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08.23.11

Gates Monitor: March-April 2011 on Education

Posted in Bill Gates at 3:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Bill Gates’ lobbying for disruption of public education, as covered by the Seattle Education blog earlier this year

Teach for America, STEM Washington and Bill Gates

We were told that there would be a “private donor” who would pay that expense. I rolled my eyes when I heard that coming out of our former supe’s mouth. I knew that I had two guesses, either the Gates Foundation or the Broad Foundation would be picking up the tab, at least for the first year and we would be stuck with the bill the next year if either one of them got bored with their notion of education reform.

Now we have found out that STEM Washington will be footing the initial bill of $475,000 to bring Teach for America recruits to Federal Way and Seattle. I decided to follow the money on this one. It was a short trip. Bill Gates provided STEM Washington with a grant for $10M this year. Can money buy a little influence?

The True Legacy of Seattle’s Fired (Broad Academy) Superintendent Maria Goodloe-Johnson

Maybe the Broad Foundation is trying to salvage its investment. After all, it got one of its trainees placed as school superintendent in Seattle, which does not have a faltering school system (Broad’s usual target), but is the backyard of fellow corporate ed reformer Bill Gates. Perhaps Broad thought Goodloe-Johnson would be part of a one-two punch in a Broad-Gates conquest of Seattle’s public schools. Broad is apparently reluctant to erase Seattle from its national map of “Fellows.”

[...]

Teachers Overwhelmingly Vote “No Confidence” in Goodloe-Johnson. Perhaps buoyed by the anti-teacher fervor of her benefactors, Eli Broad and Bill Gates, Goodloe-Johnson developed a poisonous relationship with teachers, in no small part because of her repeated attempts to bypass state labor laws and her bad faith contract negotiation efforts. (She nearly scuttled the teacher contract negotiations last summer by suddenly springing an unacceptable “SERVE” proposal on the table.)

Seattle School District hires staffer from Strategies 360 – the political marketing firm that misused private student contact info to push ed reform agenda

A SIMPLE PETITION (to Bill Gates) (follow the links)

stop experimenting on our kids, their schools and their teachers.

Parents and Teachers, Is This What We Want in Our State?

We’ve been playing whack-a-mole in Seattle and in Olympia with much of this coming up during the legislative session as well as through pressure applied by Gates, the PTA (of all organizations), the Alliance for Education and the League of Education Voters locally on our school board members, the mayor and I am sure our interim superintendent, to approve much of what was passed in Florida.

NYC Schools Chancellor Cathie Black is out — bad few weeks for corporate ed reformers (Rhee, Sheffield, also in the news)

The PTA, “Ed Reform”, Don Nielson and Bill 1443

That was the first shot fired over the bow by the Gates and Broad funded ed reform movement in our state and the Gates funded PTA, LEV and Alliance for Education ran with it by creating the Community Values Statement.

How to tell if your School District is infected by the Broad Virus

Stand for Children appears in town and claims to be grassroots. (It is actually based in Portland, Ore., and is funded by the Gates Foundation.) It may invite superintendent to be keynote speaker at a political fundraising event. It will likely lobby your state government for corporate ed reform laws.

Grants appear from the Broad and Gates foundations in support of the superintendent, and her/his “Strategic Plan.”

The Gates Foundation gives your district grants for technical things related to STEM and/or teacher “effectiveness” or studies on charter schools.

Local newspaper fails to report on much of this.

Local newspaper never mentions the words “Broad Foundation.”

Broad and Gates Foundations give money to local public radio stations which in turn become strangely silent about the presence and influence of the Broad and Gates Foundation in your school district.

The Change of Our Blog Title to Seattle Education

State legislators around the county have been approached by Gates and Broad as well as other wealthy privateers who want nothing more than to make what money they can off of our children. It happened in our state but thankfully we were able to fend off the worst of it. Other states have not been as fortunate, particularly Michigan and Illinois.

Eli Broad’s Last Hurrah in Detroit?

Billionaires like Eli Broad seem to be willing to go to any length at this point to usurp their power over others when it comes to transforming public school systems into what they think is best for the rest of us.

[...]

With his Broad graduates failing, one after the other, it’s just a matter of time before it all crumbles. Unfortunately by then, between Arne Duncan, Eli Broad and Bill Gates, billions of dollars and much goodwill will have been wasted and we will be back to where we were three years ago just a little bit wiser, far more organized and with a clear shared vision of what our schools should look like.

Susan’s Choice: Will Seattle’s new interim school superintendent lead the district in the right direction? Or will it be business as usual behind a more friendly facade?

Enfield is also associated with “Hurricane” Vicki Philips (a phrase coined by the Willamette Week in 2007, and not meant as a compliment), who once headed the Portland School District where she imposed a whirlwind of controversial top-down ed reform change, and is now with the Gates Foundation, a major purveyor and financier of corporate-driven ed reforms. Enfield followed Phillips from Philadelphia to Portland and now both are in the same city again. Is Enfield a blind follower of corporate ed reform and its privatizing, standardizing, high-stakes testing agenda? Or is she her own person with her own vision for what comprises good education practices and priorities? Or at least practices that are grounded in sound research?

[...]

Strategies 360. How many people does it take to hire one communications staffer in the Seattle Public School District? Apparently 30. The hiring of Lesley Rogers, a staffer from the controversial political marketing and communication firm Strategies 360, to head communications for the school district is not a good sign as far as regaining community trust. The fact that the district enlisted the input of 30 people to conduct this “national search” for what should have been a fairly straightforward hiring decision conducted by its own HR department demonstrates not only bad judgment but a waste of time and resources. Why was the job of communication director elevated to such importance so that a “national search” was (allegedly) conducted? It is also not reassuring to see who was included in this committee — outside interests who have no business influencing the district’s hiring choices, like the Gates Foundation’s Kimberly Mitchell, and Sara Morris and George Griffin of the Alliance for Education or outside consulting firm Education First.

[...]

Alliance for Education’s unelected influence. Interim Superintendent Enfield has to decide if she is going to be independent of the Alliance for Education and its Gates and Broad-funded corporate ed reform agenda, or merely its puppet. Hiring someone from the Alliance’s favorite political marketing firm, and allowing the Alliance to sponsor her first public meet and greet sessions indicates that the Alliance remains one of the behind the scenes, unelected forces in the Seattle Public School District. This is not a good sign for transparency or democracy.

Education Push Polls: 9 Fake Questions Versus 9 Real Questions

Seattle, remember that push poll that the Broad and Gates backed Alliance for Education did last year just before contract negotiations began between our Broad-trained superintendent and the teachers’ union? There were several interesting comments made about it on the Save Seattle Schools blog last year.

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