05.30.10

“Both Sen. Williams and Mr. Gates Do a Great Disservice to the Hundreds of Thousands of Students and Teachers”

Posted in Bill Gates, Finance, Microsoft at 7:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Denver boot

Summary: “Abrupt takeover” is an overstatement, but Bill Gates is buying influence over US education and not everyone is keeping quiet about it

THE NEW BOOK from Ravitch is critical of the Gates Foundation and we wrote about it in [1, 2, 3, 4]. In short, Ravitch alleges that Gates is buying influence over the schooling system/s and in this new article it’s being claimed that “both Sen. Williams and Mr. Gates do a great disservice to the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers who are successful and accomplishing great things in our public schools.” Our next post has a lot more to say on the subject of Microsoft intrusion into the public sector/government, but here are some fragments from this new article:

In her recent book “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice are Undermining Education,” Diane Ravitch makes the following observation regarding charters:

“Given the money and power behind charter schools (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Walton Family Foundation, Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, Obama Administration/RTT), it seems likely that they are here to stay. If we continue on the present course, with big foundations and the federal government investing heavily in opening more charter schools, the result is predictable. Charter schools in urban centers will enroll the motivated children of the poor, while the regular public schools will become schools of last resort for those who never applied or were rejected. The regular public schools will enroll a disproportionate share of students with learning disabilities and students who are classified as English-language learners; they will enroll the kids from the most troubled home circumstances, the ones with the worst attendance records and the lowest grades and test scores.”

[...]

However, not all of our schools face those same challenges. The public school system is not by any means a blanket failure. Both Sen. Williams and Mr. Gates do a great disservice to the hundreds of thousands of students and teachers who are successful and accomplishing great things in our public schools.

Gates is putting pressure using those so-called ‘donations’ that have strings attached to them (we gave many examples before). They actually call it a “contract”, not a “donation”. Here is an article from three days ago:

The district must contribute $129.55 million beyond the community gift over the seven-year term of the contract, under the deal with Gates Foundation.

According to the contract, MCS will receive $6.5 million installments from Gates twice a year.

There are other new examples where Gates offers money to schools [1, 2] (sometimes it’s called a “grant”) and here are the warning signs:

The Gates Foundation has become a leader in education reform, and Memphis is fortunate to have qualified as a sort of laboratory for change. An investment in that change could pay off well in the form of better teachers, administrators and schools.

The above says “leader” as in “monopoliser” and “reform” as in “do it our way”. The Gates Foundation has become a de facto source of guidance, just as Ravitch warned in her book. The Gates team defends its actions with reports it pays to generate (Microsoft too privately admits producing fake claims just to be able to cite them for support, as antitrust exhibits clearly show). Here is an example from last week’s news.

“Consequences of dropping out include increased chances of being in poverty, being unemployed, being on public assistance, being in prison or on death row, being divorced or being a single parent,” the report says, quoting the Gates Foundation.

This article is about high schools. It references the Gates Foundation as though it is a school board or education ministry. This is dangerous because private interests are private. “Never in the history of the United States was there a foundation as rich and powerful as the Gates Foundation,” wrote Ravitch. “Never was there one that sought to steer state and national policy in education. And never before was there a foundation that gave grants to almost every major think tank and advocacy group in the field of education, leaving almost no one willing to criticize its vast power and unchecked influence.”

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This post is also available in Gemini over at:

gemini://gemini.techrights.org/2010/05/30/us-education-abrupt-takeover/

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