Summary: Signs of growing awareness of Bill Gates’ agenda and why it is wrong to rob the public’s voice using fake grassroots (AstroTurf)
THE growing impact of foundations is troubling because these entities are used as vehicles of lobbying, run predominantly by rich white males. Pablo Eisenberg has this critical piece which he starts as follows: “In recent years the United States has developed into an increasingly pronounced class society. We see it in the growing inequality of income and wealth; we witness it in the expansion of corporate power and influence at a time when blue-collar job status is on the decline; and we view it in the daily depiction of our lives on our television screens.
“Nowhere are class divisions more visible than in the most elite of American institutions, the philanthropic foundations. The last vestige of royalty in America, their boards are composed almost entirely of wealthy and highly paid people who increasingly determine our country’s economy, public policies, values, and social practices. With few exceptions, they exclude the diverse faces that make up today’s America.
“The last vestige of royalty in America, their boards are composed almost entirely of wealthy and highly paid people who increasingly determine our country’s economy, public policies, values, and social practices. With few exceptions, they exclude the diverse faces that make up today’s America.”
–Pablo Eisenberg“Teachers, ministers, community leaders, social workers, small-business owners, blue-collar workers, union representatives, youth workers, and disabled people are rarely found on foundation boards. That is the case both with foundations started by one person or family and the community funds that raise and distribute money in one region.”
Today we’ll tackle the education bit because there is nothing more troubling than plutocrats taking over the minds of children through teachers that the public is forced to pay for. This one recent post claims that:
The Gates, Walton, and Broad Foundations have bought up all the time and energy they can from academics, teachers, and policy people whose time and energies can be bought to pursue the one best curriculum and one best test for the nation’s schoolchildren. One nation, under Gates, with liberty and justice for corporations.
In various parts of the country, checks are being distributed to state governments to fund special classes this summer to get administrators and teachers trained in the latest corporate scam to come along: national standards, national curriculum, and a national test. Begun from a Business Roundtable effort called the American Diploma Project to shape the American high school curriculum state by state, the new effort at nationalizing K-12 schooling (paid for by ED, Gates, and Broad) makes the ADP seem like child’s play in comparison.
This teachers’ blog that we keep an eye on says:
Interesting how Teach for America has gone over like a stink bomb in West Seattle. I suppose Gates will now start throwing more money at West Seattle by way of the League of Education Voters (LEV), et al and we’ll start hearing ads about the wonders of TFA, Inc. on KUOW soon as we did with the Broad Foundation and now with the Gates Foundation.
In a later post it says that “Gates, CPPS and the League of Education voters have begun to seep into those minority communities where charter schools reign in other regions of the country. See the e-mail below from Kelly Munn of the Gates backed League of Education Voters.”
Quoting further from the same blog:
For example, the Gates funded Seattle Foundation provided money to pay for the expense to have TFA, Inc. in our district for the first year even though the majority of teachers and parents did not want to have TFA, Inc. in Seattle.
TFA is also mentioned here:
It has never been clear why TFA should be brought to the Puget Sound area in the first place. There is no teacher shortage here. In fact, the Seattle School District recently announced it would lay off 30 teachers this year. Have low-income parents or those with special needs children (both targeted communities for Seattle’s TFAers) been demanding short-term, fast-tracked young temps in their kids’ classrooms? No. Or are major ed reform funders like the Gates Foundation, and others who would like to bring privatization to Seattle’s public schools, trying to create a spigot of young, impressionable, non-union teaching staff for future charter schools?
The evident problem with the Gates Foundation’s AstroTurfing has become so clear that even the Gates-funded NPR decided to address the subject and, despite trying to belittle Dr. Diane Ravitch by quoting Gates’ minions, NPR (a Gates Foundation grant recipient) does a decent job explains the problem to a wide audience. To quote a portion:
“I have no doubt that the movement Bill Gates has launched has created enormous hostility toward teachers,” says Diane Ravitch, who has been studying American education for 40 years.
The New York University professor has emerged as the most outspoken critic of the foundation’s approach.
“It’s like all accountability for educational failure is suddenly plopped on the heads of teachers, and this is wrong,” she says.
Moreover, Ravitch contends that when the foundation supports think tanks, academics and others who agree with its point of view, it drowns out other voices. Referring to Bill Gates, she says, one man shouldn’t have so much power.
Like most foundations, the Gates organization works with partners and grantees — thousands of them — who do the heavy lifting on the ground. And having strong relationships with them is critical.
But in an independent survey last year, many partners said the foundation didn’t understand their goals, was inconsistent in its communications and often unresponsive.
Raikes says those things have prevented the foundation from reaching its full potential.
Thursday night Melinda Gates talked about the need for honest feedback from partners; Raikes talks about it too. And both say they hope the new headquarters’ design, with its many informal meeting spaces and wide-open architecture, will lead to more collaboration and a richer exchange of ideas.
NPR is among the organizations that receive money from the Gates Foundation.
At least they added a disclosure, unlike most those who receive Gates money to push his agenda under the guise of ‘journalism’. █