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08.09.10

Bill Gates Chastised by Increasing Number of Newspapers and Dedicated Web Sites for Taking Over US Education

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 1:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Gates pyramid

Summary: Having created an abusive monopolist known as Microsoft, Bill Gates is now creating privatised education pyramid where Bill is seated at the very top with legions of PR agents beneath

THE Gates Foundation received a lot of publicity last week. In the next post we’ll explain why, but before we get to that, a roundup of Gates’ hijack of the US education system is in order. So, MSBBC is advertising their occasional writer, Bill Gates (and also MSNBC, which gladly explains how Gates is overriding the government as though it’s just an innocent thing to do in a democracy).

Both Melinda and Bill Gates contest the notion that there is anything amiss in the foundation’s relationship with the federal government. All the foundation wants is results, says Bill Gates, however they are achieved.

This is some poor coverage from MSNBC, but what else can one expect from a channel of information that’s partly owned by Microsoft? Well, even the Washington Post eventually got guts and complained about Gates for his hijack of US education. We wrote about this last week and it expanded quite nicely on a longer post from one week ago. More and more people — journalists too — are coming with grips with the threat which is Bill Gates. He is a threat to democracy and “the most dangerous man in America,” according to the headline of last month’s article from the Huffington Post.

It is not only journalists who are increasingly covering these serious issues and fundamental flaws of philanthrocapitalism. There is a whole new blog protesting the privatisation of education. We recommend that people read it. It contains many articles about the hijack of the education system (by private hands) and it even has a special name for what it calls not the Gates Foundation. It calls it the “Underground Department of Education” and it has many links there in the sidebar (some of which to articles we covered before). A lot of good links include criticism of Bill Gates, for example:

Fortunately, despite Gates’ many efforts so far, he is failing to put schools more literally in Microsoft’s own hands. This article about Microsoft’s “School of the Future” is summarised as: “How Microsoft’s and Philadelphia’s innovative school became an example of what not to do”

“Fortunately, despite Gates’ many efforts so far, he is failing to put schools more literally in Microsoft’s own hands.”For those who are not aware of Gates’ connection to it, there are posts from previous weeks such as [1, 2]. Microsoft is also trying to control education with a big bunch of new events that set educational agenda. And then there’s this in last week’s news: “InCommon is the U.S. trust federation in higher education operated by Internet2. Through InCommon, higher education institutions and their partners offer access to contracted and collaborative services — in a privacy- and security-enhanced method — to faculty, researchers, students and staff.” Will Microsoft ever leave education alone? Earlier today we showed that Bill Gates went lobbying for Microsoft in Vietnamese education, once again showing the foundation and Microsoft working side by side by pooling money together. That’s a “smoking gun” as they say…

Also from recent weeks (stories that we missed):

i. Jamie Gass: Monied interests try to seize public education

Public education has long been administered and paid for by state and municipal governments. That local focus has kept it largely free of the “Gucci Gulch” phenomenon of policy crafted by influential D.C. lobbyists.

But that’s all changing. Unelected trade organizations, fueled by tens of millions of dollars from private organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are working to persuade states to adopt proposed national education standards and assessments. Many of these organizations, like the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, have poor records when it comes to improving student achievement and are made up of public officials whose membership dues are taxpayer funded.

ii. The wrong partner for our schools

AS BOSS of Microsoft, Bill Gates steamrollered competitors, intimidated regulators and used his company’s quasi-monopoly status to foist deficient software on business and consumers alike.

Now, America’s richest man is using those skills to design a system to evaluate schoolteachers, and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is his willing–make that enthusiastic–partner.

The question is: Will more militant elements in the AFT–including the newly elected leadership of the Chicago Teachers Union–challenge the union’s direction?

[...]

Gates gave $100 million to Florida’s Hillsborough County school system–which includes Tampa–to implement a program that will pull 200 to 300 teachers out of the classroom to serve as mentors to new teachers. The mentors will be paid an additional $5,000 per year.

As in Pittsburgh, veteran teachers in Hillsborough County can opt out of traditional step pay increases in favor of merit pay–but can have their pay cut if they have subpar evaluations. Seniority will continue for job placement, but cease to exist for compensation. New hires will automatically be included under the new system. Forty percent of teacher evaluation will depend on test scores and other measures of student performance.

These union agreements are only the beginning of Gates’ efforts to reshape teacher evaluation to suit his agenda. As he noted in his speech at the AFT convention, the Gates Foundation is funding the videotaping of 3,000 teachers in six school districts. “The chief goal is to work with teachers–using technology, data and research–to develop a system of evaluation that teachers believe is fair and will help them improve,” Gates said.

This article speaks about Hillsborough, which is Gates’ special experiment that we wrote about in:

The above posts contain more stories about Hillsborough and there are new ones that continue to show what we already know about the candidates there: “We’ve been selected by Bill Gates to do what he says will transform American education.”

Amazing! They play monopoly with schools just like in the board game. To quote expansively:

Yes. We’ve cut $125 million in the past five years while still protecting the classroom. We’ve been selected by Bill Gates to do what he says will transform American education. We are always willing to listen and make changes when needed.

There are more new articles about it. Gates is playing with them like it’s just a bunch of toys in his bedroom. “Classroom by classroom, Hillsborough prepares for Gates reforms” says the headline of this news article which talks about “part of the school district’s reforms with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.”

Whose district is it anyway?

There is similar experimentation in Memphis and we covered it in:

“Wave of support raises stakes for Memphis City Schools,” says this news headline. It’s about Gates buying another sort of franchise.

Memphis was one of four recipients of $290 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve teacher effectiveness last fall.

Memphis will receive $90 million over seven years. Only Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa received more.

On top of the Gates grant and the $68 million that will flow to Memphis as a result of Tennessee’s winning $500 million in Race to the Top stimulus dollars for innovation, the city schools also received nearly $600,000 last week in federal money to improve the quality of its principals.

This is not inquisitive journalism and it fails to capture the motives at play. It’s being obscured by fairy tales or PR and days ago we found other such PR in The Chronicle, which airs the headline: “Gates’s Millions: Can Big Bucks Turn Students Into Graduates?”

“He is not fixing education, he is taking over it…”This fails to include a critical point: the money is about changing the system, not supporting students (except a few examples used for PR purposes, ushering the massive lobby and reducing/diffusing resistance to it). Had Gates wanted to just help students, money would be given with no strings attached. He is not fixing education, he is taking over it, but PR agencies which the foundation hires (we gave examples of those) continue to flood the media with promotion of those lies (spin) that drown out the signal in this whole debate.

Watch what Seattleducation 2010 has to say about the Bloomberg/BusinessWeek coverage from a few weeks ago (there is also an open letter to Gates and his foundation):

The July 15 issue of Bloomberg Businessweek takes a look at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s checkered record on education reform and finds a fair amount to question.

Aptly called “Bill Gates’ School Crusade,” it indeed evokes the sense that Gates’ meddling in public education is more driven by some kind of zealotry than facts.

And that just sums it up nicely: “Gates’ meddling in public education is more driven by some kind of zealotry than facts.”

“They’ll get sort of addicted, and then we’ll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade.”

Bill Gates

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