Bonum Certa Men Certa

Author Calls for Action to Stop Bill Gates' Abduction of US Education

Summary: An increasing number of informed individuals will do whatever is possible to explain Gates' ego trip, which puts schools and colleges at high risk of becoming private (but publicly funded)

"Boycott Microsoft," says this new article about the Gates Foundation. The article alleges that Bill Gates not only monopolised the software industry (by repeatedly and knowingly breaking laws) but that he also monoplises the education system at the moment, using a financial vehicle which he claims to be a "philanthropy". This is a subject that we explored and explained many times before and here is how the new article puts it:



Every so often we glimpse small stories stuck into the back pages of the corporate press on the continuing payouts by Microsoft for settlements to years-old State claims that Gates "had stifled competition and broken state antitrust laws by overcharging consumers for software and computers." California settled for $1.1 billion, and this story last week shows more payouts continuing today, with Wisconsin figuring out how it will use $80 million that Gates promised years ago while continuing to deny any wrongdoing.

So bare-knuckled tactics are nothing new to the Gates team, as Bill's cadre of crooks continue to demonstrate in the big all-in bet to help Arne stifle any competition in the rigged RTTT, corporate ed reform's blueprint for the dismantling of public schools and the destruction of the teaching profession. Eerily, this is the same pattern of philanthro-capitalist bullying that Gates has used in other venues to restrict any diversity of views within the World Health Organization in the fight against malaria, as documented by Diane Ravitch in her new book:

The chief of malaria research for the World Health Organization, Dr. Arata Kochi, complained in 2008 that the Gates Foundation was stifling a diversity of views among scientists, because so many of the world's leading scientist in the field were "locked up in a 'cartel' with their own research funding being linked to those of others within the group," making it difficult to get independent reviews of research. The foundation's decision-making process, he charged, was "a closed internal process, and as far as can be seen, accountable to none other than itself" (p. 204).


Ravitch's analysis was covered here last week. There is more of this in the news, e.g.:

Book review: 'The Death and Life of the Great American School System,' by Diane Ravitch

The damage, she says, has been compounded by the well-meaning but ultimately misguided efforts of a new group of powerful private foundations, of which the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most prominent.

"Never in the history of the United States was there a foundation as rich and powerful as the Gates Foundation," Ravitch writes. "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."


Updates to the Science Shelf plus a new review - edited with addition

NCLB has not been the only factor undermining our schools, Ravitch writes. A new group of powerful private foundations, of which the Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the most prominent, have embraced education reform. The contributions of this "Billionaire Boys' Club" have also come with heavy doses of advocacy.

"Never in the history of the United States was there a foundation as rich and powerful as the Gates Foundation," Ravitch writes. "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."

To its credit, the Foundation has been diligent in analyzing the impact of its grant money. "In late 2008," Ravitch notes, "the Gates Foundation announced that it was changing course. Its $2 billion investment in new small high schools had not been especially successful."


Diane Ravitch: Charter Schools Won't Save the School System

Gates does to decision-making in schools what he does to decision-making in health. Two years ago the New York Times wrote that "The chief of malaria for the World Health Organization has complained that the growing dominance of malaria research by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation risks stifling a diversity of views among scientists and wiping out the world health agency’s policy-making function."

It's the same strategy all over again.

We have more new examples here. What the article does not make explicit enough is that there are strings attached to Gates' investments in schools.

Hillsborough hires 100 peer evaluators for its $100 million Gates reforms



[...]

This week, the district named about 100 teachers to serve as peer evaluators under its seven-year reform effort with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


$110 million is a very small price to pay in order to change the education agenda in one's own favour. More new coverage from The Wall Street Journal:

The pledge, signed at the annual meeting of the American Association of Community Colleges in Seattle, was followed by an announcement there that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would pump as much as $110 million into replacing lackluster remedial-education programs at community colleges, long a barrier to graduation.


This is an investment and not a donation; there is also some low-cost PR [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], perhaps part of the PR which gives them influence in education and does not cost much at all. Sooner or later we find Gates Foundation staff telling them what to do and how.

Yesterday we presented one example of this and now we are seeing more lobbying by the Gates Foundation in colleges.

For years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle has pushed high schools to work harder to graduate more students.


That's a lot of "pushing".

Since when are Bill & Melinda Gates the ministers of education [1, 2, 3, 4]? Did anyone elect them or are they self appointed? This is the type of thing Diane Ravitch warned about. As usual, Gates' worshippers at philanthropy.com play along with his party line. See the comments in this post. Not everyone is naive and people begin to realise what Gates is really up to.

Here is the Gates Foundation taking over schools with more new grants, which leads to yet more privatisation and agenda-setting:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -- which has become a major player in financing and agenda setting in community college education -- was involved in bringing the various groups together, and the signing of the statement will take place just before Melinda Gates addresses the community college leaders.


Last week we wrote about Gates' college tour (also covered the week before that) where Gates "Pushes His... Agenda," to use the words from the headline of this article from Boston (Gates delivered his presentation for PR purposes also at MIT). As we indicated last week, Ina Fried was there to do the PR/advertising under the disguise of "journalism". What an arrogant display of power and what an enormous risk to tomorrow's schools and colleges.

At the same time we see that Microsoft still fights against OLPC and other such initiatives that spread GNU/Linux and make information a commodity. Microsoft calls it "no byte left unused", which is a spinful euphemism that refers to:

Microsoft in new ‘no byte left unused’ deal with schools



Schools may no longer have to match the number of PCs in their IT labs with the student population, courtesy of Microsoft’s shared resource computing.

Under the programme, schools will put their computers’ capacity to optimal use and that institutions will realise savings on their information, communications and technology equipment acquisition, maintenance and support cost.


"No byte left unused" is a revealing slogan. Unlike "no child left behind", this is neither about children nor advancement; it is about using them.

In short, it's just another attempt by Microsoft to control schools. It has nothing to do with education or freedom. We wrote about what Microsoft is doing to education for quite a few years now. This is a pattern that we see all the time. Microsoft tries to indoctrinate the young people (for Windows and Office use) at a very young ages and at taxpayers' own expense, sometimes also tying their personal data to Microsoft servers and formats (which makes it virtually impossible for them to ever escape). The important point is that the Gates Foundation contributes to this behind the scenes. Ain't philanthrocapitalism just grand?

“Education and training: Target both developer and knowledge worker environment; Money and resources for curriculum development; Money and resources for teacher training; Subsidized certification on MS products”

--Confidential Microsoft document [PDF]

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