Summary: A look at the Gates Foundation’s involvement in education systems (roundup)
Techrights is far from a lone sceptic of the Gates Foundation. Groklaw, for example, has just shared this piece of news:
• Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates (teachers' unions crushed by plutocrats and lobbyists like Gates, who are also bribing a lot of the relevant press to sing praises and fund front groups like TFA)
They described themselves simply as local teachers who favored school reform — one sympathetic state representative, Mary Ann Sullivan, said, “They seemed like genuine, real people versus the teachers’ union lobbyists.” They were, but they were also recruits in a national organization, Teach Plus, financed significantly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The foundation paid a New York philanthropic advisory firm $3.5 million “to mount and support public education and advocacy campaigns.” It also paid a string of universities to support pieces of the Gates agenda. Harvard, for instance, got $3.5 million to place “strategic data fellows” who could act as “entrepreneurial change agents” in school districts in Boston, Los Angeles and elsewhere. The foundation has given to the two national teachers’ unions — as well to groups whose mission seems to be to criticize them.
“It’s easier to name which groups Gates doesn’t support than to list all of those they do, because it’s just so overwhelming,” noted Ken Libby, a graduate student who has pored over the foundation’s tax filings as part of his academic work.
The article above is new, but it led us to the realisation that we must carry on tracking Gates’ continued harm to society, which he disguises by buying the press and pressuring journalists to become his PR agents (more on that later this week). So without further ado, we start by presenting articles from around January of this year (more to come soon). Given more time, we would have produced lengthy articles, but a lot of self-explanatory.
It’s true, as Dora as amply reported, there are some in Seattle who support this same privatizing, standardizing, commodifying agenda of Eli Broad, but they are businesspeople like Don Nielson, politicians with ambitions and organizations that are funded by privatizing ed reform foundations like the Gates Foundation. Though they may be powerful and wealthy, they do not represent us or our kids. The parents, teachers and children of Seattle’s Public Schools have not asked for this agenda and did not vote for it.
She then made friends, if she hadn’t already, with Don Nielson who hosted her, Patrick D’Amelio, Executive Director for the Alliance for Education (see Lines of Influence for that connection with Broad and Gates) and Kimberly Mitchell of the Gates Foundation who was the Senior Program Officer for the Gates’ Foundation’s “Education for Washington State” division, at a luncheon given by Harvard Business School Club of the Puget Sound. The topic for the day was The State of Public Education in Seattle: A dialogue with key leaders.
Mr. Neilson was also on the Board of Trustees for the Seattle Foundation, an organization that received $1M last year from the Gates Foundation and whose president, Norman Rice, wrote an op-ed piece that same year during the teachers’ contract negotiations, siding with the superintendent on demanding the acceptance of merit pay and the devaluation of seniority. He was part of a chorus of voices representing Gates funded and Broad backed organizations in Seattle at that time.
That same year, the NCTQ came to town hosted by the Alliance for Education. All you need to do is Google NCTQ to see that their arrival in towns and cities around the US is the first shot across the bow in terms of the introduction of ed reform to that school district or state. The NCTQ is about teacher evaluations and their reports become the basis for the introduction of evaluating teachers based on student performance also termed merit pay or performance pay. NCTQ receives money from Gates by way of TR3. That year NCTQ also received money from the Alliance for Education. NCTQ and TR3 refer to teachers as “Human Capitol”. That pretty much sums up how they, including Gates and Broad for that matter, view education and educators in general.
A lot of money was poured into the coffers of a few non-profits in Seattle by Gates and Broad to further their agenda. Our schools have now successfully been resegregated by our Broad-trained Superintendent and are now ripe for charter schools. Ed reform legislation was passed in the form of Bill 6696 that was pushed by none other than our own PTA among other organizations. Teach for America was railroaded through by the superintendent and the School Board Broad-trained President, Michael DeBell . We had pro-ed reform op-ed’s coming out of our ears from the same Broad backed, Gates funded organizations in the Seattle Times and a lot of press releases from the supe passed on as “reporting” by so-called “journalists” at the Seattle Times which as of now is our only major newspaper in Seattle.
1. That Community Values Statement that was used by the Broad backed, Gates funded Alliance for Education organization to co-opt well-meaning members of the community and organizations into unwittingly backing negotiations with the superintendent who wanted merit pay based on test scores. She won and the community lost on that one.
My last question to everyone this year is, if the Broads and Gates of this country thought that their ideas of ed reform were the perfect fit to the needs of our communities, why didn’t they just come out and present their ideas to a wide audience? They, instead, spent millions to create faux-roots organizations to carry their ideas to different communities, making it seem that it was a neighbor or another parent’s idea. They hired PR companies and think tanks to come up with reports and data to support their agenda and they created a need that is not really there as many corporations do to sell a product.
Apparently the controversies about the accuracy and motivations of Davis Guggenheim’s pro-charter, teacher-bashing “documentary” caught up with it, resulting in no Oscar nomination.
It’s not enough to issue so many press releases that they could cover all of the airport bathroom walls from Seattle to Singapore, or is it Finland (?), now Gates needs to ensure that the press gets the story “right”.
The billionaire bullies are at it again, this time Gates and the Waltons, will have their eyes on the press in the form of the The Bull Pen more accurately described as the “bully pen”.
Richard Horton loves Bill and Melinda Gates but is not enamoured with the Foundation’s communication methods. Hm? What on earth did Kate write to him?
“So, I love Bill and Melinda. But their communications methods leave something to be desired. Kate James, BMGF chief comms officer, writes…”
Hopefully the New York Times will heed its own reporters and not follow the shameful lead of the L.A. Times, which published the names of thousands of Los Angeles Public Schools teachers it had ranked using an algorithm it had created (with $15,000 in backing from the Gates-funded Hechinger Report).
During the attempted takeover of McKinley Elementary School by Ben Austin using the Parent Trigger law recently approved in California to create a charter school, Gabe Rose and Ben Austin, both of the Gates backed Parents’ Revolution, according to Daily Censored, “created a fake group called “McKinley Parents for Change” created a flyer full of falsehoods… and then placed a paid Parent Revolution organizer’s phone number on the bottom of the flyer”!
The report was waved around in front of the press and community leaders by the faux roots ed reform organizations that were spawned by Gates and Broad causing many community organizations to sign onto a Community Values Statement.
It is also enlightening to see who is on the NCTQ Advisory Board, people who will benefit from cheap labor in the form of Teach for America recruits who are staffing charter schools throughout the country. The people on the board include Michael Feinberg, Founder of The KIPP Foundation , a charter franchise, Michael Goldstein, CEO and Founder of The Match (Charter) School in Massachusetts, Paul T. Hill, Director, Center for Reinventing Public Education which supports charter schools and is a recipient of Gates’ money, Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder of Teach For America, Michelle Rhee, Board of Directors for the Broad Foundation, a proponent of charter schools, Stefanie Sanford, Senior Policy Officer with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, another major proponent of charter schools, Laura Schwedes, KIPP charter schools and Deborah McGriff, Partner, the New Schools Venture Fund.
A report on teacher evaluations recently released by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been refuted by one of the nation’s leading economists, who found the widely published report to be seriously flawed.
The Gates Foundation last month released the first report of its “Measures of Effective Teaching” (MET) project, which aims to develop a reliable method for evaluating teachers. The report was thoroughly reviewed for the Think Twice think tank review project by University of California at Berkeley economist Jesse Rothstein, former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor. Rothstein, who is also former senior economist for the Council of Economic Advisers, found the Gates Foundation’s MET report to be based on flawed research and predetermined conclusions.
The review was produced by the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), housed at the University of Colorado at Boulder School of Education, with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.
Last month, a Gates Foundation study was released and said to be evidence of the validity of “value-added” measures to evaluate the effectiveness of teachers by using students’ standardized test scores. But a new analysis of that report concludes that the substance of the report doesn’t support its conclusions.
The report released last month was called “Learning About Teaching: Initial Findings from the Measures of Effective Teaching Project,” by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation officials Thomas J. Kane and Steven Cantrell.
The MET report considered this exact issue and concluded that “Teachers with high value-added on state tests tend to promote deeper conceptual understanding as well.” But what does “tend to” really mean?
Rothstein’s reanalysis of the MET report’s results found that over 40 percent of those whose state exam scores place them in the bottom quarter of effectiveness are in the top half on the alternative assessment.
Give the entire article a read as it gives some more specific examples of what was learned. Sounds like Gates is willing to admit what has gone wrong and where they have improved. Think we can convince Bill to write a failure report? Could he host TEDxFail next year?
“Live and learn” is a familiar saying, but its importance stems largely from what goes unmentioned: failure.’
William H. Gates Sr.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
United States of America