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08.03.10

Gates Foundation Staff and Affiliates Enter School Boards in the United States

Posted in Bill Gates, Meeting, Microsoft at 3:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Preschool scenery

Summary: Bill Gates’ agenda in US education takes further steps and the Huffington Post calls Bill Gates “the most dangerous man in America”

THE Gates Foundation is intervening a great deal in matters which were originally assigned to government agencies and state workers. This is bad news to democracy and good news for Microsoft.

Some people may recall Microsoft’s “school of the future” push, which we last mentioned over a month ago [1, 2]. The name is designed to imply that Microsoft is the only future in schools and the company is using the same old tricks to advance itself with PR at homes (“Home of the future”).

Bill Gates himself is meanwhile seen changing (“reforming” is often a euphemism of choice) the schooling system in the United States. When it comes to influence in education, nobody else seems to have more impact these days and informed individuals are not happy about it:

Skeptics say the Microsoft founder is foisting a business-driven agenda on schools without understanding the challenges of public education. “I suspect that eight years from now, the Gates Foundation will say, ‘Whoops, we made another big boo-boo. What should we do now?’ ” education historian Diane Ravitch said.

The influence is likely to increase as Gates is expanding his philanthro-capitalistic business (recently in London and now in the United States) and what we found very interesting is that there are already protests from teachers and Leonie Haimson called Gates “the most dangerous man in America” (that’s the headline of the piece in the Huffington Post). “Like lambs being led to the slaughter” is an essay that covers more or less the same problem.

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.

A Monday post by Norm Scott (a retired teacher, reporter, and activist in NYC) discussed AFT President Randi Weingarten’s reaction to the anti-Gates protest, as well as the way in which other teachers at the convention ridiculed and shunned the protesters.

[...]

That sub-total comes to $9,471,378. Without any doubt, the Gates Foundation is a primary supporter of a wide range of organizations which are working in unison to replace unionized public schools with non-unionized charter schools.This effort has been going on for some time.

[...]

The teacher protesters in Seattle and a few assorted individuals aren’t the only ones alarmed by the power and influence of Bill Gates and his foundation. A number of people involved with world health are also deeply concerned about the nature of the impact which the Gates Foundation is having in their arena. It would behoove those who pooh-pooh and ridicule the Gates’ critics to read the 2008 report by Global Health Watch.

[...]

Our public education system, its schools, and the profession of public K-12 teaching are intentionally being eroded by Bill Gates and others, in the name of “helping” children. And, as as far as the teachers go, a huge group of them has no good reason to believe that their leader is protecting them.

More news sites recognise the fact that Gates is shaping the national education agenda rather than the elected government doing so.

The only big surprise among the finalists was Arizona, which finished 40th in Round 1. But education policy bloggers suspect that their application this time around was strengthened by involvement from the Gates foundation—Bill and his wife Melinda have become key players in the education reform world, guiding the agenda with their millions of foundation dollars.

Back in June we showed that Gates' staff was taking over LA schools administration. It was almost as though they were putting external staff in charge and it was still in the news in recent weeks. It’s looking grim.

Gates’ experimentation in Memphis schools is a subject that we covered in the following posts:

Here is another new article confirming that they want to use Memphis as a “model”. Another place where Gates has been pumping a lot of cash — that is, funds with strings attached — to create a “model” (to be later imposed on other districts) is Hillsborough. We wrote about that in the following posts:

Hillsborough is still in the news because of the Gates Foundation and this report suggests that they may possibly put Gates’ friends/staff in charge over there (Gates is paying them or working with them). It’s basically a nice way of changing policy, a little like entryism (see the case of LA schools). Not everyone in Hillsborough is happy:

Faliero, 47, has no major accomplishment to point to, and she seems preoccupied with the anecdotal instead of the bigger picture. Stacy White, a 37-year old pharmacist, voices a legitimate concern that the Gates project might weaken local control.

Jefferson Co. seems like another target for Gates as money starts arriving [1, 2] (“Jeffco schools get almost $1 million from Gates Foundation”) and there is more lobbying on such matters, as usual:

National teachers union brings ideas to Seattl

[...]

Bill Gates, an avid supporter of charter schools, which are mostly not unionized, was invited to speak to the conference on Saturday.

There is similar lobbying from Gates in Aspen. Why is he so desperate to control the education system? That affects the minds of future generations of course. “Gates Foundation puts its stamp on education,” say Gates’ regular fans and philanthropy.com links to the Gates-influenced (Melinda on the board) Washington Post. The article is titled “How Gates is spending money on school reform”. Spot the euphemism again.

Should school “reforms” be guided by elected officials rather than private power? Ravitch sure seems to think so [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

“Gates Foundation playing pivotal role in changes for education system,” says another new headline from the Washington Post. Externally, one article innocently states that the “Washington Post Examines Gates Foundation’s Influence on Education Reform” (it actually promotes it rather than examine it).

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Gravatar

    In the context of education he is the most dangerous man in America. What he’s doing is not experimentation, it is using the school budgets to keep him in the market. Schools, even universities, are the next stop on the corporate welfare circuit. Under Bush, science and evidenced based work were effectively banned. That paved the way for the schools to become captive markets for business models that suck to much to survive on their own.

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