05.11.10

Bill Gates and Microsoft Guard Their Interest in Schoolchildren and Colleges

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Windows at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Children crossing

Summary: How the Gates Foundation and Microsoft continue to lock down education and ensure they control the agenda young people are exposed to

OUR ongoing research into the Gates Foundation gradually reveals and also demonstrates its deeper motives. GatesKeepers, a dedicated watcher and restrained critic of the Gates Foundation, remarks on the pattern/subject that we are constantly seeing from both Gates and Microsoft, namely the occupation of the schooling systems (whereby Bill Gates is to become the Minister of Education [1, 2, 3, 4] who need not be elected). See this new press release where Microsoft software is treated like a religion that needs to be put in young people’s minds. Both Gates and Microsoft (as a foundation and a company, respectively) are doing exactly that, so concern is by all means justified. In her new book, Ravitch covers the subject in great length [1, 2].

One blogger has published the post: “Why Does Bill Gates Mistreat Poor Children?”

Most people have the perception that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a worthy philanthropic organization and maybe it is in some ways, but not in education. I wish Bill Gates would choose another cause for his giving or at least change his approach to include and respect educators

Currently, educators are being told by Gates (and sometimes Microsoft) what to do. We covered this subject before and we are still seeing his foundation putting money in strategic areas (also here) and making a lot of PR out of it. To give brand new examples of the exaggerated PR from local sites:

Gates uses the above PR to acquire himself a status, the use of which we’ll explain later on. Similar news tricks are being used by Microsoft, which has that old PR gig called “Imagine Cup”. To give examples from the past fortnight’s news:

A group of judges from U-M, Microsoft, and Ford reviewed the contributions of the six student teams for both relevancy and usability.

This is a case of free labour for Microsoft's car lock-in (“SYNC”).

Later on, Microsoft uses this PR to get itself deals in education. It’s a lucrative business and it enables the brainwashing of many young people. More fairy tales can’t do much harm, can they?

The effort is funded by a man who was a pretty fair student in his day, though he famously dropped out of Harvard to focus on the new world of computers: Bill Gates.

They forget to mention how he broke many laws. Apparently, journalists are too shy to discuss it these days. But positively portraying an ego trip and violations of the law as something that can be pardoned does have risks. It’s not a victimless act.

Here is Gates taking stock of his investments in Philadelphia [1, 2, 3, 4]. There is a lot of posing for the cameras, so to speak. It’s simply PR and the local press in Philadelphia worships his feet, perhaps choosing not to realise what comes next.

After all this PR, Gates gets treated by the press like an authority in US schooling. This New York Times piece seems to be quoting Gates et al. regarding education rather than turn to people whose job is education. Now, watch how Gates is managing the schools and telling teachers what to do.

The Measures of Effective Teaching program, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, is now at my school and many others across the city. Teachers were told this study would show what worked and did not work in the classroom.

[...]

One participant said this might be worthy of support, but nonetheless, it was not what the literature and representatives had said the program would be. Perhaps this was not “Measures of Effective Teaching,” but rather “Measures of Measures of Effective Teaching.”

We’re still awaiting a written response from the Gates Foundation. But if what our teacher was told is true, that would represent a clear bait-and-switch. Personally, I doubt the validity of magic formulas. The studies that support them this year will inevitably be supplanted by studies supporting something else next year. Such infallible studies tend to be discarded and replaced on a rapid and predictable basis. Gates thought small schools were the magic bullet, and he was wrong. I doubt his search for a magic formula for teachers will prove any more fruitful.

To elaborate on it:

About 725 teachers and their students in 86 schools are participating in the Measures of Effective Teaching Project, a two-year study funded with $2.3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We have already shown fraudulent ‘studies’ from the Gates Foundation. They simply promote the foundation’s own agenda and here we see it coming at the expense of children’s education.

“Several Bellevue School Board candidates have Microsoft roots,” alerts this article (although it probably views it as a positive thing because it’s the Seattle Times, which typically glorifies Microsoft and always glorifies Gates).

A former Microsoft financial officer, a PTA president, an attorney, the head of the Bellevue Schools Foundation and a self-employed legal consultant have all applied for an open seat on the Bellevue School Board.

The candidates’ bios have been posted online, and they have all been invited to speak at the start of the next school board meeting May 5. The board is filling a seat that will be left vacant by retiring board member Judy Bushnell.

This is bad. We have already seen how Rep. Hunter, a former Microsoft manager, helped Microsoft escape state tax. Microsoft’s influence in the government or local authorities is only being increased here.

With education being privatised, there is clearly reason for concern. Who is willing to give them more power at the government’s (taxpayers’) expense? It turns out that not only Gates is doing this. There are other rich people who want a share of children’s minds 1, 2, 3, 4], as we did point out before. Watch how public officials are being replaced by private interest groups. From the New York Times:

Despite Push, Success at Charter Schools Is Mixed

Executives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, McKinsey consultants and scholars from Stanford and Harvard mingled at an invitation-only meeting of the New Schools Venture Fund at a luxury hotel in Pasadena, Calif. Founded by investors who helped start Google and Amazon, this philanthropy seeks to raise the academic achievement of poor black and Hispanic students, largely through charter schools.

Here they are gathering privately in a hotel to decide on the nation’s schools. Isn’t that the role of one’s government?

To give another new example of rich people taking over public schools, here is the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation (another pet charity perhaps) joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a press release which says:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation today announced their support to help secure $93 million in a tax-exempt bond issuance that will help Aspire Public Schools, a leading California non-profit public charter school management organization, offer high-quality, permanent facilities to more students. Known as a Program Related Investment (PRI), each foundation has provided $8 million in unfunded guarantees to back bond financing for facilities that will serve more than 4,000 new students in the high-performing Aspire Public Schools system.

There are usually strings attached, as we did show before. As soon as they become funders they also become adopters and they give instructions to those schools. This is also covered in Gates’ fan press, the Seattle Times, which imported an AP article (also in Google). Other coverage comes from pet charity boosters and another single source we were able to identify. In short, coverage and defence of this move comes just from where it’s expected to come from. More profound coverage would at least question the motives, not just repeat the press release.

At the Seattle Times (Microsoft fan press), there are some articles that look like press releases and local press too seems to confirm recent reports that most news sites are simply PR (60% of the articles, especially in local press, are said to be ghostwritten by PR people).

More press releases which at least don’t masquerade as articles:

Get Schooled, the national education initiative co-developed by Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the New York Stock Exchange co-sponsored the contest as part of Financial Literacy Week and in recognition of President Obama’s pledge to improve American students’ performance in math and science.

Here is how they are changing the way schools are formed and run:

Soon after Hall became superintendent in July 1999, she began reaching out to local organizations and businesses as well as national groups like the Wallace Foundation. She also called the Gates Foundation, making a pitch about funding an effort to break up Atlanta’s high schools into smaller learning communities.

GatesKeepers writes about “a Bahia boarding school and the suffering of the head of the Gates Foundation”:

At first the idea of the head of the Gates Foundation answering questions from young people at a Bahia boarding school for farmers made the Gates Keepers nauseous. But we can learn a lot about the arrogance of the Gates Foundation from this Q and A. Here is a privileged rich white heterosexual American man who happened to be in the right place at the right time answering naive questions from ‘others’. The worst thing that ever happened to Bill was a legal situation of his own making. He has little experience of suffering like most of the inhabitants of the planet. It is no wonder he is the way he is.

This article goes beyond the issue of schooling and more into colonisation of areas like Africa. That subject will be covered in a later post.

There is nothing wrong with feeding people and helping education, but the way this is done here is self-enriching and self-serving. In older posts we showed this using far more compelling evidence. Without reading those prior posts, this current post can easily be misinterpreted.

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/05/11/locking-down-education/

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