Bonum Certa Men Certa

Bill Gates Takes Over Schooling Systems With Help From Oprah, NBC, Other Press for Hire

Oprah
Photo by Bill Ebbesen



Summary: A look at how Bill Gates' money buys him the coverage he wants and needs in order to take over US schools and other walks of life

IN THE PREVIOUS POST we explained just how the Gates Foundation was changing coverage in the press. A lot of publications are up for sale, if not literally then metaphorically. By dropping some money here and there, Gates does in fact ensure that he receives the coverage he wants. At stake we have the integrity of the press, which in turn shapes the minds of many people. It's about perception.



According to [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6], Microsoft's NBC propaganda may no longer go under the same name (with "MS"). They might be hiding the propaganda by changing the name MSNBC.com. It's one of those sites where Gates has been praised a lot, the source of the bias being rather obvious (it is partly owned by Microsoft).

Now, watch what else they do: "NBC, the Gates Foundation, and a bunch of other folks have put together a pretty nifty little school data project: The Education Nation Scorecard."

This may be leading to more PR and control as this latter article says that they are working together on a "weeklong infomerical" which is further explained as follows: "An interesting coalition is forming around data-driven school reform. In the wake of the Los Angeles Times teacher quality data dump, NBC made what was essentially a weeklong infomerical for the excellent documentary Waiting for Superman, and Bill Gates announced that he was going to be dropping some more millions into education technology (for higher ed, but with more to come for K-12 later). Snazzy infographics are a nice early step."

"Infomerical," eh? Sounds almost like informercial.

"NBC’s Education Indoctrination" is one of Dora's latest rants in Seattle Education 2010. She too called it propaganda and pointed a finger at Gates and Arne Duncan, whom we wrote about in last month's long post:

This is why I didn’t watch NBC’s propaganda extravaganza starring Arne Duncan, Michelle Rhee, Michael Bloomberg, Joel Klein and a host of others brought to you by Bill Gates and Eli Broad .


It is only natural to expect this kind of bias from NBC. It works with Microsoft. "The Shocking Doctrine of Ed Reform Laid Bare by NBC" says another new post about how they are prearranging the panel to ensure bias which favours Gates' side:

In her overview of NBC’s corporate, one-sided reform-fest, “Education Indoctrination,” Leonie Haimson, founder of Class Size Matters and member of Parents Across America (PAA), wrote: “Indeed, the vast majority of panelists appear to have been pre-selected by the Gates and Broad Foundations, Education Nation’s co-sponsors, who by spending billions have been able to impose their rigid prescriptions on the nation’s urban public schools.”


And there is more about the AstroTurfing which we covered before:

These elements of SERVE would not work for our students or our community and should not be accepted by the teachers. And teachers, even though you are being bombarded by messages brought to you by Broad-backed and Gates funded faux roots organizations, such as the Alliance, Our Schools’ Coalition and Stand for Children, know that we as parents support you during these negotiations and consider you a precious resource in the development of our children.”


And more:

The Alliance for Education has been paying for these school board retreats. And where does the Alliance get its’ money from?– the Gates and the Broads.


Remember who is funding these things:

Why, at a time when the corporate ed reformers have turned the national Klieg lights on the humblest of professional teachers and declared them failures and demanded they perform miracles, are these same enterprises (Broad, Gates, Goodloe-Johnson, Carlyle et al) out of the other side of their mouths pushing for uncredentialed, inexperienced “teachers” to take on our most challenging schools?

[...]

I did some research and was surprised to discover that Teach for America, Incorporated is actually a multimillion-dollar enterprise. It is funded by all the usual suspects and then some: Gates, Broad, the (WalMart) Waltons, Dells, (the Gap) Fishers. Its founder sits on the board of directors of the Broad Foundation (alongside Seattle’s Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson), one of the unelected, unqualified but main drivers of education policy in America right now.


This hijack of US schools would never have been possible had the press not been up for sale and offered gross bias. "None of Gates’s competitors ever confused him with Mr Rogers," says this highlight:

Robert Wright is no slouch and he has done his homework well for this opinion piece. One line we like is: "none of Gates’s competitors ever confused him with Mr Rogers." This is as true for his work at the Gates Foundation as it is at Microsoft.


"Bill thinks it is all the unions' and teachers' fault" is another way of putting it:

Bill was interviewed by Toronto's national newsmagazine. He wants to change the world with charter schools, though of course he didn't go to one and doesn't send his kids to one. You see, Bill thinks it is all the unions' and teachers' fault.


More here:

To foster that kind of collaboration, the Gates Foundation will be establishing a “district-charter compact” program that forces both sides to publicly commit to working together to benefit students. The funding level and details of Gates' District-Charter Compact has not been announced and will not be until the end of this year. But under the plan, charter schools would agree to do things like making sure they solve all students, such as English-language learners and special education students, and districts would help give charters access to facilities and help eliminate barriers, such as inflexible bus schedules.


TechFlash, which occasionally receives sponsorship from Microsoft while covering Microsoft, sells out to Gates again. While pretending to be unbiased it is giving a platform to Bill Gates Sr. to do some PR and it is doing some PR for Ballmer as well [1, 2]. It's doing the whole "Ballmer loves college/student" PR thing.

Another Web site which pretends to be a news site (it called itself "Chronicle of Philanthropy") seems to be non-stop advertising for Gates with sob stories and apologies for Gates. From the first among the comments:

Has there been any thought to renaming your publication to “The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Chronicle of Philanthropy”??


It is very possible that this site too receives financial aid from Gates. It may take time to show this. Anyway, Gates' PR team appears to have arranged for Gates to push his agenda of controlling schools through Oprah. We wrote about this some weeks ago; not only is Oprah advertising Microsoft this month (Microsoft pays for these fake endorsements) but Gates too seems to be playing a similar game, still paying for video coverage about himself using the propaganda movie “Waiting for Superman” which Huff & Puff is the latest to cover (we wrote about it before [1, 2, 3, 4]).

The propaganda was done with help from Guggenheim, who is also mentioned here upon a resignation:

The Washington Post and Huffington Post are reporting that ed reform poster girl and key figure in the pro-charter, teacher-trashing “Waiting for Superman” movie by Davis Guggenheim, will announce her resignation Wednesday morning.


The Gates folks need more propaganda because people are starting to understand what's going on. Here's another good piece of analysis:

The NCTQ report, bought and paid for by Bill Gates and a report done by CRPE, the Center on Reinventing Public Education, a foundation funded by Bill Gates to provide all with the NCTQ Report and all things charter schools . And the Caldwell Report? I had never heard of it. I called on my best data gatherers by cell and asked them if they had come across the report and both said “No”.

I goggled it later and came up with all sorts of entries but nothing pertaining to teachers, teaching or merit pay. If someone else can find a report relevant to teaching or education referred to as the Caldwell Report, please let me know.

And where were all of the teachers in this “Education Session”? This was the PTA, the Parents and Teachers Association. Had we thrown them out with the bathwater too? There was someone in the “Education Session” who said she was a teacher. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing from her about student testing and merit pay and how it was all such a great idea. She was young so I was giving her the benefit of the doubt. As it came up later during the general assembly, she was a Teach for America teacher and during her two minutes said “Rhee did some good things while she was in DC”, like fire 271 teachers and replace them with Teach for America recruits? A ringer? Possibly.

After the “Education Session” was a presentation in the ballroom to be given by the senior Bill Gates. You just can’t seem to get away from those folks these days. I decided to take a break and not hear about how we should all vote for Bill 1098 basically to pay for all of this ed reform that they are pushing. Bill Gates, Sr. wants to make sure that the Gates Foundation doesn’t have to keep forking over the dollars to maintain their idea of education.

[...]

It was all starting to fall into place. So much for the PTA being an advocate for my child, they had become advocates for the Gates and the Broads and the hedge fund millionaires. They had sold our children out for a few shekels, high stakes testing, merit pay, union busting, and charter schools. That was all part of the package. Gates had provided the PTA with all of the “research” material that they would need to sell their ideas. The deed was done and the troops, or rather the Stepford Wives, would be marching forward into the offices of the state legislators and other policy makers waving their notebooks filled with data.


The partly Melinda Gates-controlled Washington Post (she is in the board) has published "Obama, the 'Superman' movie flack?"

Again, it is about the propaganda film from Guggenheim, who is pushing Gates' agenda despite warnings from the likes of Ravitch. Education Week, which is also funded (i.e. subverted) by Gates, has been bold enough to make the exception. "This was written by education historian Diane Ravitch on her Bridging Differences blog," says this new article, "which she co-authors with Deborah Meier on the Education Week website."

These electoral losses and the recent Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll suggest that the "reform" movement led by the Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, DFER, hedge-fund managers, and the Obama administration lacks a base of popular support. But now begins the next phase of the movement, as its public relations campaign goes into high gear with the release this week of "Waiting for Superman."


"Billionaires Unite! Against Public Education and Teachers" is this latest headline which protests Oprah's propaganda for Gates and goes further by quoting Ravitch [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]:

Winfrey has used her show — twice in one week — as a platform against public education. She first hosted billionaire Bill Gates to discuss his "philanthropy" in education, as he promoted the new anti-public education propaganda film Waiting for Superman.

[...]

For example, the Facebook founder's donation of $100 million to the Newark, New Jersey school district will almost certainly require — according to The New York Times — that the school institute these reforms, much like Bill Gates' donation of $100 million to the Tampa Hillsborough County School District — and the $90 million to the Memphis school district — had the same types of strings attached.

[...]

Ravitch summarized the chapter:

“The Billionaires Boys Club is a discussion of how we’re in a new era of the [billionaire] foundations and their relation to education. We have never in the history of the United States had foundations with the wealth of the Gates Foundation and some of the other billionaire foundations — the Walton Family Foundation, The Broad Foundation. And these three foundations — Gates, Broad and Walton — are committed now to charter schools and to evaluating teachers by test scores. And that’s now the policy of the U.S. Department of Education. We have never seen anything like this, where foundations had the ambition to direct national educational policy, and in fact are succeeding."

[...]

For example, the President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Randy Weingarten, sent a friendly invitation to Bill Gates to address the AFT convention, where Gates was allowed to deceive the teachers about the intentions of his multi-billion dollar "investment" in "reforming" education.

Gates’ ideas about education — blaming teachers for everything — ignores what most teachers already know: the main predictor for a student’s success is social-economic background. Rich students outperform poor students for many different reasons: less stress, more resources, parental help, etc. Ignoring this obvious fact exposes the billionaires’ profit motive behind their fake charity.


As we showed before, these attached strings are what makes those so-called 'donations' more like a bribe, or "lobbying" at best. The Hillsborough press is incapable or covering both sides of the story as Arne Duncan plays along with this agenda, even in Hillsborough. He seems to have been brought into Gates' fold as Gates keeps buying more influence over schools (buying, not earning) with examples like this one. The adjunct PR agent Ina Fried obviously ushers this misuse of school systems because it is used to promote Microsoft too, even in the technology press. 1105 Media Inc., which is carrying Microsoft burden (it runs some Microsoft web/magazines) is now promoting Blackboard while citing Gates 'studies', as usual.

Here are some new examples of seemingly rigged polls (self-serving and biased for a reason) from Gates:

How the poll was conducted



[...]

Stanford University's participation was made possible by a grant from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Watch them stealing people's voices and speaking on their behalf. Here is the latest among many such examples:

Pittsburgh teachers want more say in how they teach, more time in the classroom and better mentoring, according to a survey released Tuesday and commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Here is more propaganda (Gates-supplied data), this time about Education too:

A remarkable series of graphs, commissioned by the Gates Foundation.

[...]

Produced by The Guardian and the Gates Foundation, the charts are draw from the Millennium Development Report Card. Basically, it shows how well countries are performing on key development metrics, relative to their GDP.


For those who do not remember, The Guardian is funded by Gates [1, 2, 3, 4] and this time too it shows.

Over the past few weeks we have noticed a lot of "education" type PR from Gates. It is being pushed by PR agencies into all sorts of sites, drowning out signal [1, 2, 3]. Even AP appears to be favouring such PR now. Where is all the mainstream coverage about the dangers of it? Blogs certainly cover this a lot, but there is a certain cowardice that's prevalent in Gates-funded media companies.

Then there is the subject of libraries, which we previously covered in posts such as:



Gates is still spreading Microsoft to young people through computers in libraries [1, 2] (obviously with Windows) and sometimes with software 'donations' (Microsoft too gets involved) or connection [1, 2, 3]. How about something without strings and without PR attached to it? Real givers do more than just a lot of publicity.

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