Summary: The Movement of Microsoft works hard to ensure that public services — not just private businesses — remain prisoners of Microsoft; lobbyists and AstroTurfing are used for this purpose, too
WHILE many people assume that Microsoft Windows in education is a matter of choice, it is actually a matter of corruption and imposition. Yesterday, for example, we wrote about what happened in Tamil Nadu. Our source told us last night that some of the press in India is starting to catch up with that revelation, whereas a lot of it missed the fact that the tender had been distorted. Take this article for example. It says:
According to the official, companies including Samsung, ASUS and Dell seem to have placed bids. The state is said to have preferred brands that have service centres across all the districts. The minimum specifications required include Windows or Linux operating system, wireless 2 GB RAM and 320 GB hard disk.
Originally it was GNU/Linux-only, but someone subverted the tender. The article says nothing about it. This is what lobbying does and we previously saw the Gates Foundation intervening in Europe to cause the same type of change (e.g. in Portugal) when GNU/Linux laptops were prepared en masse. The same “dual-boot” trick got pulled. Remember “dual-boot” OLPC as well. It’s Microsoft’s classic excuse to tear down GNU/Linux (like “choice”, which is a term Microsoft spins/misuses a lot).
There is increasing pressure for governments and public schools to use GNU/Linux and Free software, which are well beyond just “capable” of serving publicly-funded organisations. But every once in a while some lobbyists stick their noses in and the press ignores the key issues. Consider the Gates-funded publications on education. Gates is buying them, which in turn gags some of the key ones and uses them to promote Gates’ own agenda instead; this includes Windows in schools, ensuring that all children grow up only with Microsoft software (and lock-in). Education Week, which receives grant money from the Gates Foundation, had this to say after it had sucked up to Gates (its paymaster). Are the sceptics finally waking up?
it is really quite scary to see how the education system has turned into taxpayers-funded Microsoft indoctrination factory. In a recent talk from Google’s CEO (given in the UK some days ago) he openly complained that children are not being taught how computers work. Instead, they are taught how to use programs (GUIs), mostly Microsoft ones. The Guardian covered this only days apart from another article that complained about British schools, saying they merely train children to become obedient clients of Microsoft. This is one of the reasons Gates wants to own education systems. It’s not about improving the education system (that’s what publications are being bribed to say), it is about the plutocrats controlling it, shaping the characters of the next generation to suit them, the super-rich people. And criticism about the making of mistakes as NewsWeek covered at the time is typically being labelled “jealousy”, but the matter of fact is that teachers too are extremely concerned. One lady calls it “Bill Gates’ Bad Bets” and she alleges that:
The first example was from Newsweek about the results of philanthropic “school reform” programs put in place by several billionaires (including Bill Gates) who decided they understood the problems with public education better than everyone else and so could dictate how to “fix” the broken education system. Seems that that their little experiments haven’t panned out as well as they would have liked.
It does work as planned as long as it gives more power to those who fund the reform. it’s about control, it’s not about education. They try to discipline everyone’s children with the government’s support and funding. They also use fake grassroots (AstroTurf) which includes the Gates-funded TFA lobby. As Seattle teachers put it some months ago in a story we have not yet covered:
Now, they are here in Seattle trying to justify their existence with the financial aid of Bill Gates to the tune of $2.5M to support TFA, Inc. in opening an office in the Puget Sound area.
So far “anonymous donors” have offered to pick up the tab for Seattle by way of the Seattle Foundation which receives funding from Bill Gates. Our schools would be so much better off if we could use those funds instead to rehire teachers and counselors who are qualified, have more to offer than “art on a cart” to many of our students, have the funding so that all schools can again have full-time librarians, enrichment programs for all schools and enough money to pay for the millions of dollars in maintenance backlog that has accrued over the years to make our schools safe.
Will Bill Gates ultimately be responsible for dumbing down our educational system with TFA, Inc. as his tool? The irony is that his vision for education in this country is far from the reality of what he is creating and he doesn’t even know it.
Kristin wrote a series of posts titled “The Big Picture: Privatizing Education”. From part I:
Billionaires (such as the Walton family, the Koch brothers, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Eli and Blythe Broad) and corporations are pushing heavily for the privatization of education and other services, both for financial reasons and ideological ones.
From the point of view of billionaires, the free market is ideal. It made them rich, after all. To the extent that they want to improve education, they want to remake the system in the image of a corporation, with top-down management, competition, decreased spending, and a focus on results. Of course, the view from the top is nothing like the view from the bottom. How can billionaires who have never gone through the public education system have any idea of the challenges that teachers and students actually face?
As for corporations, they don’t “want” anything in particular. They can’t; they’re not human beings. They are essentially machines whose primary goal is to maximize profits. To further that goal, corporations have an interest in lowering taxes. They also have an interest in directly controlling exactly what is taught to tomorrow’s workforce. They do not have a need for equal opportunity in education, because not all workers in tomorrow’s economy need to think for themselves or to read beyond basic literacy.
Finally, there are companies that simply profit off education, taking taxpayer and grant dollars to produce a product. This includes charter schools, teacher preparation programs, online learning systems, standardized tests, and test prep curriculum. Privatization helps them because it creates new markets. Opening a charter school, for instance, means that brand new teachers can be hired and brand new curriculum can be sold. (Of course, this also means that existing teachers must be fired and curriculum thrown away.)
In part II, Kristin mentioned the Gates Foundation too, but not in the final part. Quoting the article: “Billionaires and corporations direct the activities of nonprofits and grassroots groups through philanthropic foundations. For example, the family that owns WalMart has the Walton Family Foundation, Bill Gates has the Gates Foundation, and the owner of the Gap has the Fisher Foundation. These foundations can then create or fund a nonprofit and then influence that nonprofit by making grants with strings attached or buying a seat on the board of directors. Then they use that nonprofit to push, tax-free, for policy changes. Foundations and nonprofits can also create astroturf (fake grassroots) groups that urge their constituency to lobby for policy changes.” █
- Bill Gates and Microsoft Use Government Support to Turn Public Schools Into Private Business
- Increased Opposition to Bill Gates/Microsoft Exploitation of Schools, Shameless PR Explained
- Why Bill Gates Needs to Abduct School Children
- Cablegate: Gates and Microsoft ‘Love’ Children in America
- The Gates Foundation May Be Turning School Teachers Into State-funded PR Agents
- Teachers Demand That Bill Gates Gets Thrown Out of the Education System and Stops Controlling Coverage
- Gates Foundation Staff and Affiliates Enter School Boards in the United States