08.27.11

Gemini version available ♊︎

Astroturf Alert: “Vibrant Schools Tacoma Coalition” and “Alliance for Education” Directly and Indirectly Funded by Bill Gates to Lobby for Privatisation (Profit!)

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 7:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Seattle at night

Summary: By astroturfing and busting unions, Gates and fellow plutocrats are perturbing and controlling the public education system, warn Seattle teachers

Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) and other such Gates-funded lobbying groups are hard to keep track of. They flood the news with Gates-funded propaganda and there is one blog which we know researches the issue and identifies some of Gates’ front groups. Here is another one. To quote: “Further revealing its corporate, anti-union bias, “Vibrant Schools’” membership includes Stand for Children (an Oregon-based, national corporate ed reform, political lobbying enterprise, funded by Gates and others) and the League of Education Voters (a Gates-funded, pro-corporate ed reform group).”

But wait. There’s more. Like this one from back in May:

League of Education Voters, also Gates and Broad backed pushing the corporate reform agenda of privatization of our schools.

Stand for Children, ditto but a national organization.

[...]

Included on the list of people involved in the selection of this new Communications Director were “External Organizations”, Kimberly Mitchell with the GATES Foundation, Sara Morris with the Alliance for Education and George Griffin, past chair, Alliance for Education board.

I can understand damage control in the wake of our former Broad-trained superintendent’s poor performance and involvement in scandals, but a Strategies 360 veteran taking the lead, and an expensive one at that? And it took 39 folks to decide on the proper candidate including the Gates Foundation and the Gates backed Alliance for Education? What’s at stake for these folks besides the control factor over our school district? Gates doesn’t do anything regarding education unless it’s part of his specific agenda of charter schools and merit pay based on student performance.

[...]

The Seattle Foundation received $1M in funding last year from the Gates Foundation. No doubt CCER would be up for funding with the passing of this levy. The sponsors of CCER include The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the League of Education Voters.

[...]

It’s now starting to make sense why it was so important to hire a Strategies 360 veteran to prop up the image of Seattle Public Schools. There is a lot at stake here for Bill Gates and other corporate interests. It is to be education reform their way and we are to pay for it.

[...]

They just keep promoting each other in this vicious circle brought to you by Bill Gates & Co.

Furthermore there’s this to point out:

All the celebrity names of corporate ed reform are collaborating in this pile-on: Arne Duncan, Michael Bloomberg, Michelle Rhee, Jeb Bush, Bill Gates and his foundation’s “ed reform” grantees. The Eli Broad-trained school superintendents are indoctrinated with this cut-throat corporation uber alles mindset. New Mayor Rahm Emanuel is squawking the same anti-labor dogma in Chicago (Emanuel backs crackdown on teachers, Chicago Sun-Times). And one of the key targets is teachers.

[...]

Today we have a Democratic president whose education policies target unions and workers. After all it’s Obama’s ed reforms, spearheaded by his basketball buddy and former Chicago School District “CEO” Arne Duncan, powered by the endless wallets of billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad, that have taken aim at teachers, unions, seniority, job security, professionalism and teacher pay relentlessly these past few years. This assault has taken the form of promoting privately run, publicly funded charter schools, which are predominately non-union, handing out taxpayer favors of $50 million to enterprises like Teach for America, Inc., which sends fresh college grads with a scant five weeks’ training to do one of the most important jobs in our society, thus effectively deprofessionalizing the teaching profession. These “reformers” are pushing for “alternative certifications” of teachers, no longer rewarding teachers with advanced degrees for their dedication and scholarship, and tethering teacher evaluations to standardized test scores, a discredited policy that stifles both teaching and learning.

[...]

Even here in Washington, stealthy attempts to allow “alternately credentialed” teachers, eliminating seniority or weakening collective bargaining rights have slipped into numerous “ed reform” bills (for example, HB 1443 –since renamed HB 2111 or HB 1546) – supported, I am sorry to say, by the feckless or misleading PTA leadership (not the members themselves, who are largely unaware of what’s going on in Olympia in their name), and organizations with names like “League of Education Voters” which is truly only in league with the Gates Foundation which funds it, along with its privatizing agenda.

[...]

Which leads us to another uncomfortable word: plutocracy. Who elected Eli Broad and Bill Gates to dictate our nation’s education policy? No one. Yet, right now, national education policy is being dictated by those with the most money.

Notice TFA being there. It’s like Gates’ front groups are everywhere and one teacher notes that his cronies too are already in key positions. Quoting a later post: “Another facet of this story is the reported role of new Executive Director Brianna “Bree” Dusseault in the summary dismissal of Floe. She is one of former Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson’s hires from last year. She came from the New Orleans Charter Middle School where she was principal for two years. She taught for a few years before that. Her husband, a former Teach for America, Inc. trainee, teaches in a middle school here. Dusseault is also affiliated with the Center on Reinventing Public Education, where she has written papers on charter school management. (The Gates Foundation has funded a study of charter school management by CRPE.) She is also a former resident of the Gates-funded New Leaders for New Schools, an enterprise that trains principals.”

Teachers are very concerned about this, but their voice is being robbed by Gates, who created an astroturf of huge proportions, pretending to be several grassroots movements. Microsoft uses similar tactics to steal the voice of small businesses.

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