07.26.13

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Bill Gates et al. Turn Schools and Universities Into Private Corporations

Posted in Bill Gates at 12:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A college student union
A college student union, remnant of the age when unions of students and teachers had power and drove policies

Summary: The assault on public services, or the privatisation (confiscation) of taxpayers’ money, is still jeopardising the education sector in the US

THE war (and accompanying spying/surveillance) operations in the United States have been thoroughly privatised, with companies like Booz Allen and Blackwater stealing literally billions of taxpayers’ collective wages that are funnelled through black (secret) budgets. The CIA and the NSA are merely the government’s shadows that help hide the millionaires and the billionaires which this corrupt system manufactures through contracting. This is bad and a lot of US citizens already know this. But the same mentality now threatens young people, too. The Gates Foundation is the leading force in it, but it is not alone.

The lobbying from Gates’ minions at TFA [1, 2, 3] continues to advance, motivating rants like “Why My Students Do Not Need Teach for America” in which a teacher says “there has been such a flurry of stories and discussions in regards to Teach for America and its destructive role in education today. I suppose my letter to new recruits played an important part in calling into question this organization, striking a chord of truth. TFA has gone into full-time PR mode with a blur of speeches and blogs from the co-CEOs, puff pieces from TFA alums, and even a Q&A from TFA Chicago’s Executive Director. I am glad this dangerous organization is finally getting real scrutiny, and I have much more to add to the discussion at a later date, but today I want to speak from the heart.

“Whenever I think about the Teach for America debate, I think about the students I meet at the psychiatric hospital in Chicago where I teach. Most of my students have really significant needs, including mental health issues, behavioral disorders, cognitive disabilities, and most struggle greatly in school. Their lives are already so chaotic, many are in the foster care system, some are gang-involved, others have already been sucked into the juvenile justice system, and almost all are living in poverty. For some, their short stays on an inpatient unit are the most stable environments they have ever experienced.”

This is a proxy of Bill Gates. Remember that when reading this rant. Gates has also been interfering with Philadelphia [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] — something we covered here many times before. Watch how a crunch if being used too force change. To quote: “Many of the 4,000 laid-off Philadelphia school employees are living in limbo, waiting to see whether the district can scrape-together enough money to hire them back.”

This is part of what one calls the “war on public school teachers”, noting that: “Not only will working people become increasingly insecure, but to secure essential services, they will have to pay the new owners monopoly prices.

“The flashpoint of the war being waged by capital and its political allies against the public provision of services is education, especially that which serves poor and minority communities. Billionaires like Bill Gates (Microsoft) and the Walton family (Walmart) have established organizations and contributed enormous sums of money to do two things. First, they seek to revolutionize the way in which students are taught. Here they have achieved great victories, with two presidents enacting sweeping laws: No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. Both condition federal aid to schools upon what has been described as “teaching to the test.” Literature, art, music, and all critical education are to be sacrificed so that children do well on standardized examinations. Then, how schools and their teachers fare, including whether or not a school continues to exist, depends on students’ scores.

“Second, these plutocrat “reformers” want to alter radically the way in which schools are organized. The best way to describe their aim is to say that they want the schools to resemble assembly lines, with students as outputs and teachers as assembly-line-like mechanisms who do not think or instill in their students the capacity to conceptualize critically and become active participants in a democratic society. And this Taylorization of schooling has a military-like component, with pupils expected to react to commands with rote discipline and respond unthinkingly to rewards for appropriate behavior.”

This article can also be found here and it bears a different headline:

Public School Teachers: New Unions, New Alliances, New Politics

[...]

The promise of public sector unions has been debated for at least forty years. Perhaps some teachers have finally seen the light, and, in the face of unprecedented attacks on them and public schools, are beginning to create new unions, new alliances, a new politics in our towns and cities.

This article by Michael D. Yates coincides with protests in Chicago. One can also see this new protest video from Chicago students:

What we have here is the familiar strategy where one is defunding first (blame teachers and fire them), then offering privatisation as a solution (plutocrats to the rescue!). Noam Chomsky gave a talk earlier this month about corporate takeover of the university/education. The talk as a whole is good, but skip to minute 47 to get the gist of the point we are trying to make.

What we basically have here is Gates et al. marginalising education in favour of indoctrination, turning public into private and throwing to the bin anything which helps minorities (those that Gates pretends to support in his PR pieces). Here is the latest example:

The Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is trying to shut down City College of San Francisco (CCSF) for failing to meet or “adequately address” “Recommendation Areas” established by the ACCJC. CCSF has high quality of education, high student satisfaction at 85.9%, and strong support from taxpayers, yet ACCJC still intends to remove the college’s accreditation.

There is a suppressed new article which also touches on this issue:

Students at Columbia’s Teachers College believe Fuhrman’s role with Pearson conflict with her ability to promote the school’s own traditional commitment to critical pedagogy. Members of Columbia’s faculty also oppose Fuhrman’s conflict of interest. A demand for Fuhrman’s divestment from Pearson is gaining momentum.

At Columbia, Fuhrman has mandated weeks of standardized, “fill-in-the-bubble” Scantron testing for students and required teacher trainees to undergo a Pearson-approved take-home test in order to be considered for certification. The test requires a $300 fee, paid by each teacher trainee to Pearson. At the same time, the school has reportedly awarded $315,000 bonuses executive administration staff, while cutting financial support for doctorate and master’s students.

“Pearson’s model, mandating that students spend weeks of class filling out hundreds of Scantron bubbles, doesn’t exactly jibe with Teachers College’s vision for educational empowerment,” George Josephs reports.

Pearson and Gates are closely connected [1, 2, 3, 4, 5].

Schools are becoming corporations controlled by plutocrats. Three is a lot of money to be pocketed, so it’s not surprising to see Gates storming this scene.

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