorizers, and no legislated caps), and a favorable political environment (friendly elected officials and editorial boards, a positive experience with charters to date, and unorganized opposition). [Smarick's suggests the "potentially fertile districts" of Albany, Buffalo, Denver, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, New Orleans, Oakland, and Washington, D.C.]

Third, secure proven operators to open new schools. To the greatest extent possible, growth should be driven by replicating successful local charters and recruiting high-performing operators from other areas.

Fourth, engage key allies like Teach For America, New Leaders for New Schools, and national and local foundation to ensure the effort has the human and financial capital needed.

Last, commit to rigorously assessing charter performance in each community and working with authorizers to close the charters that fail to significantly improve student achievement. "

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:46 AM | Report abuse

http://perimeterprimate.blogspot.com/search/label/Bill%20Gates

"Bill Gates says: “Spending has climbed, but our percentage of college graduates has dropped compared with other countries.”

This is the Bill Gates claim that can properly be called demagogic. It attempts to agitate readers by presenting a positive development in a negative light. A climb in spending should produce an increase in the percentage of college graduates. And it has. In the last four decades, the percentage of college graduates in the United States has nearly doubled. In 1970, 16% of young adults (ages 25 to 29) were college graduates. Today, it is 31%. The improvement has been across the board: the share of African-American young adults who are college graduates has gone from 10% to 19%; for whites it has gone from 17% to 37%. Somehow, Bill Gates saw fit to present this as an indictment…"

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 2:48 AM | Report abuse

RE: Valerie Strauss's article

"But in a section entitled “Risks,” the proposal says that one big risk “is that Teaching First will be characterized as a tool of the Foundation.” To avoid that, it says, “Teaching First will need to be very careful about the national partners it brings into the work” and should “maintain a low public profile” and “ensure publicity and credit accrue to local partners whenever possible.”

Sounds like advice from the same PR flacks that told Melinda Gates to step down from the board of directors of WAPO.

Posted by: stevendphoto | March 11, 2011 3:04 AM | Report abuse

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