06.07.10

US Education Steps Aside for Bill

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Intellectual Monopoly at 6:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

US Department of Education seal

Summary: How the Gates family continues to gain power over the operation of public services, education included

THE Gates Foundation is widely known as a charity even though it operates as though it’s a company with people inside panels and conference representatives (the Gates Foundation has a keynote position in the STEM summit). In our previous post we showed that staff which left the Gates Foundation proceeded to serving a similar agenda. It’s called “revolving doors” when it comes to companies such as Monsanto.

Last month we wrote many posts about the new book from Diane Ravitch — one where she criticises the Gates Foundation for interference in public education [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. Watch what happens in Minnesota, which sold out to Microsoft two weeks ago. The head of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities is heading towards the Gates helm.

The MnSCU vice chancellor who’s had her hands full with the system’s credit-transfer issues — a sore subject for students and some legislators — is taking a job at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Linda Baer, vice chancellor for academic and student affairs for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, will become a senior officer with the Gates Foundation’s Post-Secondary Success Initiative. The Gates Foundation has been spending a lot of money on college readiness and post-secondary efforts across the country — unlike the budget-slashing in public higher education — so it stands to reason such a job would be attractive.

Baer is already being replaced by Olson [1, 2], but mysteries remain about Baer’s motives. The Gates Foundation monopolises/colonises education and its latest hire will probably be invaluable. How about this new one?

Sacramento, California – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the appointment of Dan Schnur as chair of the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

[...]

Schnur has served as an advisor to the William & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Broad Education Foundation, James Irvine Foundation and Stuart Foundation on a variety of K-12 education, college and workforce preparedness, governance and political reform efforts.

“K-12 education,” eh? Gates agenda may be served here, as usual.

Larry Ferlazzo writes about “neocolonialism” this month and he names Gates too. Specifically, he refers to Ravitch who warned about the Gates Foundation directing national educational policy:

I often felt frustrated, however, by how most (though not all) foundations who sought public policy change would decide that they knew what the problem was; they knew how it should be fixed; and they knew how long it should take to fix it. Community groups, desperate for funding, would then often tailor their priorities around the funders’ agenda and the funders would become the groups de facto constituency. The groups’ genuine constituency — low and moderate income residents — would then be “brought along”….sometimes, and often for the short-term.

Of course, this strategy is contrary to how many major policy changes have often been made. In many instances, people who are most affected by the problem take a primary role in developing a solution and the political power to make it a reality (I’ll write more about this history in a future post). The foundation-driven strategy is the antithesis of how long-term effective community organizing works.

But many well-meaning foundations just don’t seem to see this.

[...]

We feel that the best way to respond to the research findings in this report that highlight how poverty issues affect student academic achievement is by helping parents, schools, and other community residents participate more in public life and develop the self-confidence and life skills to do so effectively. Funders should support schools and community groups who want to engage residents and local institutions like religious congregations, business groups, neighborhood associations in conversations about how these problems affect their local communities and what they think should be done about it. Funders should support those schools and community groups who want to listen and work with residents as partners. Funders should leverage the relationships they have with public and corporate officials so these community groups can develop their own relationships with them.

[...]

In the education field (and I’m sure in other areas, too), I’d suggest that there are a sizable group of funders who go further, and who can be even more damaging to the long-term public good. This is how Diane Ravitch describes them:

“The Billionaires Boys Club” is a discussion of how we’re in a new era of the foundations and their relation to education. We have never in the history of the United States had foundations with the wealth of the Gates Foundation and some of the other billionaire foundations—the Walton Family Foundation, The Broad Foundation. And these three foundations—Gates, Broad and Walton—are committed now to charter schools and to evaluating teachers by test scores. And that’s now the policy of the US Department of Education. We have never seen anything like this, where foundations had the ambition to direct national educational policy, and in fact are succeeding.

I’d characterize their attitude as being closer to neocolonialism, which a dictionary describes as “dominance by economic and cultural influence.”

Many might say that I’m overstating the case. But it seems to me that Eli Broad doesn’t hide that perspective when he tells the Wall Street Journal:

…he is enthusiastic about all the change that is possible when urban school districts go bankrupt—as Oakland, Calif., did a few years ago—”or what happened in New Orleans, which is the equivalent of bankruptcy.”

What do you think? Am I being too harsh?

There is no doubt about it. The Gates Foundation is changing policy in public schools. We gave a lot of examples and here is a new example from the news:

But it was Hillsborough’s reforms with the Gates Foundation that prompted the largest number of comments from the crowd. Superintendent Elia said her district hopes to pave the way for similar changes across Florida and the nation.

Strings are being attached.

Here is another new example where the Gates Foundation is leaving them to compete by changing themselves according to the paymaster.

August: Only one day into the school year, district officials learned they lost their bid for the Gates grant to improve teacher effectiveness and a system where fewer than 25 percent of high school graduates were deemed ready for higher education.

The Gates Foundation is showing up whenever policies can be tweaked, essentially replacing government function, i.e. privatising it. To wit:

Third, foundation resources—and this will sound almost sanctimonious—are a uniquely precious resource for society at large. Not, in general, by dint of their size, because most philanthropies are not of the Bill Gates or Ford Foundation scale—they tend to be quite small in terms of assets. Nor can they be seen as a replacement for the federal purse in paying for social programs. Their enormous value lies in the versatility and adaptability of their use.

“Gates Foundation support” to make policies can also be found in last week’s news, not to mention another article about Diane Ravitch. The article is titled “In the Thrall of the Billionaire Boys Club”:

I’m no expert on public education either, but I know an expert when I see one. Diane Ravitch has been the nation’s preeminent historian of education since her book The Troubled Crusade: American Education 1945-1980 appeared in 1983. She served as assistant secretary of education under George H. W. Bush. For forty years she has pondered each new proposal for restructuring schools as it has come along, often with considerable sympathy: vouchers, charter schools, curriculum reform, standardized testing, punitive teacher accountability.

In her new book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education, Ravitch describes the evidence that has changed her views of strategies that once seemed promising to her. (Her title’s echo of Jane Jacobs’ great 1961 book on urban life is intentional: she began her career in Manhattan in 1968, at a time when Jacobs was leading her epic battle against highway-planner Robert Moses.) The nostrums that school districts, Congress, and federal officials are pursuing, that mega-rich foundations are supporting, that editorial boards are applauding, are mistaken, she says, fundamentally flawed because they are built on a market metaphor. Schools don’t work like businesses, she says Public education should be preserved “because it is so intimately connected to our concepts of citizenship and democracy and to the promise of American life.” To that end she offers a series of prescriptions:

[...]

Ravitch is especially good on the influence of what she calls the “Billionaire Boy’s Club” – the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (the Microsoft fortune), the Walton Family Foundation (Wal-Mart), and the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation (home-building and finance) – that have eclipsed the older foundations long associated with education policy (Ford, Rockefeller, Carnegie and Annenberg) as the powerful big givers. Sometimes described as “venture philanthropies” or exponents of “philanthrocapitalism,” meaning their methods are borrowed from start-up finance and management, the Gates, Walton and Broad foundations see their grants as investments, designed to produce measurable results. And though they preach accountability to teachers, they receive relatively little scrutiny themselves – or even much dissent, given the power of their interlocking grants to exclude critics. All that money buys a lot of silence, Ravitch says, not to mention admiring friends. The Teach for America program, with its youthful cadre of 24,000 veterans, in one of the fruits of philanthrocapitalism; the Race to the Top is another.

These are investments, not donations. Here is more recent information on "philanthrocapitalism". There is a new article titled “Michael Green interview. On Philanthrocapitalism, Thatcher and why globalisation is a good thing.” One has to be careful when there is expansion of US rich lists for national power with national support. It benefits very few people, certainly not the public at large.

Watch who’s working with Gates (the clique of rich families shows up again):

Napa Valley Community Foundation has published the results of a confidential donor survey conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, an independent nonprofit research organization that provides assessment and analysis tools to clients like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Here is more evidence of the Gates Foundation taking control of education. It’s just days old and it’s critical:

Education conversation and the Gates Foundation

[...]

Meanwhile, Professors, Learned Societies & commercial schools, and some painfully self-serving non-profit foundations and Universities never even address the need for solid pedagogic content. The current crop of in-charge “Leaders” dangerously resembles the Investment Bankers who remain in charge of the economic systems that they nearly bankrupted. A leveraged operation like a major newspaper, teacher organization or more ideally the US Department of Education should hold an ongoing “convention” of the nation’s leading educators to consider and endorse a covenant of principles and more importantly prescriptive practices. This should be done on a website that transparently allows entries to be challenged, tweaked and further specified for different age-grade-situational conditions. Sadly there is no free market in which monitored packaged bids & buys help to identify the best ideas and practices (Sound familiar?).

The Gates Foundation also wants to control public libraries, as we demonstrated in older posts. A bunch of self-serving ‘studies’ is how it’s done. Don’t publications see the conflicts of interest? It’s not as though these studies are independent.

The study was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Thanks to an excellent Web site that we never saw before (it’s partly in French), we are beginning to see more evidence supporting Gates’ vision of ‘DRM’ (in the scarcity sense) in books. And to make matters worse, watch how the Gates Foundation impedes criticism:

Bill Gates Foundation: no link without permission, and the 10 issues

According to the Terms of Use of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Web site [1] concerning “Your Links to Our Site” (point #11) :

You are not permitted to link or shortcut to our Site from your Web site, blog or similar application, without obtaining prior written permission from us. (source: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/about/Pages/terms-of-use.aspx, link created)

Pamela Jones wrote about it: “Bill Gates never did grok the Internet, which, when you think about it, has value *only* because people link to each other, but look at this section:

Much of the Content on the Site is not available for downloading, such as our copyrighted works that we do not distribute or works of others that we are not permitted to distribute. However, we also have a significant amount of Content that we have designated as Content that may be downloaded by you pursuant to these Terms (“Available Content”). YOU MAY REVIEW, DOWNLOAD, COPY, DISTRIBUTE AND USE THE AVAILABLE CONTENT SOLELY FOR THE PURPOSE OF FURTHERING YOUR MISSION IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF YOUR GOVERNMENTAL OR CHARITABLE PURPOSE AND ATTENDANT OPERATIONS. YOU MAY NOT SELL THE AVAILABLE CONTENT OR OTHERWISE DISTRIBUTE IT FOR A FEE. YOU WILL NOT USE OR DISCLOSE IT OR THE SITE TO ANY THIRD PARTIES EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY PERMITTED BY THESE TERMS.

“Now, I’m a paralegal, and I have no idea which is which. What can I download and what can’t I? And is there no fair use in Gatesland? And did I read this correctly, that we can’t disclose the site to third parties? I guess I’m breaking their law then, by telling you about this. Happily, I am a US citizen, and I get to rely on the laws of my country, not the edicts of Gates or his foundation. But if I was glad before that Gates was unable to capture the Internet, think of my enhanced joy on reading these terms of us. If the entire Internet was like this, I’d stop it and get off. This is how his Internet would look, I suppose, and if you read the terms carefully, it’s all rights to them (they get to use and distribute your words, I notice, without you getting to delineate what you do or don’t want them to use) and none to you other than what they specifically grant. Formats-Ouverts links to Tim Berners-Lee on linking and free speech: “The ability to refer to a document (or a person or any thing else) is in general a fundamental right of free speech to the same extent that speech is free. Making the reference with a hypertext link is more efficient but changes nothing else.””

Glyn Moody writes:

Does the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Get the Web?

[...]

Bill Gates’s decision to move away from day-to-day running of Microsoft was doubly shrewd. First, because it allowed him to leave when his company was at its apogee, and to avoid association with its current – inevitable – decline (notice how the meme that Microsoft is irrelevant is becoming widespread?) And secondly, it enabled him to help Microsoft extend its reach – especially in developing countries – by other means, while earning plaudits for his charitable work.

Unpicking the complex weft and weave of philanthropy and self-interest at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation would require an entire book (and no, don’t worry, I won’t be writing it). Rather than plunging into that maelstrom, I wanted to pick up an extraordinary aspect of the Foundation’s site, spotted by Thierry Stoehr.

It’s rather telling that the Terms of Use for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation run to no less than *seven* pages when printed out (who knew that using the Web was such a complicated and risky operation?).

Wildeboer from Red Hat puts it another way: “with linux you are not allowed to interact with Bill and Melinda Gates foundation. Win/Mac only”

As usual, the Gates Foundation is trying to control the message with its massive PR teams. Here are the latest prominent examples of PR in the big press, ranging from glorification/PR for Melinda to CNN PR (Larry King) that acts as book promotion for Bill and his father. We saw that last year as well.

Microsoft boosters are all over this, not to mentioned the mainstream/trade press [1, 2, 3], which goes well beyond that to glorify Bill Gates [1, 2].

Bill’s known problems of megalomania are being brought up again:

Bill Gates and his dad, Bill Gates Sr., admitted to a soldout audience Wednesday night that the future founder of Microsoft was such a discipline problem as a young teen that he and his parents went into family therapy for two years.

That’s right. Bill has always been a problematic person. The late Ed Roberts, Gates’ employer at MITS in the early days of the PC, said that Bill Gates “acted like a spoiled kid, which is what he was.” He still is. This PR exercise is just part of his character; it’s glorification as opposed to truism. Here in the UK Gates has just scored another self-glorifying piece.

But it is not just the corridors of power that Gates is attempting to influence. Three weeks ago, in India, he was involved in a round-table discussion with “all the big banks, the big cellphone companies and the regulators” to try to reach an agreement on delivering mobile phone banking to India’s poorest.

And in the US there is USA Today to glorify Gates (with responses in other self-serving outlets).

Reuters covered this public appearance of the Gates family, summarising it as: “Bill Gates Sr says wealth is ‘not having to worry’” (easy for him to say).

It is not the first time that we see this pair, namely Bill Gates working together with his father, whose role in monopolisation and lobbying we routinely show here (more recently when it comes to tax evasion). The public is a lot more complacent and calm if the oppressor is portrayed as a national hero to be revered.

Share in other sites/networks: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Reddit
  • email

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 26/1/2021: Mozilla Firefox 85.0, Tails 4.15, Zentyal Server 7.0, GNOME 40 Alpha

    Links for the day



  2. Instead of Making Access to COVID-19 Solutions Easier Bill Gates Has Made It Harder (Patent Profits)

    Counterproductively — and at a great cost to human civilisation — Bill Gates has once again put profits and monopoly ahead of global goals such as collective health



  3. We Need More Documents Leaked to Know Intel (From the) Inside

    We invite more leaks from the belly of the beast "chipzilla", seeing that it is becoming a drone of Microsoft again, yearning for the "Wintel" days instead of moving on to a world dominated by GNU/Linux and Free/libre software



  4. Why GNU/Linux Users (and the Public at Large) Should Support Leaking/Whistleblowing Sites (Including Wikileaks)

    To demonstrate the value of "scientific journalism" (a term apparently coined by Wikileaks) we take a look at Red Hat's response to embarrassing leaks (demonstrating what a scam their certification and examination programmes really are)



  5. EPO President António Campinos is Still Not Listening, According to Internal EPO Documents

    Increasingly arrogant and unaccountable management of Europe's second-largest institution (EPO) has left staff disillusioned but still defiant; there's clearly unsuitable or unfit-for-purpose management at the EPO, self-selecting based on nepotism/loyalty so as to cover up abuses



  6. Why You Should Give Falkon (the Web Browser) a Chance on GNU/Linux, BSD, or Windows

    In this crazy new world where advertisers are the real customers and Web users ("audiences") have been reduced to mere products we need a browser that isn't controlled by a company; try Falkon



  7. Kluwer Patent Spin and Distortion of Facts (Regarding UPC and More)

    Kluwer Patent Blog disgraces the firm that puts its name on it; instead of sticking to facts they're distorting the facts and the sole/principal goal is to manipulate/mislead the public and public servants



  8. Links 26/1/2021: 4MLinux 35.1, GParted 1.2, Gnuastro 0.14

    Links for the day



  9. IRC Proceedings: Monday, January 25, 2021

    IRC logs for Monday, January 25, 2021



  10. It's Wrong to Assume Red Hat Competes With Microsoft

    The community ought to stop pretending that one monopoly seeks to replace another despite close partnerships (some would say "collusion") between the two



  11. EPO Staff Representation Complains That EPO Management Exploits Pandemic and 'House Arrests' to Overwork Staff, Lower Quality

    The EPO keeps breaking its promises to workers; not only are key employees seeing their net salary cut (inflation factored in) but pensioners too are being robbed and in the meantime the total time spent on work is increasing



  12. Fake News is Not a 'Wing' Thing

    The two-party corporate-led system (and media) would have us obsess/bicker about accuracy of news based on some binary/dual system of blind loyalty rather than underlying facts and priorities



  13. Links 25/1/2021: Huawei on GNU/Linux, NuTyX 20.12.1, Whisker Menu 2.5.3, Lutris 0.5.8.3, Linux 5.11 RC5

    Links for the day



  14. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in ZDNet is the Norm

    ZDNet continues to emit lots of garbage 'journalism', in effect Microsoft PR and what's known as "black PR" for Linux; just like Bleeping Computer, which ZDNet hired this writer from, there's no adherence to facts, just smears and innuendo



  15. Truth Tellers Aren't an Enemy of Free Software

    There's a perpetual attack on people who speak out against actors and corporations in positions of great power, however subtle and indirect those attacks may seem on the surface (they don't wish to be held accountable for defaming activists)



  16. The Linux Foundation, With Over 124 Million Dollars in Annual Revenue, is in Trouble Because of the Pandemic, So It's Trying to Reinvent Itself as Training and Certifications Outfit

    With mountains of cash and a Public Relations (PR) or marketing business model the so-called 'Linux' Foundation became reliant on travel, lodging, booths and speeches on sale; COVID-19 is a great risk to that business model



  17. IRC Proceedings: Sunday, January 24, 2021

    IRC logs for Sunday, January 24, 2021



  18. Our Move Further Away From the World Wide Web, the Browser Monopolies, HTTP, and HTML

    The World Wide Web (WWW) is going down a bad path and a clearly regressive direction; the solution isn't going 'retro' but exploring more sophisticated systems which are robust to censorship (localised or globalised) and downtime (related to censorship) while reducing surveillance by leveraging encryption at the endpoints



  19. Important Issues Not Entertained in the Community, Especially Critics of the Status Quo

    here's corporate infiltration inside communities (for oligarchy hunts volunteer, unpaid labour) and those who speak about that as a threat to our cause and objectives are painted as misguided outcasts who must be ignored



  20. Internet Origins of the Mob

    Reprinted with permission from Daniel Pocock



  21. When Proprietary Software Users Dictate the Freedom-Leaning Communities

    Fedora doesn't care about software freedom and its steward (or parent company) is sometimes imposing proprietary software on staff; they've quit caring



  22. In 2020 Onwards 'Open Source' is Just a Marketing Ploy of Monopolies, Unlike Free Software

    More people are nowadays seeing or witnessing 'Open Source' for what it truly is; the term has become a misleading marketing term of proprietary software firms looking to rebrand as "ethical" (e.g. by sharing some code with other proprietary software firms, over proprietary platforms such as GitHub)



  23. Microsoft: The Year After We Bought GitHub There Was a Significant Decline in Number of New Projects on GitHub

    Microsoft has just admitted that in 2019 GitHub saw a very significant decline in number of new projects (and users, which it is conveniently miscounting by adding 'phantom' ones) on the site. Just what we had heard before they confirmed it (and they foresaw this effect of the takeover, hence the lies about "loving" Linux).



  24. Social Control Media is a Passing Fad, We Should All Go Back to Blogging and Subscribing to RSS Feeds

    The whole "social control media" phenomenon has been oversold or promoted using lies; in reality, as a mountain of evidence serves to show, it's a way to manage society at a macro scale



  25. As Andrei Iancu Removes Himself From the Patent and Trademark Office All Eyes Are on Biden's Next Nomination

    Patent zealots and their front groups already lobby Joe Biden to put one of them in charge of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; we'll soon see if Joe Biden "means business" or simply means monopoly/large corporations (and their law firms/departments)



  26. Data Point: GNU/Linux Share in Desktops/Laptops Nearly Tripled in the Past Decade, Peaking This Past Month (All-Time High)

    Contrary to what some publishers try to tell us, GNU/Linux is still growing and mostly at the expense of Windows



  27. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 23, 2021

    IRC logs for Saturday, January 23, 2021



  28. Links 24/1/2021: Nouveau X.Org Driver Release and GhostBSD 21.01.20

    Links for the day



  29. InteLeaks – Part XXX: Harbor Research's Pseudo-scientific 'Research' for Intel, Bizarrely Suggesting a Microsoft Partnership for a Domain Largely Controlled or Dominated by Linux

    The full document that Intel paid for and in turn used to justify cracking down on Free software (obliterating Free software-based workflows inside Intel), instead outsourcing all sorts of things to proprietary software traps of Microsoft



  30. Chromium and Chrome Are Not Free Software But an Example of Microsoft-Fashioned Openwashing Tactics

    It's time to reject Google's Web monopoly (shared with other companies but still an oligopoly); removing its Web browser would be a good start


RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

Recent Posts