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11.13.11

Steve Ballmer and His Wife Connie Join Gates and Co. in Their Crusade Against Public Education

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 10:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: News suggests that more people from Microsoft (not just Raikes and Gates) are occupying the obligatory system which shapes the next generation at taxpayers’ expense

INJUSTICE is prevalent when the legal system is operated directly or indirectly by those who are affluent. Such status quo would be prejudiced against those who are unable to pay. Tax law is similarly dependent on the influence of money, which means that those who are very rich will make up ways to pay little or no tax. This is a famous problem in the United States of America and increasingly in the UK too. People pay more tax the richer they are but once they get to a certain level they can become almost tax-exempt, using loophole which they lobbied to create and call “legal”.

“Additionally, Gates uses the publicly-funded education system to do what it tells everyone to do.”So-called foundations make the situation ever more outrageous because they glorify those who do not pay tax and sometimes help rob the public, too. Citing this article, Gates Keepers alleges that “The public subsidises the Gates Foundation” — a subject that we covered here before. To repeat the crux of the argument, what the Gates Foundation is doing is lobbying politicians to funnel taxpayers’ money into companies that the foundation invests in for profit. It is about monopolies, patents, and public subsidies. We gave many examples and showed how this is done.

Additionally, Gates uses the publicly-funded education system to do what it tells everyone to do. These acts are an injury and an insult to future generations, which Gates believes he is responsible for along with fellow plutocrats, shaping the minds of children not for critical thinking but for obedience and admiration of those in power (like himself).

There is a new article titled “The Money Behind the School Board Incumbents”. It is one among many recent articles that portray Bill Gates as the villain in the education scene. They know he is up to no good, a self-servitude of sorts that also buys the media to hide those real interests. To quote:

All the School Board incumbents are supported by zillionaire donors who don’t have children in our schools. Most live on the Eastside. They generously funded The Seattle Foundation to bring Teach for America into Seattle Public Schools. Most also backed the defeat of Initiative 1098. The anti-1098 donors include Steve and Connie Ballmer, Matt Griffin, Evelyne Rozner, John Stanton, and James Faulstich. In addition to backing TFA and the incumbents, Connie Ballmer sits on the WA advisory board of Stand For Children, a national lobbying organization that aggressively promotes charter schools. Jeff Raikes, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and his wife Patricia did not donate to defeat I-1098, but they support TFA, charter schools and the incumbents. The same holds true for John Faulstich.

What if any connection is there between defeating Initiative 1098, supporting Teach for America, Stand for Children and the incumbent School Board Directors?

First– why the opposition to I-1098 from anyone who supports public education? Initiative 1098 would have provided $2 billion a year as a trust fund dedicated to public education, health services and middle class tax relief. The year I-1098 was filed, Seattle Public Schools had a budget shortfall of $34 million. It’s safe to assume these people don’t want a miniscule portion of their ginormous incomes to support public education as it is now. They must have another plan.

Teach for America provides public and charter schools with conditionally certified teachers who have received a total of five weeks of training during the summer. Charter schools hire many of their teachers through Teach for America. Wendy Kopp, founder, CEO and relentless marketer of TFA draws an annual salary of $660,000, paid for by funds presumably raised for public education. TFA also received $50mil from the Obama administration last year. TFA is very much a part of a national movement to privatize and profit from public education through charter schools.

[...]

The challengers in this race are trying to move us beyond this phase of Ed Reform to the next. Our vision of effective Ed Reform is about meeting the individual needs of our students, rather than imposing a one-size-fits-all standardized education. We must increase pathways to success by offering compelling programs that engage students all the way through high school, and help them prepare for the futures they want. We must improve our curricula and give struggling students more support. We must open up our district to far greater community input and control. We need to restore more choice to our student assignment plan. And we can do it all without diverting public funds into the pockets of people like Wendy Kopp and others who profit from charter schools.

We found it most interesting that even the Ballmers are in it now. Ballmer’s wife is a PR person (professionally), which says a lot on its own. These couples also sponsored Obama's PR campaign, which got him elected. Ballmer routinely visits the White House now. We gave examples in the past.

Here is another new article critical of Gates, despite his sponsorship of education news sites (with aim of influencing coverage). The headline says Bill Gates’ Big Play: How Much Can Money Buy in Education?

What would happen if one of the wealthiest men in the world decided to remake the institution of public education in America? What if that man believed he understood the secrets to success, and sought to align the nation’s schools to his vision and methods? What if he decided to devote all his time and considerable money to this objective? Could he succeed? We are in the process of finding out just how far money and a sharply defined agenda can take you.

Why is Gates deciding on educational policy in public education? This is a person who went to prestigious private schools and sends his kids to these. There is a poor article titled “Bill Gates: Poverty not excuse for no education”. So says the man who was born rich and didn’t finish college. Here is a copy of it (the original expired):

Bill Gates: Poverty not excuse for no education

Microsoft founder Bill Gates told the National Urban League on Thursday that a child’s success should not depend on the race or income of parents and that poverty cannot be an excuse for a poor education.

This is just the usual shallow coverage from AP, but what’s troubling here is different; who is he to talk for the poor? Or to demand better education/results from these people? Just because he is wealthy and employs lobbying groups to run a lot of things (for profit) does not make him a figure of legitimate authority. The AP not only parrots or promotes his so-called ‘studies’ (sponsored propaganda, as we showed before in AP). In this case it also lends to the man’s status by quoting him as though he is an education expert. This is truly troubling. But the BBC is worse. We’ll deal with that next.

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9 Comments

  1. Michael said,

    November 13, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Gravatar

    While I can see being against many of the specifics, the general idea of wanting even the poor to be able to receive a decent education is something to be supported.

  2. kozmcrae said,

    November 13, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Gravatar

    Think of it this way.

    For six hours a day, five days a week, your children are locked behind a door and taught by people who are qualified by the state you live in. Only the state has the key to that door. You trust the state because the people who run it are elected by you and the other people in your state. That gives you some control over how they govern you and choose the people who teach your children.

    Now think of giving the key to that education door to someone else, say, a private corporation. You have been removed by another layer between you and your child and you have just lost control over what goes on behind that door.

    Bill Gates knows nothing about education and he is surrounded by yes men. Couple that with enough money to bribe the entire population of the United States and we are faced with a very dangerous situation.

    I read an article by Preston Gralla recently that said Bill Gates deserves more adoration than Steve Jobs. Adoration? Really? There was one 20th Century leader who was adored by his countrymen. He met with a violent end. Leaders should be respected and criticized without fear of reprisal but adoration should be left for movie stars.

    I wouldn’t consider Bill Gates a leader but I think he dearly wants to be one. He often presents himself as an expert in areas he knows nothing about like he does with education. He once gave a lecture on supercomputers at a convention. He went on and on as if he built one yesterday. Putting Bill Gates’ software on supercomputer hardware is like putting molasses in the crankcase of a Formula One race car. It’s the same old myth; If you have tons of money, then you must be an expert on everything. And Bill Gates is riding that wave for all it’s worth.

    Michael Reply:

    For six hours a day, five days a week, your children are locked behind a door and taught by people who are qualified by the state you live in. Only the state has the key to that door.

    Actually, as a parent you have the right to home school or to observe the school. When I taught in the K-12 system I encouraged parents to visit as often as they wanted.

    Now think of giving the key to that education door to someone else, say, a private corporation.

    Many parents opt to send their kids to a private school. If you are talking about public schools, however, they are not run by private corporations (in general, there may be some outsourcing).

    FUD:

    Bill Gates knows nothing about education and he is surrounded by yes men. Couple that with enough money to bribe the entire population of the United States and we are faced with a very dangerous situation.

    I have never seen any bribe by him. I did have MS “wine and dine” me as they tried to sell me products, as I have had Cisco and many other companies do (Cisco was the most extreme I have encountered).

    As I said above, I can see being against the specifics of what Bill Gates says and does in terms of education – there are many valid “takes” on the subject. But the general goal of improving the education of US students is something I wish more people would back. It is a shame to see folks fight against it based on their own fears.

    kozmcrae Reply:

    You have the right to home school your child if you have the means. Kind of tough if you’re a single parent though.

    Yes, many people do opt to send their kids to private schools but that choice would be eliminated if Bill Gates gets his way. Every child would be taught by a corporate run tax paid school system. To put it another way, every child would attend a private school, some by choice, some not by choice.

    You have never seen Bill Gates bribe anyone? Neither have I. I would expect that no one has ever seen Bill Gates bribe anyone. He does spend over a million dollars a day making sure he and any endeavor he’s involved in gets good press. That’s not called a bribe by the way. It’s called business… PR business.

    His wife, Melinda, up until recently was on the board of directors of the Wall Street Journal. Do you think there was ever any investigative reporting done on The Gates Foundation while she was there? How about NPR, that bastion of unbiased reporting. Sorry, Microsoft is one of their primary advertisers. You’ll hardly hear Microsoft’s name associated with any account of malware ripping holes in the Internet or any serious in-depth look into Bill Gates activities. And on it goes. Bill Gates has so much money he can purchase advertising in every major paper, magazine, Web site and television station in the United States and have plenty left over to cover major media outlets over the rest of the World. But no, he doesn’t bribe anyone.

    It does seem counter intuitive to try to stop someone from spending millions of dollars on improving education. But Bill Gates is attempting to turn a state-run agenda-neutral institution into his private market place. Every school uses Microsoft computers and software. Every computer curriculum teaches Microsoft programing languages. Only Microsoft partners get a piece of the pie. But worst of all, children learn what the corporation deems best. And that will be what ever puts the corporation in the best light. It’s a nightmare in the making.

    There are public schools that are doing very poorly but there are also some that are outstanding. That’s all the information we need right there. Try to use the programs that work and avoid the ones that don’t. We don’t need to hand the entire education system over to a guy who never finished college.

    Michael Reply:

    Yes, many people do opt to send their kids to private schools but that choice would be eliminated if Bill Gates gets his way. Every child would be taught by a corporate run tax paid school system. To put it another way, every child would attend a private school, some by choice, some not by choice. … It does seem counter intuitive to try to stop someone from spending millions of dollars on improving education. But Bill Gates is attempting to turn a state-run agenda-neutral institution into his private market place. Every school uses Microsoft computers and software. Every computer curriculum teaches Microsoft programing languages. Only Microsoft partners get a piece of the pie. But worst of all, children learn what the corporation deems best. And that will be what ever puts the corporation in the best light. It’s a nightmare in the making.

    I would love to see support for this. If so, of course I am heavily against it.

    Looking at the education section of the Gates Foundation site, I see only one reference to any software and it does not mention a company name that is preferred – and software is only one of many items listed as being important. Looking at Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gates_Foundation#Education) I see nothing that supports your claims. In fact, one of the criticisms is that they support neighborhood schools *over* private schools, which directly contradicts the idea that he wants all schools to be private schools.

    There seems to be plenty of room to disagree with the MGF education goals – but the complaints you and Roy speak about come across as paranoid fear and not realistic criticisms.

  3. kozmcrae said,

    November 14, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    Gravatar

    Do you really believe Bill Gates will lay all his cards out on the table? His education reforms are a business deal. He’s not going to telegraph his punches. If he gets his way, all public schools will be run by a private enterprise. His private enterprise. Once that happens he gets to choose the teachers, how they are trained, what materials are used and who they are purchased from. All of that will still be paid for by our tax dollars.

    If there is any institution that should not become a monoculture it’s our education system. There would be no checks and balances, no second opinions and no comparisons.

    We may be paranoid but our fear is based on Bill Gates past actions. He has never varied from his MO. If you wish to see the real Bill Gates then view his testimony on Judge Penfield Jackson’s witness stand. To the best of my knowledge that is the only time someone has been in a position of authority over him and asking serious questions. You can watch Bill Gates as he slowly crumbles into a fetal position. It’s an amazing piece of footage.

    Michael Reply:

    I am not saying anyone lays all their cards on the table. I am saying making the kinds of accusations you and Roy make, in the absence of darn good support, is wrong. And you have no support. You have paranoia… that is it.

    Show where he gets to pick teachers.
    Show where he gets to pick how they are trained.
    Show where he gets to pick what materials they use.

    Right now you have paranoid accusations. Can you get anything else to back those things you claim?

  4. kozmcrae said,

    November 14, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Gravatar

    You are lumping Roy and me together. If you interpret us as saying the same things that’s fine but be advised, I don’t speak for Roy or anyone else. I will sometimes offer my opinion as to what other FLOSS followers believe but that’s about it.

    No of course you are not saying anyone lays all their cards on the table. Neither am I, that’s the point. My accusations are based on past actions and proclamations by Bill Gates himself and those close to him. There’s no crystal ball stuff going on here. Could Bill Gates change his colors? Sure, anything is possible. Maybe he’ll get struck by lightning and suffer a complete personality reversal. Show where he gets to pick the teachers…? I hope I never get to show you that or any of the other things. That’s where I stand on that issue.

    Am I paranoid? Not yet.

  5. Michael said,

    November 14, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Gravatar

    You are lumping Roy and me together. If you interpret us as saying the same things that’s fine but be advised, I don’t speak for Roy or anyone else. I will sometimes offer my opinion as to what other FLOSS followers believe but that’s about it.

    Fair enough criticism. My apologies… in general the folks who post comments here very much echo his claims and wording, to the point where I suspect some are his socks (though I have no strong evidence!). I apologize for grouping you in with them.

    No of course you are not saying anyone lays all their cards on the table. Neither am I, that’s the point.

    Again, fair enough.

    My accusations are based on past actions and proclamations by Bill Gates himself and those close to him. There’s no crystal ball stuff going on here. Could Bill Gates change his colors? Sure, anything is possible. Maybe he’ll get struck by lightning and suffer a complete personality reversal.

    I would agree it would be wise to be watchful – but that is true of any group. I can even go so far as to say it is wise to be extra watchful considering his history and his ties.

    Show where he gets to pick the teachers…? I hope I never get to show you that or any of the other things. That’s where I stand on that issue.

    I am looking to see where that is a part of the “plan”. So far I have seen this accusation repeatedly but no support. Now he does support merit pay, which is fine if you can find a reasonably fair way to measure who has “merit”. Basing it on test scores, though, is rather absurd – the *students* are the ones taking the tests, not the teachers. Yes, teachers influence their students, but they do not control them nor do they pick them. Should AP teachers get paid more? Why punish teachers be punished for working with the “slower” students? It makes no sense – there are just too many variables. It would be like paying programmers by how many lines of code they produce… it has been done and it is a *bad* idea.

    Am I paranoid? Not yet.

    Maybe not.

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