Is the Common Core a Runaway Train? Is it Unstoppable? Let’s Ask Stephen Krashen

The Common Core train has left the station.  Is it a runaway train?  Is it unstoppable?  

Americans, get ready.  Common Core State Standards have already left the station, according to Stephen Krashen, who was featured in  NABE Weekly eNews, (2012), and the National Association for Bilingual Education,  see S. Krashen, “Poverty is the problem that must be solved: Our schools are not broken” NABE NEWS, 33 (4): 5-8. July/August 2011. 

But who is this Stephen Krashen?  Why should we ask him?  Why not ask Bill Gates?  Or Pearson?  Or David Coleman?

You can read about Krashen here on his website.  He’s an expert in education, unlike Gates, Pearson, or Coleman.  The problem is, Krashen isn’t driving the train.

Gates, Pearson, and Coleman are driving the train, and that’s like having no one at the wheel.  No one that knows what they are doing.  

Is the train unstoppable?  

Are schools really so broken across  America that 45 states have to adopt these untested standards?

What do we do when every American child is put on board a train without a driver?  Do we let that runaway train go until it crashes with all of them on board?  

These are serious questions that someone needs to answer.

Let’s  get a feel for what might be at risk, then pay attention closely as we ask Stephen Krashen, an education expert.

Krashen wrote:  

“It is not too late.  We are frequently told that “the train has already left the station.” It has not, however, arrived at its destination.”

He and NABE have given their permission to print Krashen’s work here.  My photos and comments are added.

Stephen Krashen:

Do Those Who Like the Common Core Know the Facts?   

Posted on NABE Weekly eNews  (National Association for Bilingual Education)

  “According to an Achieve poll, 68% of teachers and 74% of all voters approve of the common core state (sic) standards (either “very favorable” or “favorable”)

[http://www.achieve.org/GrowingAwarenessCCSS].  A poll of Education Next readers showed less enthusiasm, but 40% supported the common core at the time of this writing (either “completely” or “somewhat” supportive) [ http://educationnext.org/ednext-readers-poll-common-core/ ].” ~ Stephen Krashen, NABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

My update, as taken directly from Education Next Poll on Common Core below, includes  the week’s previous poll results, giving US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan a strong  “F”  in job performance.  Here are the results for both polls from their site:   

“Last week we asked:

“What grade would you give Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s job performance?”

The results were as follows:

A – 3%
B – 3%
C – 6%
D – 16 %
F – 72%

This week we want to know your thoughts on the following question:

As you may know, all states are currently deciding whether or not to adopt the Common Core standards in reading and math.  If adopted, these standards would be used to hold the state’s schools accountable for their performance.  Do you support or oppose the adoption of the Common Core standards in your state?

Do you support or oppose the adoption of the Common Core standards in your state? (Poll Closed)

Completely support 17.29%  

Somewhat support 12.62%  

Neither support nor oppose 3.97%  

Somewhat oppose 12.38%  

Completely oppose 53.74%  ”  ~  Education Next Reader’s Poll: Common Core(2012)

Yes, you read that right!  53.74% completely oppose the Common Core State Standards!  Interesting, since implementation of Common Core State Standards is getting started already in 45 states across America!

Stephen Krashen took the time to comment on the Education Next poll.  He said:

 Stephen Krashen says:

07/08/2012 at 12:57 am

“I wonder how the poll results would turn out if all those taking the poll realized that the common core state (sic) standards entails a massive increase in testing (about 20 times NCLB levels) and will be very expensive, at a time when money is very tight. I wonder how the results would be if respondees realized that there is no justification for the common core in the first place: the problem is poverty.” ~ Stephen Krashen, commentsEducation Next Poll: Common Core (2012)

Yes, I wonder how America will feel about the BILLIONS being spent, according to the Pioneer Institute on implementation of the Common Core State Standards?   What if we invested those billions in wrap-around services to directly counter the impacts of poverty instead?

Krashen warns us of a MASSIVE increase in testing, 20 times the testing that NCLB requires as he continues in NABE Weekly eNews:

“I wonder how the poll results would turn out if those taking the poll realized that the common core state (sic) standards mean a massive increase in testing and will be very expensive, at a time when money is very tight. My estimate is that the common core will require about 20 times the amount of testing that NCLB requires, with more subjects and grade levels tested, interim tests, and maybe even pretests in the fall.”  ~ Stephen Krashen, NABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

Just what does all this testing do for children’s learning?  Remember, “testing is not teaching”.  How much time will teachers be spending on teaching with Common Core?  How much excessive testing time goes on before the implementation?  Sounds like a train wreck right around the corner to me.

Are we nuts?  Who is driving this train?   What could communities spend that $16 billion on instead of implementation and testing costs?

Are we assuming that by 20 x MORE testing, we are going to achieve better results?  Who says?  How do we know?

What else does Stephen say this evidence in NABE?  What does he say about the REASON we need Common Core.  Is there a justifiable reason?  What are the real factors devastating some student achievement?  What would  the people of America think if they knew the answers?

 

“I wonder how the results would be if those polled realized that there is no evidence that increased testing will boost achievement, and that there is no justification for the common core in the first place: There is strong evidence that the major reason for low school achievement is poverty.  According to UNICEF (Innocenti Report 10), the US child poverty rate is now 23%, the second highest among 35 “economically advanced” countries.  Poverty has a devastating impact on school performance.”  ~ Stephen KrashenNABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

Obama wants America to “race to the top”.  There’s a “Race to the Top” medal for America.  We have achieved, alright.  We’ve achieved the second highest poverty rating among 35 “economically advanced” countries.  

We get second place and after we spend these billions on implementing Common Core State Standards instead of dealing with the problem of poverty in the first place, maybe we’ll win next year!  First prize!   Maybe it is better for us to start becoming un-advanced economically?

I suppose we should trust Pearson, Gates, and David Coleman and just implement the Common Core without any field testing, huh?  Does America know these standards have not had any field testing?  Will 20 x the testing help children in poverty achieve?

Oh, wait.  There’s more from Krashen.  

 “I wonder how those polled would respond if they knew that the billions to be spent on unnecessary and excessive testing could be used to protect children against the effects of poverty.” ~ Stephen KrashenNABE Weekly eNews, (2012)

 But is it too late?  Is the train of Common Core unstoppable?

He wonders too, what the pollers would have said if they KNEW these billions were being spent on UNNECCESSARY excessive testing.  Is it unnecessary?    Do you know, American parents?  Start asking questions.  Stop the train.

Do these standards really make a difference when in the end, we all group up with different passions, talents, and interests that lead us to different vocations, professions, and lifestyles?  Why try to standardize everyone?  Does it make sense, really?  What if we embraced everyone’s diversity instead?

When was the last time you heard of ANYONE solving any of the world’s REAL problems by taking one of these bubble tests?  

  • Has anyone attributed these bubble tests to saving a life?  
  • Inventing something important for society?  
  • Adding to their success?  
  • Creating happiness?  
  • Establishing credibility in their future?  
  • What happened after you got your diploma?  
  • Did you EVER refer back to those bubble tests in your resume?

But more importantly:  What would happen if we spent these billions on stemming the bleeding on poverty instead?  What kinds of things might REALLY help?  

 

Krashen has more questions too, and points out — when it comes to Common Core, it may not be too late.  Could we stop the train?  Is it unstoppable? 

 “It is not too late.  We are frequently told that “the train has already left the station.” It has not, however, arrived at its destination.

 If the public knew the details about the Common Core, the astonishing amount of testing, the cost, and the lack of evidence that it will work, the train would stop immediately.”

Note: NABE passed a strong resolution opposing the common core standards and tests at the 2012 annual meeting.

For sources, see S. Krashen, “Poverty is the problem that must be solved: Our schools are not broken” NABE NEWS, 33 (4): 5-8. July/August 2011.

 

Krashen inspires us, encourages us, and directs us to stop this train.  

We don’t need Common Core Standards.  

Our schools are not broken.  

We don’t need 20 x the high stakes testing.  

Our schools are not broken.  

We don’t need Value Added Measures [VAM].  

Our schools are not broken.  

We don’t need charter schools to make the rich guys richer.  

Our schools are not broken. 

It’s not too late.  

Stop Common Core.

Stop the poverty train. 

Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction.

I agree with Stephen Krashen.  

Schools are not broken.  

Society is broken.  

Common Core State Standards won’t help poverty.   In fact, it’s $16 billion price tag will likely make it a whole lot worse.  

America, we need to put people like Stephen Krashen behind the wheel.  

Don’t be deceived by their propaganda:  Take the wheel away from the corporations.    Why would we trust them with anything?  $16 Billion?  Our children?  Our schools?  Our teachers?   Why?

Let’s stop this train — the poverty train — before it’s too late.  

Why?

Because these children —- these children in poverty —- these children in our public schools  — they’re real human beings —-  they aren’t numbers.


1984: Melinda and Bill Gates’ Dystopian Ethos of Propaganda

“Our ethos is all that we currently hold to be true. It is what we act upon.  It governs our manners, our business, and our politics.” ~ Howard Zinn

Big Brother: [voice-over] “This is our land. A land of peace and of plenty. A land of harmony and hope. This is our land. Oceania. These are our people. The workers, the strivers, the builders. These are our people. The builders of our world, struggling, fighting, bleeding, dying. On the streets of our cities and on the far-flung battlefields. Fighting against the mutilation of our hopes and dreams. Who are they? ” ~  IMDb, “1984″

    

Yes, WHO are THEY?  

They tell you this is our land.

They tell you we live in a land of peace.

They tell you that we live in a land of plenty.

They tell us we live in a land of harmony.

They tell us we live in a land of hope.

They even tell us we are her people…the workers, the strivers, the builders.

They tell us it is THEM “fighting against the mutilation of our hopes and dreams.

They  tell you “these are our people.”  

They tell you they care about the “builders of our world, the struggling, the fighting, the bleeding, the dying.  

They tell you they care about our streets, our cities …

…and then Bill and Melinda Gates (and the rest of the 1% Corporate leaders of the world) take

ACTION opposite of their words —-

words of propaganda —

bringing us  they dystopia of 1984.


One has to wonder what is happening in the world when the RICH and FAMOUS of “Who’s Who in America?” bring us into George Orwell’s world of “1984″?

“The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.”  ~  Edward Bernays

But Edward Bernays asks us an important question in 1928 in his book “Propaganda”.  He asks an important question about this brainwashing:

Who is doing the brainwashing?  Who are the new propagandists?

WHO are the men who, without our realizing it, give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, what to believe about the ownership of public utilities, about the tariff, about the price of rubber, about the Dawes Plan, about immigration; who tell us how our houses should be designed, what furniture we should put into them, what menus we should serve on our table, what kind of shirts we must wear, what sports we should indulge in, what plays we should see, what charities we should support, what pictures we should admire, what slang we should affect, what jokes we should laugh at? “

  If we set out to make a list of the men and women who, because of their position in public life, might fairly be called the molders of public opinion, we could quickly arrive at an extended list of persons mentioned in “Who’s Who.” ~  Edward Bernays, History Is A Weapon”  (emphasis added)

Bernays goes on to describe the inner working of this group further here:

 “In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would become hopelessly jammed. To avoid such confusion, society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to its attention through propaganda of all kinds. There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea. 

It might be better to have, instead of propaganda and special pleading, committees of wise men who would choose our rulers, dictate our conduct, private and public, and decide upon the best types of clothes for us to wear and the best kinds of food for us to eat. But we have chosen the opposite method, that of open competition. We must find a way to make free competition function with reasonable smoothness. To achieve this society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda.”    Edward Bernays, History Is A Weapon”  

Certainly, if Bill and Melinda Gates are masters of ANYTHING, they are masters of propaganda, a word softened by using language like “public relations”.

How else would Gates build their monopoly at Microsoft on an inferior product?

Have Melinda and Bill Gates slipped this time?  After all, they seem to have been successfully hiding their dystopian plans for America quite nicely from average American consumers behind their propaganda until now.

But where did all this propaganda, this “public relations”, marketing, advertising, and consumerism begin?

When did we start allowing Capitalism to intersect with government? Some say “It started with Reagan’s deregulation.”

Let’s look back further….back to the last great depression, post war 1928...  back to another time of dystopia —– and review a bit more of Edward Bernays.

In Dystopias of the Great War Era they write in a thesis from SEDHE:

“The United States prior to World War I was a veritable breeding ground of corporate corruption. Such colorful figures as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Andrew Carnegie, and John D. Rockefeller became icons of capitalism. They had hundreds of millions of dollars – billions in today’s dollars – to such a degree that Rockefeller’s personal assets once bailed the U.S. government out of a financial slump. Industry prior to World War I was largely unregulated; unions were broken up and union members beaten and fired. The United States was not a pretty place prior to World War I. England after World War I was similarly a bastion of capitalism, a place where prosperity enticed people to buy things. The mass production of products for the consumer, one of the major projects of the Industrial Revolution, had come to a head.” ~  SEDHE

The Father of Spin book review

During that time, long ago in that post war-time of dystopia, Sigmund Freud was an uncle of a man named Edward Bernays.  Bernays wrote his book Propaganda in 1928.

“Many of the new insights that Tye offers have to do with Bernays’s relationship with his family and his uncle Sigmund Freud, whose reputation as “the father of psychoanalysis” owes something to Bernays’ publicity efforts. Bernays regarded Uncle Sigmund as a mentor, and used Freud’s insights into the human psyche and motivation to design his PR campaigns, while also trading on his famous uncle’s name to inflate his own stature.

There is, however, a striking paradox in the relationship between the two. Uncle Sigmund’s “talking cure” was designed to unearth his patients’ unconscious drives and hidden motives, in the belief that bringing them into conscious discourse would help people lead healthier lives. Bernays, by contrast, used psychological techniques to mask the motives of his clients, as part of a deliberate strategy aimed at keeping the public unconscious of the forces that were working to mold their minds.” ~  Larry Tye, “The Father of Spin:  Edward Bernays and the Birth of PR”    [Note: You’ll find some of Bernay’s quotes below.]

So here we have it.  Propaganda could be used for good to serve the needs of the individual needing psychological support or it could be used for subversive thought control of others to serve the needs of the propagandist.

It is evident that Melinda and Bill Gates are using their brand of propaganda for subversive thought control of others to serve the needs of the propagandist.

Now the Gates are about to step up their game, increasing their mastermind of thought control through another area of expertise for them — technology.

So what am I basing my statement on?  

I’m basing it on Susan Ohanian’s discovery of public documents on the Gates Foundation grants page on their own website.  And of course on previous research which you can read through my prior blog posts, especially this one on Melinda Gates and where their children attend school compared to the policies they push forth in public schools via their propaganda.  I’ll show you their documents directly screen printed from their website below as evidence.

                                    

Leonie Haimson read Susan Ohanian’s post and quickly sent an email around to Parents Across America.

One of the recipients on this list was Diane Ravitch, Education Historian, former Assistant Secretary of Education, and author of “The Death and the Life of the Great American School System”.

Despite her rivalry with Bill Gates, Diane Ravitch was quite shocked by this Freudian slip.  She writes on her blog:

“I opened the following email and at first I thought it was a prank or, as another reader put it, an article taken from The Onion.”  ~  Diane Ravitch, “Just When You Thought It Couldn’t Get Crazier“, WordPress Blog

Diane’s reaction was probably similar to many’s when she received Leonie Haimson’s email about Susan Ohanian’s futuristic and frightening discovery.

I can only imagine Diane’s thoughts [Is this some kind of joke?] as she read the subject line:

From: Leonie Haimson

To: nyceducationnews ; paa news
Sent: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 10:08 am
Subject: [nyceducationnews] Gates Foundation: one more step into the dystopian future with electronic bracelets for students & teachers

Could it be that there is a crack in the foundation of the Gates Foundation’s education policies that are created to promote their real agenda through propaganda?

Could it be that they went too far this time with their belief in “innovation and technology”?

Actually, we find the Gates are constantly pushing for innovation, but if they were to study propaganda, they would find that their method of thought control actually prevents innovation.  If they have studied propaganda, perhaps that is the real purpose.  After all, isn’t innovation the opposite of thought control?

While novels have been written, their authors contemplated the realities of aBrave New World”.

Huxley warned us of science being used as a tool in racism.  Here in SEDHE’s introduction they write:

Huxley is deeply suspicious of science, and he imbues Mustapha Mond with this same suspicion. Science in Brave New World does not seek to learn higher truths. It merely exists to keep the status quo in control. “All our science is just a cookery book, with an orthodox theory of cooking that nobody’s supposed to question, and a list of recipes that mustn’t be added to except by special permission from the head cook,” says Mustapha Mond (225). True science would be a threat to the stability of the society that Mond has spent so much time attempting to create and sustain. The only kind of scientific innovation permitted in Brave New World is innovation that, curiously, stifles innovation. “We could synthesize every morsel of food, if we wanted to. But we don’t. We prefer to keep a third of the population on the land. For their own sakes – because it takes longer to get food out of the land than out of a factory,” says Mond (224).

This criticism applies to the twentieth century, as well, with its pervasive theories that still attempted to justify the genetic inferiority or superiority of particular races. Eugenics was merely racism justified by attaching “science” to it. Brave New World criticizes these kinds of pseudo-science as methods of allowing some groups of people to continue to be oppressed, but with a more “rational” means for a more rational world. As long as the justification for racism appears scientific, then agency is removed from human beings (“It’s not my fault the Gammas are inferior; they were born that way”). Huxley goes a step beyond exposing racism in science and creates a world in which science itself creates the conditions that justify that racism. We should be wary of science, Huxley suggests, for it can be used by elites to reinforce their control over marginalized peoples.”  ~ Dystopias of the Great War Era, SEDHE Thesis (emphasis added)

What exactly are the Gates’ plans for these “electronic bracelets”?  

More segregation?  

More sorting and culling of children and teachers?

Who is going to volunteer to be the teachers and students wearing these devices and just what is next?  Shock collars?  
wife yelling needs collar

Answer a question wrong?  Zap!

Students aren’t engaged enough?  Zap!  

Student is overly excited?  Zap!  

Teacher pauses to collect her thoughts?  Zap!

Evidently this kind of galvanic skin response experimentation has already taken place on those easy to control, the “mentally retarded” as this separate study says.

If you have seen the movie “1984″you know of the torture involved.

What do you call sending a child to school for 12 years, only to not allow them to graduate simply because they failed ONE high-stakes test?  

What do you call sending children to school without art, music, PE, recess, or electives?

What do you call selecting and culling children, preventing them from attending  charter schools funded by the wealthy that have fantastic programs, preventing “culled children” from attending due to race, class, or ability?

I don’t know about you, but as a special education teacher, I am outraged at this experimentation with people who are not capable of true consent.

Will children and teachers have any say in the Gates’ experiment either?

Or will galvanic skin response bracelets be the next federal mandate?

Buy Common Core and get one galvanic skin response bracelet free  for the first 12 students free —-  we’ll sell you all the rest for profit?

Well, they’re going to use these ‘electronic galvanic skin response bracelets  for  their “Measures of Effective Teaching Project and “student learning”, of course.

Susan Ohanian tells us about it on her website.  She suggests we look this up on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation site.

I have great respect for Susan, so I did.   Here’s  the first in a series of screen shots of this search typed in on their page:

What will we find when we search, I wonder?  Let’s look at the purpose of their Measurements of Effective Teaching Project [MET].

We all need to start reading more carefully.  We all have to start questioning what we read.  

  • What is the spin?  
  • What is the propaganda?

Note the “ALL LIVES HAVE EQUAL VALUE” propaganda.

Note the “PARTNERSHIPS” propaganda.

Note the “WHAT WE’RE LEARNING” propaganda.

And finally, note the ‘MEASUREMENTS OF EFFECTIVE TEACHING” propaganda.  

Let’s first presume that the common ethos includes this belief:  According to Melinda Gates and PBS, Melinda is some kind of education expert as you can see in their introduction of her for their program, PBS News Hour (emphasis added):

“As the co-founder of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, Melinda Gates has spent decades looking at the challenges and potential solutions to the problems facing America’s education system.

The foundation controls over $30 billion, which its staff uses to pursue the goal of giving every child an equal opportunity to thrive. The majority of the money goes to reducing obstacles such as poor health and malnutrition in developing nations. But in the United States, the focus has been on identifying and supporting ways to fix the inequalities within a public school system, where schools in high-poverty areas fall far behind their more affluent counterparts and other countries in terms of graduation rates and academic achievement.

Since 1994, the foundation has spent over $6 billion in the United States, looking at data-proven ways to improve student achievement and often jumping into controversial policy debates such as smaller schools in New York City, charter schools, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems around the country.”

Okay, so the common ethos here is that because Melinda and Bill Gates have been pouring their money into public education, they are experts, and because they have more money than you are I; they are infallible.

If we act on this belief, we take everything they say, all their policies as truth, no?

Here’s Melinda Gates’ ethos…  She says:

  • “American schools are broken.”  
  • “We really do need an effective teacher.”
  • “We’re really going to go for getting an evaluation system to tell us whether they are effective or not.”

Here’s her video on PBS where she plays out the expert role, an expert, that is, at spewing her propaganda.

Melinda Gates on Teacher Evaluation PBS News Hour

Well, now let’s change our minds.  Let’s change our ethos and believe something far different.

Let’s believe that Bill and Melinda Gates are pushing propaganda for a less than altruistic motive.

Let’s just say it’s something as innocent as remaining the richest couple in the world and to do so, they need to break into the frontier of public education testing, Common Core curriculum for every child in America, text books for every child in America, technology from Microsoft for every child in America, teacher professional development and teacher training for every teacher in America, and so on.

Certainly the $8 Billion expected as profits from the textbooks alone, on top of the  implementation of Common Core Curriculum ought to add something to their coffers of cash.

Note: Gates has partnered with Pearson on Common Core.

Here’s what Lisa Fleisher has to tell us about the profits they are about to rake in  JUST from the textbooks ALONE (emphasis added):

“As public schools implement a new set of nearly national curriculum standards, publishers are expecting a wave of demand for new textbooks, tests and teacher preparation.

The guidelines will reshape how students learn math and English in 45 states. The total cost isn’t clear, but a study to be released Wednesday by the Thomas B. Fordham Institute says the price tag could be as high as $1 billion to $8 billion.

Such publishers as Pearson PLC, McGraw-Hill Cos. and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are marketing rewritten or revamped textbooks aligned with the new guidelines, called the Common Core State Standards.’ ~ Lisa Fleisher, “Textbook Sales Likely to Rise  on New Rules”

So let’s shift our ethos to understand that the Gates promote propaganda to help sell products for profit.

If this new ethos is true, then let’s deconstruct the purpose of the Gates’ MET Project first statement as we begin to think about the idea of using galvanic skin response bracelets to measure good teaching and learning.

Instead of believing the Gates’ are infallible, let’s believe instead that they are 100% wrong as “educational experts.”

Here is the final Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation screen shot showing the grant to fund the galvanic skin response bracelets for teachers and students.

Here’s the propaganda of the Gates Foundation on their MET Project:

  1. Evidence shows clearly what most people know intuitively: teachers matter more to student learning than anything else inside a school.

Here’s the truth  as told by education experts:

Diane Ravitch Response to Melinda Gates on PBS

Here’s Diane Ravitch’s response to Melinda Gates on PBS News Hour.  Diane says:

“Well, are there ineffective teachers? I’m sure there must be. I’ve heard stories of ineffective teachers. And I certainly don’t think there should be even one ineffective teacher in any school.

And it’s the job of the administration, the job of the principal primarily, to make sure that no ineffective teacher ever gets tenure. Once they get tenure, all that means is — it doesn’t mean they have a lifetime job. It doesn’t mean they get paid for breathing. It means that they have a right to due process. If, after getting tenure, the principal says, I want to fire you, they have to have evidence. They have to have a hearing before an impartial administrator.

That really is not such a burdensome thing. But it’s very clear that this is not the key problem in American education, because the lowest performance is not in union districts. The highest performance in America is Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. These are three states that are all union states.

They have very strong collective bargaining agreements and the highest-performing states. The weakest performance is in the states that have no collective bargaining and where there’s a lot of poverty. I think it’s really important in your discussions about education that you recognize that the most — the biggest single correlate and, very likely, I would say the cause of low performance is not teachers or union contracts. It’s poverty and racial isolation.

In every district where there is very low academic achievement, there is poverty and racial isolation. And yet we are now trapped in this national conversation where there’s almost an agreement we will not talk about poverty. We will not talk about racial isolation. We will just talk about teachers. We are talking about the wrong problem.”  ~  Diane Ravitch, PBS News Hour

Here’s what Alfie Kohn says about what matters most to student learning:

“Every empirical investigation of this question has found that socioeconomic status (SES) in all its particulars accounts for an overwhelming proportion of the variance in test scores when different schools, towns, or states are compared.(1)  Thus ignorance would be the most charitable explanation for why charts are published that rank schools (or towns or states) by these scores — or why anyone would use those rankings to draw conclusions about classroom quality.” ~  Alfie Kohn, Fighting the Tests, [2001]

What does Diane Ravitch think of Melinda Gates and Bill Gates influence on education through their so called, “philanthropy”?

How does Ravitch view the Gates’ ethos of “expertise” in education?

PBS News Hour’s Ray Suarez asked Diane:

“Have the foundations been a worthwhile addition to the debate over the future of education?”

Diane replied (emphasis added):

Well, I have a chapter in my book about — I call them the billionaire boys club. The billionaires boys club is led by the three biggest foundations in America, the Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation.

These are the three billionaire foundations that give a lot of money to American education. And it has been given to push the privatization movement forward, as well as to put a very heavy emphasis on testing and test scores as part of teacher evaluation. I think that — you know, I’m a historian. So, I look back and I say, there has never been a time in our national life where foundations, which are accountable to no one, make decisions about what our education policy should be.

Sometimes, they make the wrong bet. And the Gates Foundation is a very good example of this. They put $2 billion into breaking up large high schools into small high schools. And after doing that for almost a decade, they said, whoops, that didn’t work. We’re not going to do that anymore. Now we’re going to put the focus on teacher evaluation.

And so the immense amount of money, the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Gates Foundation and now these other big foundations are pouring in, they are directing the national conversation. And I think that’s not — it strikes me that that’s in some ways not democratic.

Our conversations about what to do about our schools should be held at the local level and at the state level. The federal government is there to level the playing field. They’re not there to steer the boat.”  ~  Diane Ravitch, PBS News Hour

Now that the Gates Foundation is placing money into the hands of the developers of galvanic skin response bracelets to add to their data bank on teacher evaluation and student learning, what’s next?

So really, what is next?  Here’s just one example:

From Geeko Systems we see that a bracelet isn’t really needed.  All this can”data” be tracked by something much like a temporary tattoo.

“A team of researchers from the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign have developed small electronic devices that can be worn on the skin. These temporary tattoos make the person wearing them a part of the device, which can bend, stretch, and move along with the skin. The researchers were hoping to make less obtrusive medical monitors for special needs patients, like premature babies, but the new sensors have proven so successful they could also be used for a variety of other applications.

The idea of making wearable sensors that adhere to the skin seems so easy and useful it’s surprising no one has developed them before. According to researchers, the major challenge in developing the technology was making the parts of the sensor as flexible and stretchy as skin. To do this, the researchers had to take brittle silicon and make it more bendable by making the sensor incredibly thin. The electronic parts of the sensor, light-emitting diodes, solar cells, transistors, and antennae, were assembled in an S-shape that would allow the circuits to still work when stretched in different directions.

 The sensor components are stuck between two protective layers of the polymer polyimide, and these layers sit on top of a rubbery film of silicone that attaches to the skin using weak chemical bonds. The device adheres similarly to a temporary tattoo, which disguises the sensor grid and makes it stick longer. The electronic sensor is less intrusive than other electrode-based monitoring systems that require bulky wires.

According to the researchers, the devices can pick up heartbeats when stuck on the chest, skeletal muscle activity when on the leg, and brainwaves when on the forehead. In their trials of the device, the researchers recorded signals from a thin wire that relayed data to a computer. The sensors were able to collect accurate data for up to six hours and showed no sign of skin irritation where they were attached after 24 hours.

Nanoengineer Michael McAlpine of Princeton University (who was not involved in the research) told Science News:

“This is a huge breakthrough. This goes beyond Dick Tracy calling someone with a cell phone on the wrist. It’s having the wrist itself house the device so it’s always with you.”

The potential for these devices goes far beyond just tracking heartbeats. The researchers tested their sensors to see if they could control a computer. When adhered to the throat, the device was able to read the electrical activity of the muscles moving when the test subject spoke the commands up, down, left, and right. This proved to be a successful way to control a computer’s cursor as it moved through a maze.

So far, the device can be powered by wireless coils and solar cells, and the researchers hope to improve the devices’ power storage capabilities. The researchers believe that in the future these devices could even run on the energy from body heat or stray electromagnetic signals.

Right now, the researchers are focused on the biomedical applications of this electronic sensor temporary tattoo, however, even with a multitude of medical possibilities, there are other ways this technology could be used. One example, aside from controlling computer movements, is CIA interest in developing the technology as a way for agents to silently communicate with one other by tracking the muscle movements that correspond with words.

While the technology isn’t available to the public, it is certainly an interesting breakthrough and it will be fascinating to see what kinds of new devices are spawned from it. The research was published in the journal Science.” ~ Erin Podalack, “Electronic Sensors, Stick Like Temporary Tattoos, Present Endless Possibilities”

But why bother with temporary?  Let’s just make it permanent…

I couldn’t help myself.  

I had to see if the Gates Foundation is “building partnerships” with the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign where these devices are being developed.

Although the relationship to these devices is not clear, certainly the partnerships are “being developed” through grants from the Gates Foundation to this branch in the University.

<sigh>… It’s only a matter of time.

What if the Gates and the rest of the “Billionaire Boys Club” ethos isn’t quite so innocent?

What if public education by corporations were being used a a tool to deliver permanent NeoSlavery?

And what if this is only one facet of a much larger systemic problem in America and across the globe?

“The two aims of the Party are to conquer the whole surface of the earth and to extinguish once and for all the possibility of independent thought.”   ~  George Orwell, “1984″

 

Here are some quotes from “Propaganda” by Bernays (emphasis added):

“If we understand the mechanisms and motives of the group mind, it is now possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing it… In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons … who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.”

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.”

“We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized.”

“Propaganda will never die out. Intelligent men must realize that propaganda is the modern instrument by which they can fight for productive ends and help to bring order out of chaos.” …

“Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. Is this government by propaganda? Call it, if you prefer, government by education. But education, in the academic sense of the word, is not sufficient. It must be enlightened expert propaganda through the creation of circumstances, through the high-spotting of significant events, and the dramatization of important issues. The statesman of the future will thus be enabled to focus the public mind on crucial points of policy and regiment a vast, heterogeneous mass of voters to clear understanding and intelligent action.”

“Ours must be a leadership democracy administered by the intelligent minority who know how to regiment and guide the masses. Is this government by propaganda?  Call it, if you prefer, government by education. But education, in the academic sense of the word, is not sufficient. It must be enlightened expert propaganda through the creation of circumstances, through the high-spotting of significant events, and the dramatization of important issues. The statesman of the future will thus be enabled to focus the public mind on crucial points of policy and regiment a vast, heterogeneous mass of voters to clear understanding and intelligent action.” 

 “They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world. “ ~ Edward Barnays , “History Is a Weapon”

What if the entire time our own country’s moral principles have been in place to give you a false sense of equity and choice, a false ethos of propaganda?

Our freedom would be at stake, our democracy would be a sham.

How could this be?  

Could we have been a sham all along?  

Remember when women, the people of color, the poor, began to question our founding fathers about equality?  

Oh, ya.  That’s right:  equality was just for the rich, white, male land owner of privilege.  

Has this REALLY changed? (class war, racism, war on women, human rights, immigrant rights, etc.)

 Are we persuaded into our labor by the mere hope of equality?

Our country seems both obsessed and anesthetized by consumerism.

I think Melinda and Bill Gates are counting on it.  Counting on our buying every one of their monopolized products and agendas.

What if Melinda and Bill Gates, by controlling public education were also able to control government and democracy?


Now the real question becomes:  What are you going to do about this threat to our freedom?

Here’s what Senator Bernie Sanders has to say about America’s freedom.

 “Freedom does not simply mean rallying oneself behind the flag.  It’s a great flag, but freedom means allowing the kind of dissent and vigorous debate, and tolerance of onerous points of view, that people regard as obnoxious and hateful, because we understand that once you say, I don’t want to hear that point of view, you can’t say that, you begin to stifle all kinds of points of view. you begin to create a mindset.  Freedom is a very delicate thing, it’s a very delicate thing between limiting people’s intellectual growth, or not.  And that’s why we have to be vigourous and extremely proud.  This flag means the constitution of the United States.  We as Americans should be very very proud of that and we should do everything we can to fight THOSE people who for political reasons are trying to limit basic freedoms in America.  ~  Bernie Sanders

Edward Bernays taught the corporations how to market their products to you by pushing your buttons.  The thought police are growing stronger and we must resist.

O’Brien: Power is tearing human minds apart and putting them back together in new shapes of your own choosing.

“That which the system holds most dear is its greatest weakness.” ~ Ethos

Here’s what YOU can DO:

  • Stop believing the propaganda of corporations.
  • Think critically about EVERYTHING you read and view.
  • Determine your own truth and trust your intuition, your “gut” reaction.
  • STOP CONSUMING!  They need us!  We don’t NEED them.  This is their weakness!
  • Listen to expert professionals, not corporations.
  • Speak up against corporate control over a profession that is complex and leave this work to the professionals who are educators.
  • Demand the education policies in place that require high stakes testing be stopped immediately.
  • Demand a moratorium on all testing that is NOT teacher created, that is not diagnostic in nature to benefit authentic learning through prescriptions created by expert teachers.
  • Write letters to your school board, letters to the editor, op-eds, your superintendents, your congressmen, your state department of education, the federal department of education, the president of the United States.
  • Blog, read, share your information via email, Facebook, and Twitter expansively.  Tell your neighbors.  Tell your friends.  Speak out!
  • Protest:  The Gates Foundation, Microsoft, Pearson, Wal-Mart, The Koch Brothers, the Broad Foundation, all private and so called “public” charter schools, the Departments of Education at state and federal levels.
  • Occupy your classroom and teach the arts – teach social justice, history, and the civics including the importance for the freedom of dissent – teach through as much real reform as you can get by with and keep fighting for more!
  • March, protest, strike – your freedom and the freedom of your children is at stake.

Happy Mother’s Day Melinda Gates, Mommie Dearest

Joan Crawford: Did you scrub the bathroom floor today? DID YOU?
Christina Crawford: Yes, Mommie.
Joan Crawford: Yes, Mommie what?
Christina Crawford: Yes, Mommie Dearest.
Joan Crawford: When I told you to call me that, I wanted you to mean it. ~  IMDb Mommie Dearest 

In honor of Mother’s Day, please join me in wishing Melinda Gates, Mommie Dearest a Happy Mother’s Day.


Melinda’s Family: Husband: Bill Gates, married 18 years; Kids: Jennifer, 16, Rory, 13, Phoebe, 10

(photo: Parent DishAmazing Mom, Melinda Gates, May 9th, 2010.)

Mommie Dearest, you SAY that “All lives have equal value.”  

We’re a bit confused because we’re not seeing your actions match your words…

We don’t understand why you’re not advocating and using your  influence to make sure our children get the same opportunities yours do…

Lakeside School – Seattle, WA

“The lawn is meticulously manicured, as if the groundskeeper’s tools include a cuticle scissors. Classic brick buildings, a bell tolling the hour and concrete lion statues almost convince me that I’m at an East Coast college. But this is Lakeside School in Northeast Seattle.” ~ Linda Thomas,  Private vs Public Education

Melinda and Bill send their children to Lakeside Prep School, Bill’s alma mater.  Lakeside sounds like the perfect place to send ALL children, as it is touted as one of the “Best Schools in Seattle“.

Lakeside School

  • “In addition to being well known as Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ alma mater, Lakeside School is also known in the area for its rigorous academic standards, resulting in 100 percent of it graduates in 2005 going onto a four-year college, as well as a consistent 40 to 50 percent of its seniors being recognized as National Merit Scholars. The required curriculum includes four years of English, three years of history, math and a foreign language, two and a half years of science, and two years of art and physical education. In addition to the required curriculum, students must also complete 80 hours of community service. Students are free to choose from a range of selective academic courses and with average class sizes limited to 16, students get plenty of individual attention.”

    Lakeside School
    14050 First Avenue N.E.
    Seattle, WA 98125
    206-368-3600
    lakesideschool.org

Read more: The Best Schools in the Seattle, Washington Area | eHow.comhttp://www.ehow.com/list_6157180_schools-seattle_-washington-area.html#ixzz1ulqxWMQ6

Let’s hear from Lakeside Prep School itself, about what it offers to the Gates children:

“Lakeside’s mission is to develop in intellectually capable young people the creative minds, healthy bodies, and ethical spirits that will contribute wisdom, compassion, and leadership to our global society. This informs everything we do and we nurture in our students a love of learning, a caring for others, and an understanding of the importance of living a life of integrity.

 

Our students are scholars; athletes; artists; musicians; community service volunteers; fundraisers; and much, much more. They are curious, active and engaged. They have an appreciation for excellence in whatever they do and a commitment to take part in their own learning. Ninety percent of them play at least one season of a varsity sport and just as many participate in our arts programs long after fulfilling their arts requirement!

 

The faculty and staff at Lakeside are dynamic and talented educators who are passionate about their work. When I meet with Lakeside students throughout the year, I always ask what they think the best part of a Lakeside School education is and they always reply, “My teachers, my coaches, and my friends.”

 

Working in small, collaborative classes, our teachers help students learn how to think, write, and speak thoughtfully about topics that range from organic chemistry to African literature in the Diaspora. We believe that academic excellence and diversity go hand in hand in the 21st century. Students here find peers from every background and every walk of life in every classroom. We recognize and celebrate the unique talents that each brings and we want the widest possible range of perspectives represented in every discussion.

 

I encourage you to learn more about this wonderful place. And, if you’re not already, I hope one day to see you as a part of the Lakeside School community!”

What about the academics at Lakeside?

“Lakeside’s 5th- to 12th-grade student-centered academic program focuses on the relationships between talented students and capable and caring teachers. We develop and nurture students’ passions and abilities and ensure every student feels known. 

The cultural and economic diversity of our community, the teaching styles, and the approaches to learning are all essential to Lakeside academics. We believe that in today’s global world, our students need to know more than one culture, one history, and one language. 

Each student’s curiosities and capabilities lead them to unique academic challenges that are sustained through a culture of support and encouragement. All students will find opportunities to discover and develop a passion; to hone the skills of writing, thinking, and speaking; and to interact with the world both on and off campus. Lakeside trusts that each student has effective ideas about how to maximize his or her own education, and that they will positively contribute to our vibrant learning community.”  ~ Lakeside School Academic Overview

What mother wouldn’t love to offer her children the educational experience provided by Lakeside Prep?

So, I have some special Mother’s Day questions for Melinda, dearest.

Melinda’s opened herself up to this conversation by heading the very public foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that meddles in our children’s lives.

Melinda, dearest invites us into this conversation by exerting her monetary influence over PBS News Hour’s program “Ask Melinda Gates Your Question About Education Reform“.

PBS News Hour introduced Melinda and admits their Gates Foundation funds their programming.  Could that be why they didn’t post my questions to Melinda through the screening moderator, I wonder?

“Since 1994, the foundation has spent over $6 billion in the United States, looking at data-proven ways to improve student achievement and often jumping into controversial policy debates such as smaller schools in New York City, charter schools, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems around the country.

While the amount of money spent on education that comes from private foundations is small compared to what comes from local taxes, state and federal governments, the foundation’s research and advocacy has become integral to the passionate debates about the future of the American education system.

Next week, Melinda Gates will sit down with PBS NewsHour Correspondent Hari Sreenivasan to talk about the Gates Foundation’s work in the field of education and we’d like to hear your suggestions.

Do you have a question for Melinda Gates about the projects they’ve funded, lessons learned, their priorities and where they plan to focus their funding in the future? Send us your questions in the comments below or tweet them to@newshouramgrad.

For the record, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an underwriter of the NewsHour and the American Graduate project.”

Since PBS News Hour wouldn’t publish my questions for Melinda, I’ll ask them here:

Melinda – as the richest MOTHER in the world, you wield an enormous amount of power and influence.   Today I have some questions about your commitment to the very public motto of  your Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The Gates Foundation motto is:

All Lives Have Equal Value

Melinda, dearest:

If all lives have equal value, then why does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation fund Charter Schools that segregate children by race, selecting OUT and CULLING the nation’s children of color?

If all lives have equal value, then why does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation tout itself as working for Civil Rights, but does not discuss the ugly racist roots of the history of the Charter Schools it funds and promotes?

If all lives have equal value, then why does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation fund Charter Schools that segregate children by socio-economic class, selecting OUT  and CULLING the children who are the nation’s poorest?

If all lives have equal value, then why does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation fund Charter Schools that segregate children by ability, selecting OUT and CULLING the children with special needs?

If all lives have equal value, then why do Bill and Melinda Gates send their children to Lakeside School where their own children do not need to be subjected to the same rigorous high stakes testing that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with their “authoritarian standards” foist on our public school children? (See “print screen” when I searched Lakeside School for “high stakes testing”…)

If all lives have equal value, then why do Bill and Melinda Gates send their children to Lakeside School where their teachers are not subjected to published test rankings that the Gates and  Rupert Murdoch use to humiliate, measure, sort, and CULL public school teachers with through their Shared Learning Collaborative, LLC?

If all lives have equal value, then why do  Bill and Melinda Gates send their children to Lakeside School where they are offered “Global Programs” that send them on trips around the world, while public school children, due to budget cuts, are relegated to schools that more often than not can’t even begin to fund a field trip to the local zoo?

OUR ROLE IN THE WORLD BEYOND OUR DOORS

“Lakeside’s Global Programs introduce our students to the world beyond their doors, fostering cultural awareness and responsible global citizenry. 

Global Service Learning (GSL) is Lakeside’s leading-edge program designed to help students prepare for the challenges of the 21st century. It equips them with the tools they need to meet a more interconnected world, nurturing the values of mutual respect, cross-cultural understanding, equity, and justice. 

The Lakeside Intercultural Program (LIP) has been bringing students to countries across the globe for over 20 years. LIP  often ties travel directly to classroom work and the trips are led by Lakeside teachers. All travel immerses students in life changing experiences that broaden and enhance their vision of the world. 

Students can study abroad during their junior year of high school through School Year Abroad (SYA). If they apply in the winter of their sophomore year, they can spend their junior year in Spain, France, Italy, China, Japan or Vietnam.

Lakeside is currently developing a Peru Semester program in a rural Andean village located in the Sacred Valley near Cusco and Machu Picchu. Students, in their junior year, will engage in academic, cultural, and service learning experiences while living with home stay families. The program includes significant educational field trips which provide students with opportunities to study other parts of Peru. This program is projected to start in Fall 2013.” – Lakeside School Global Programs

If all lives have equal value, then why do  Bill and Melinda Gates send their children to Lakeside School where they don’t need to comply with the almighty mandates of Common Core State Standards that Gates partnered on with Pearson Publishing, promoting them for ALL of America’s public school children?  One link when searched at Lakeside Melinda, really?

If all lives have equal value, then why do  Bill and Melinda Gates send their children to Lakeside School where they are offered extensive programming in ALL of the arts (arts performances 30 +), while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation advocates for a narrowed curriculum for our children, based on their promotion of standardized testing and Common Core curriculum?

If all lives have equal value, then shouldn’t public schools with the highest rates of poverty have equal access to the arts, equal to the programs offered at Lakeside School, Melinda?

In a report on Arts Education in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, 1999-2000, findings were reported by the National Center for Education Statistics:

“Percentage minority enrollment and poverty concentration. Although the percentages of elementary schools offering instruction in music and visual arts did not vary by minority enrollment or poverty concentration in 1999, elementary schools did vary by percentages of minority enrollment and poverty concentration with respect to several features of their arts education programs. Schools with the lowest minority enrollment (5 percent or less) were more likely than those with the highest minority enrollment (more than 50 percent) to have a dedicated room with special equipment for music instruction (71 percent versus 53 percent) and a district curriculum guide for music (87 percent versus 71 percent). Schools with the lowest poverty concentration (less than 35 percent eligible for free or reduced-price lunch) were more likely than those with the highest poverty concentration (75 percent or more) to have a dedicated room with special equipment for music instruction (70 percent versus 51 percent) and visual arts instruction (65 percent versus 42 percent); a district curriculum guide for music (88 percent versus 73 percent) and visual arts (84 percent versus 70 percent); and input from arts specialists on staff hiring (43 percent versus 21 percent), the curriculum (75 percent versus 50 percent), and the allocation of arts funds (62 percent versus 40 percent).

There was not a great deal of variation at the secondary level by percentage minority enrollment and poverty concentration. Secondary schools with the lowest minority enrollment were more likely than schools with the highest minority enrollment to receive outside funding for their music programs (56 percent versus 33 percent) and to have two or more full-time teachers who taught courses in visual arts (54 percent versus 23 percent). Schools with the lowest poverty concentration were more likely than those with the highest poverty concentration to receive outside funding for their music programs (54 percent versus 23 percent), and to have a dedicated space with special equipment for visual arts. There was no variation by either minority enrollment or poverty concentration with respect to the availability of music and visual arts instruction.

If all lives have equal value, Melinda dearest, then why does the Lakeside School have hydrotherapy spa units for their sports program students, yet public school sports programs face huge budget cuts due to increased costs incurred  to cover implementation of your Common Core State Standards and high stakes testing?

Lakeside School Seattle - Athletics Training Hydrotherapy

If all lives have equal value, then why do  Bill and Melinda Gates, who say that “class size doesn’t matter” , send their own children to Lakeside School where the average public school class size is 16 students?


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Anthony Cody, a veteran retired Oakland master teacher wrote to your dear husband, Bill earlier on the subject of class size:

“And if you are in a high poverty school, the chances are pretty much 100% that in every class you will have students who are currently experiencing traumatic events in their lives. I am talking about domestic and neighborhood violence, homelessness, eviction, parents incarcerated. As this report indicates, as many as a third of students in our tough neighborhoods suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. These problems all seep into the classroom, sometimes overtly, and sometimes through acting out behaviors. And larger class sizes make these behaviors even more difficult to handle.

This is not just my opinion. There is a large body of research that supports a strong link between class size and student achievement. And I would be very surprised if the private schools your children attend have large class sizes. On average, private schools attended by the children of the wealthy have class sizes roughly half those in neighboring public schools.”  ~  Anthony Cody, via Valerie Strauss, “Why Bill Gates Gets it Wrong on Class Size” (2011)

If all lives have equal value, then why is it that your three children deserve an education valued at $26,200 in tuition each per year, while public school children “deserve” only an average yearly allotment of $10, 591 per student.

Which half of my child deserves an education, Melinda Mommie dearest?

It’s very clear to us what are the standards you have for your children and their education.  

It’s also very clear to us that you really don’t believe that ALL LIVES HAVE EQUAL VALUE… If you did, you’d be working to give “ALL” children a “Lakeside School” experience.

Meanwhile, your investments into the Lakeside School experience could go a long ways in our schools of poverty.  I guess, “money matters”.

Instead, you’re foisting your investments in Common Core and a 20 fold increase in testing on our public schools, per Stephen Krashen —all used  to measure, sort and cull our children — which proves your ACTIONS speak louder than your words, Melinda, dearest.

I would say your declaration that ALL LIVES HAVE EQUAL VALUE is pure propaganda.

Please Melinda, dearest, prove me wrong – make your ACTIONS match your WORDS…




Going Down the Rabbit Hole: The Mad World of Bill Gates and Pearson Publishing

Mad World… getting madder every day…

“In that direction,” the Cat said, waving its right paw round, “lives a Hatter: and in that direction,” waving the other paw, “lives a March Hare. Visit either you like: they’re both mad.”

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.

“Oh, you ca’n’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”

“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.

“You must be, said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.” — Lewis Carroll

“Don’t let anyone tell you that standardized tests are not accurate measures.  The truth of the matter is they offer a remarkably precise method for gauging the size of the houses near the school where the test was administered. ”  ~  Alfie Kohn, Fighting the Tests, [2001] 

If you’re an educator, you’ll know that much has been written already about the madness of the “Pineapple Test Questions“.  

If you’re not an educator, the Pineapple Test fiasco relates to a very bizarre question that was included in a recent standardized test.  

The story and furor, known as Pineapplegate broke in New York when the test questions was leaked.  Subsequently, details of poorly worded or factually incorrect test questions have been leaked in California, leading MORE public education stakeholders to finally begin to critically question the purpose, integrity, and implications of high stakes testing.

Are you spinning madly trying to keep up , and feeling as though you are falling, like Alice, into the deep dark hole of  madness that is testing, Common Core, and edreform?


Who is leading America’s public school children down the rabbit hole of madness?

“It’s sad to watch a once smart and talented man go mad right before our eyes. There needs to be an intervention for Bill Gates. I fear that he has taken leave of his senses and finally jumped the shark…

I shrugged when the Obama Administration’s Department of Education was flooded with former Gates Foundation employees. I was unamused when Microsoft’s business partner, NBC News, had my FaceBook access blocked for criticizing their shameless publicity on behalf ot the Gates-financed propaganda film, Waiting for Superman. I tweeted in horror when I learned that the Gates Foundation was funding a scheme to put earpieces in teachers so they may be controlled while teaching.

You would think that nothing else could surprise me, but now, Bill Gates has descended into the delusional world of Charlie Sheen. Gates told the nation’s governors (they seem to speak with Bill more than their caddies) that the critical cuts to public schools could actually improve education ifclass sizes were increased so that we can “get more students in front of the very best teachers.”That’s right, Bill Gates is now advocating for larger class size! Since when do philanthropists call for the deprivation of children?

Gates’ crazy plan to raise class sizes FOR THE CHILDREN is one thing, but his desire to get more students “in front of the very best teachers” reveals his ignorance on how learning occurs. Learning is an active process constructed by each learner. It is not simply the immediate result of being taught.

Who elected Bill Gates and gave him control of a national treasure, our public schools? Would someone please suggest that he return to the corporate world and refocus his energies on the technological triumph that is the Zune?” ~  Gary Stager, “Who Elected Bill Gates?(2011)

How did the madness begin?  

All this testing madness started in Texas with Senator Kress, Bush, Pearson, and No Child Left Behind.    

“Enter Sandy Kress, whom George W. Bush plucked from the Dallas School Board to help him apply the “You can’t manage what you can’t measure” mantra to public schools. It perhaps did not occur to Gov. Bush or Kress that Texas, which ranked dead last in per-pupil spending, might need to put more money into public schools. By punishing and publicizing failure, they reasoned, teachers and administrators would do more with less. The test scores became the only measure of how schools performed, and administrators and teachers became adept at preparing their students to pass the test. Book reports, dioramas, and lab experiments became a thing of the past as consultants instructed children on how to pass reading tests without actually reading the text.

Everyone got very good at taking the test. Test scores rose, and in 2003, then-Pres. Bush had Kress help convince Congress to apply the Texas model to the rest of the country with No Child Left Behind. The late Sen. Edward Kennedy even called Kress the president’s “smooth talker.” NCLB became the law of the land, and state spending on standardized testing exploded 160% to $1.1 billion in 2008. ~  John Stanford, “Senator Kress’ STAAR Chamber, Education Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas” (2012)

The testing madness creates an environment where American children are abused and oppressed to the point of endangering their health and safety.

There was just one problem: It wasn’t working back in Texas. It wasn’t that the teachers and students weren’t trying. In fact, they were stressing themselves out over the tests. Nervous stomachs became so common that one test company included instructions for teachers on what to do if a student vomits on the test.” ~  John Stanford, “Senator Kress’ STAAR Chamber, Education Equity, Politics & Policy in Texas” (2012)

Senator Kress seems to have some personal reasons for his political positions on testing. Here’s a little scoop on but one of the shady lobbying recipients – Senator Kress of Texas, is paid by Pearson for lobbying.  I include this to get the reader to IMAGINE the context, the sheer corruption of how much money is involved in promoting the testing and Common Core agenda!

Senator Kress is feathering his nest via lobbying money.  

Keep in mind, Senator Kress’s pay-off is merely a drop in the bucket of lobby spending that occurs in the Pearson and Gates magic mushroom forest.

Senator Kress isn’t the only one feathering his nest with education lobbying.  So are many others through a mega-lobbying power called ALEC.

Lobbying through this organization called ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) has come under high criticism.   

Through ALEC and other corporate lobbying, the corporations are creating a system of government where people have less control over their government than ever before through powerful lobbying.

Pearson is well connected to ALEC , but you have to dig deep to find their connections.  The Gates and Pearson lobbying have had a huge impact on the madness of the testing craze.

Bill Gates, and his company Microsoft are heavily involved as members of ALEC.  The Gates Foundation granted nearly $350,000 to ALEC to push their education reform agenda through ALEC lobbies as well.  

The Gates Foundation may have broken the law, as we see here from Seattle Weekly.

“In an interview with Seattle Weekly yesterday, Common Cause president and CEO Bob Edgar said he did not know what Microsoft might have worked on with ALEC. “I would guess they were more interested in bills on corporate rules and regulations,” Edgar said, promising to have his staff sift through documents in coming days for any further information. (Stay tuned.)

Microsoft offered no immediate elucidation. A spokesperson who pledged to look into the matter had no answers by the end of the day.

Perhaps Microsoft took a cue from chairman Bill Gates, whose foundation has also been involved with ALEC. Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave ALEC nearly $377,000, for education efforts–in particular, according to the foundation’s website, measures dealing with evaluating teachers, a favorite issue in reform circles.

Earlier this month, however, as ALEC started drawing criticism from liberal activists, the Gates Foundation announced that it would no longer make grants to the non-profit. Microsoft could not or would not say yesterday whether it has followed suit.

More is at stake than just company PR. Common Cause’s Edgar says that many companies have been writing off their ALEC membership dues–running from $7,000 to $25,000–as tax deductions. Those might not be valid if the IRS finds that ALEC abused its non-profit status. Corporations like Microsoft, Edgar says, could be liable for thousands of dollars in back taxes and fines.” ~ Nina Shapiro, “Microsoft Identified as Supporter of ALEC, Conservative Non-Profit Accused of Abusing Non-Profit”, Seattle Weekly, The Daily Weekly (2012)

The ALEC  Education Agenda comes with more and more testing.  And with more and more testing we have more and more madness. 

The testing madness of the “pineapple question” is only a small bite of the madness.  Testing errors are finally being made public.  The increase in testing is proving to come with a whole new set of problems that America does not  appear to be prepared to face.

According to R.L. Ratto, error after error appeared on the tests, yet King (NY) blames teachers for the problems just like the rest of the edreformers.  Who is really to blame?

“According to King, we have it all wrong, it’s not the tests, it’s the teachers! What can we expect from a charter school advocate, with no real public school experience.

So my questions are simple Commissioner King. Since our students have suffered  through 6 grueling days of tests, and many teachers are now struggling to accurately score this garbage, who is responsible for the poor scoring instructions?

Who is responsible for this?

Some extraneous sample responses have been inadvertently included in the scoring materials that have been provided on the CD for Grades 4, 5, 6, and 7. To restore a seamless alignment between the materials provided in the scoring leader training documents with those in the scorer training documents, it is necessary that these extraneous pages be crossed out, either prior to being distributed to scorers or shortly after they have been handed out.  (click to read more)

Or this..?

There is a correction in the possible exemplary responses for the scoring of Question 64
on the Grade 6 English Language Arts Test Book 3. ( click to read more)

Or this..?

There are typographical errors in the score and annotation provided for CAS Set 1 (for Question 63) on Page 1 in the Grade 7 Mathematics Test, 2012 Scoring Leader Training Materials, Volume 2, Practice Set and Consistency Assurance Set. Please make following corrections in all copies of this document.  ( click to read more)

How about this Commissioner?

This notice pertains to typographical errors in the Practice Set Answer Key on page 51 of the Practice Set portion of the Grade 8 Mathematics Test, 2012 Scoring Leader Training Materials, Volume 2, Practice Set and Consistency Assurance Set. Please make the following corrections in all copies of this document. (click to read more)

Here is a good one..

This notice pertains to Question 36 on the Spanish edition of the 2012 Grade 3
Mathematics Test Book 2, Form D only. Due to a typographical error, there is no
correct answer to Question 36 on this form. ( click for more)

Still more mistakes.. who’s fault?

This notice pertains to Question 23 on the Spanish edition only of the 2012
Grade 4 Mathematics Test Book 1, all forms (A, B, C, and D). Due to imprecision
in the transcription of this question, there is no correct answer.  (Click for more)

Let’s make it easy for you..

Who is a fault for the errors noted here http://www.p12.nysed.gov/apda/scoring/612ei/home.html  

NYS paid Pearson $32,000,000.00 for flawed tests, riddled with so called pilot questions that flustered and distracted children across the state. How much is Pearson going to compensate these children for their labor as test guinie pigs for Pearson’s corporate interests?  ~ R.L. Ratto, “I Guess the Buck Didn’t Stop There” (2012)

The Mad Hatter convinces them all to drink their magic potion.  

The magic potion of testing is sold to school districts through propaganda for a HUGE price, setting them up to fail.

Gates  and Pearson spin their propaganda, dizzying parents and politicos, convincing them of a necessary system of accountability, of a need for more standardized testing, and of a need for competition with other countries through a Race to the Top.  Preying on fear and competition, to take advantage of our children, the edreformers are successfully using the great strategy of divide and conquer.

The dizzying effect is maddening.  Most students, parents, teachers, and administrators are so seduced by the corporate education reformers and their consumer world of testing and materialism that has been set up for us, they don’t even realize what is happening all around us.

Is testing like dealing in drugs and cigarettes?  These dealings certainly have profit and abuse in common.  Texas Superintendent John Kuhn recently posted the truth about Pearson on Twitter:

“Drug dealers & Pearson sell harmful products with entirely manufactured need. But Pearson forces the end user to help produce their poisons.”  ~  John Kuhn

After reading a post in Republic Report, Texas Superintendent John Kuhn speaks out on Twitter to say:

“Pearson lobbying aimed at $-influenced legislators is as morally compromised as cigarette ads aimed at kids.”  

And just as nicotine addicts craving cigarettes, it seems America’s education policy makers are will never be satisfied until all of our children are being tested all the time – and the big winner in that is test-dealing Pearsons.

John wrote this in response after reading the provocative  and appalling table of information uncovered by education researcher, Ken Libby.

“Education researcher Ken Libby dug through the records and found that Pearson is spending big on lobbying in four critical states — New York, California, Texas, and Florida. Here’s a small table he made laying out the millions Pearson is spending:

As America confronts its addiction to high-stakes testing, it appears that the companies benefiting from it are willing to spend generously in order to keep taxpayer dollars flowing their way.” ~ Ziad Jilani, “Testing Company Pearson Spending Millions to Influence Schools”, Republic Report (2012)

Are Americans addicted to Pearson and Gates’ high stakes tests?

Testing has increased alarmingly since Kress, Bush, and Pearson decided there was money to be made in creating testing.   No Child Left Behind increased testing.  Race to the Top increased testing even more.  Now Pearson and Gates have partnered to create online curriculum for Common Core that brings about an increased amount of testing.

Corporate testing profits aren’t  enough for Gates and Pearson’s voracious appetites.

Pearson and Bill Gates partnered to create Common Core and Gates has stated he wants EVERY child to be learning from the SAME text book in EVERY subject.  Imagine the profits!

“Mr. Gates’s foundation strongly supports a uniform core curriculum for schools. “It’s ludicrous to think that multiplication in Alabama and multiplication in New York are really different,” he says. He also sees common standards as a money-saver at a time when many states are facing budget shortfalls. “In terms of mathematics textbooks, why can’t you have the scale of a national market? Right now, we have a Texas textbook that’s different from a California textbook that’s different from a Massachusetts textbook. That’s very expensive.”‘ ~ Jason L. Riley, Was the $5 Billion Worth It (2011)

No Child Left Behind, Race to the Top, and now Common Core are leading to increased testing and increased costs to public education.  Is the testing really doing any good?  Is the “race” really making any difference in America’s chances for reaching the top of anything  EXCEPT SPENDING?

“Following the passage of NCLB on Jan. 8, 2002, annual state spending on standardized tests rose from $423 million to almost $1.1 billion in 2008 (a 160% increase compared to a 19.22% increase in inflation over the same period), according to the Pew Center on the States. [42]

“The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) passed with bipartisan support (381-41 in the House of Representatives and 87-10 in the Senate) and was signed into law by President George W. Bush on Jan. 8, 2002.[143] The legislation, modeled on Bush’s education policy as Governor of Texas, mandated annual testing in reading and math (and later science) in Grades 3 through 8 and again in 10th Grade. [57] If schools did not show sufficient “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP), they faced sanctions and the possibility of being taken over by the state or closed.[82] [85] NCLB required that 100% of US students be “proficient” on state reading and math tests by 2014, which was regarded as an impossible target by many testing opponents. [83] [84] According to the Pew Center on the States, annual state spending on standardized tests rose from $423 million before NCLB to almost $1.1 billion in 2008 (a 160% increase compared to a 19.22% increase in inflation over the same period). [42] Combined state and federal government spending on education totals $600 billion per year, while all-time philanthropic contributions to US education total less than $10 billion, according to a 2011 statement by education philanthropist Bill Gates. [155]

On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama’s Race to the Top program was signed into law, inviting states to compete for $4.35 billion in extra funding based on the strength of their student test scores.” ~ Standardized Tests Pro-Con

Why are American’s tolerating all this testing?  Why aren’t they fighting back?  Why has over 10 years of increased testing and privatization slipped by the American people without a fight?  Are they being bullied?

Through the use of carrots and sticks  — punishments by No Child Left Behind and competitive grants through Race to the Top, public school stakeholders are bullied and bribed into high stakes testing while the test corporations become even bigger bullies.

 

Gates and his partner Rupert Murdoch (of news media phone hacking scandal fame) along with his other partner Pearson, have their doughy hands in every single aspect of public education from Pre-K through Higher Education.

  • They make money on children ESPECIALLY when they fail. Think about the grand scale of this for just one moment.
  • They’ve invested in Pre-K and Kindergarten assessments, lobbying states to enforce standardized testing on pre-schoolers and kindergartners.
  • They’ve cornered the market on high stakes standardized testing.
  • They have cornered the market on remediation of students who fail the tests.
  • They have cornered the market on retesting students and remediation/retesting a second, third, or fourth time — rinse, repeat.
  • If a child fails the test in high school and is unable to graduate, Pearson and Gates have a GED program for them ready to go.
  • They have SAT’s and other college assessments ready to profit from all aspects of testing in education.

“Pearson is just one part of the picture, albeit a part about the size of Mount Rushmore. Its lobbyists include the guy who served as the top White House liaison with Congress on drafting the No Child law. It has its own nonprofit foundation that sends state education commissioners on free trips overseas to contemplate school reform.

An American child could go to a public school run by Pearson, studying from books produced by Pearson, while his or her progress is evaluated by Pearson standardized tests. The only public participant in the show would be the taxpayer.

If all else fails, the kid could always drop out and try to get a diploma via the good old G.E.D. The General Educational Development test program used to be operated by the nonprofit American Council on Education, but last year the Council and Pearson announced that they were going into a partnership to redevelop the G.E.D. — a nationally used near-monopoly — as a profit-making enterprise.

“We’re a capitalist system, but this is worrisome,” said New York Education Commissioner King.” ~ Gail Collins, “A Very Pricey Pineapple”, The New York Times, (2012)

Winnie Hu shares the madness of money involved in this one contract alone in the same article.  People, seriously, this is the amount of a contract in ONE STATE alone, giving Pearson and Gates the power over public schools that is abusing children and teachers through Common Core and the coming 20-fold increase in testing!

“In New York, Pearson Education most recently won a five-year, $32 million contract to administer state tests, and it maintains a $1 million contract for testing services with the State Education Department, according to state records. The last contract was awarded after David M. Steiner, then the state education commissioner, attended a conference in London in June 2010 that was organized by the Council of Chief State School Officers and underwritten by the Pearson Foundation.” ~  Winnie Hu,  Testing Firm Faces Inquiry on Free Trips for Officials,  The New York Times 

What do Gates and Pearson stand to gain from the implementation of Common Core?  What will implementation cost school districts?  What is really behind the madness?


Everything’s bigger in Texas, especially Pearson and their profits.  

“It is testing time for Central Texas students required to pass the state’s new standardized test to assess their academic readiness. And a battle over the entire testing system is brewing between the state, educators, parents and students.

Rising costs surrounding state exams has been one of the big talking points among testing critics.

“This has become a moneymaker,” said Ken Zarifis, co-president of Education Austin.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out testing three million Texas students a year isn’t cheap.

“The overall cost is a large number. There’s no doubt about it,” said Debbie Ratcliffe, a spokeswoman for the Texas Education Agency.

KXAN News has uncovered that the state is spending more than $89 million on testing for the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness, or STAAR, this year alone. That amount has nearly doubled in the last 10 years.

Every penny goes to a company called Pearson, which develops the test questions, prints and distributes test booklets and scores the exams before sending them back to 8,000 schools.

The state’s five-year contract with Pearson, which covers the 2010 through 2015 school years, totals just over $468 million.

Based on figures provided by TEA, Texas taxpayers by 2015 will have paid Pearson nearly $1.2 billion for developing standardized tests and related materials dating back to the year 2000…

The annual cost goes up each year. In 2015, standardized testing will set the state back nearly $100 million.” ~ Erin CargileTests Pricetag $90 Million This YearKXAN Investigates (2012)

What will it cost to implement Common Core Standards and the 20 fold increase in testing that comes with it?  Who stands to gain?  Students?  Parents?  Teachers?  Society?  Remember, Common Core “State” Standards (CCSS) are NOT field tested!  

The Pioneer Institute has done a study about the CCSS implementations costs to districts.  Follow the money:

Note: Graphic recreated to represent the same figures provided by The Pioneer Institute in billions.

Executive Summary

• All but five (5) states have committed to adopting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics and are participating in one of the federallysponsored consortia developing aligned assessments (see Figure 1). Few of the participants, however, have carefully analyzed the costs involved.

• Significant new costs are projected in three key areas of standardsbased reform: assessment, professional development, and textbooks and instructional materials. In addition, states and local communities are expected to face substantial new expenditures for technology infrastructure and support. 

• Over a typical standards time horizon of seven (7) years, we project Common Core implementation costs will total approximately $15.8 billion across participating states. This constitutes a “mid-range” estimate that only addresses the basic expenditures required for implementation of the new standards. It does not include the cost of additional expensive or controversial reforms that are sometimes recommended to help students meet high standards, such as performance-based compensation or reduced class sizes.

• Total, seven-year costs include the following additional expenses: $1.2 billion for the new assessments, $5.3 including increased assessment expense for some states as well as technology training and support.

• In years two and beyond, annual operational costs are projected to be $801 million higher, including increased assessment expense for some states and the ongoing cost of supporting the enhanced technology infrastructure required for online assessment.

• There is considerable uncertainty regarding future student testing costs. The two testing consortia, especially the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), also face considerable technical challenges to accomplish their goals.

• California, a state with highly rated academic standards and a challenging fiscal climate, illustrates some tough tradeoffs. The state, a member of the SBAC, is projected to incur significantly higher state assessment costs of approximately $35 million each year.

• States and communities should avoid trying to implement the Common Core, or any set of new standards, “on the cheap.” Inadequate training, instructional materials, or necessary infrastructure can lead to teachers and administrators disclaiming responsibility for failure because they did not receive adequate support. ~  The Pioneer Institute, “National Costs to Aligning the States and Localities to Common Core Standards” (2012)

 

As if this bullying and the consequences weren’t enough, Stephen Krashen warns us, “It’s going to get a whole lot worse.”

It’s going to get a lot worse. The US Department of Education is developing a massive new testing program, with far more testing than ever before, and they have made no secret about it.

More grade levels to be tested: The new plan will require, as was the case with NCLB, tests in reading and math in grades three through eight and once in high school, but there is serious discussion of extending the tests to higher and lower grades.

The US Department of Education also recently announced plans for:

    • More subjects to be tested: In addition, the US Department of Education is encouraging standards and testing not only in reading and math, but in other subjects as well as well, including science, social studies, foreign languages, and even “performance” measures for the arts.

This is at least a 20-fold increase in testing. There is zero evidence that it will do any good, and good evidence that it will not work. ~ Stephen Krashen, Testing and Teaching to the Test:  It’s Going to Get a  Whole Lot Worse, guest blogger on Anthony Cody’s “Living in Dialogue”, ( 2012)

So just who is responsible?   Is it just one half of the Gates couple?  Or is it the Queen, Melinda Gates?  How does she fit into Wonderland?

The Queen will appear soon on PBS News Hour to field questions on education reform.  Here’s what PBS has to say about the involvement of the Gates Foundation.  I wonder if this once progressive publicly run program will kowtow to one of its biggest sponsors?

“As the co-founder of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest philanthropic organization, Melinda Gates has spent decades looking at the challenges and potential solutions to the problems facing America’s education system.

The foundation controls over $30 billion, which its staff uses to pursue the goal of giving every child an equal opportunity to thrive. The majority of the money goes to reducing obstacles such as poor health and malnutrition in developing nations. But in the United States, the focus has been on identifying and supporting ways to fix the inequalities within a public school system, where schools in high-poverty areas fall far behind their more affluent counterparts and other countries in terms of graduation rates and academic achievement.

Since 1994, the foundation has spent over $6 billion in the United States, looking at data-proven ways to improve student achievement and often jumping into controversial policy debates such as smaller schools in New York City, charter schools, high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems around the country.

While the amount of money spent on education that comes from private foundations is small compared to what comes from local taxes, state and federal governments, the foundation’s research and advocacy has become integral to the passionate debates about the future of the American education system.

Next week, Melinda Gates will sit down with PBS NewsHour CorrespondentHari Sreenivasan to talk about the Gates Foundation’s work in the field of education and we’d like to hear your suggestions.

Do you have a question for Melinda Gates about the projects they’ve funded, lessons learned, their priorities and where they plan to focus their funding in the future? Send us your questions in the comments below or tweet them to@newshouramgrad.

For the record, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is an underwriter of the NewsHour and the American Graduate project.”  ~ Newsdesk, PBS News Hour,  “Ask Melinda Gates Your Question About Education Reform”

The introduction is clearly misleading already, leaving the reader to actually believe that Melinda Gates really IS an expert about education.  Clearly the Queen does not listen to the leading experts in education and has never spent a day teaching in one of our classrooms of poverty, now has she?  Readers agree!  Check out the comments on the PBS News Hour site here.  Here is one response sample:

“PBS performs a great service to all Americans. I have a question for Hari Sreenivasan in preparation for this interview.
Does PBS feel any constraints in asking hard questions of Melinda Gates as they are generously underwrite the NewsHour and the American Graduate Project?

To the following questions which I have already asked, I will add this question: Should private non-profit foundations, especially those derived from corporate entities, have the ability to influence public policy through donations and grants to quasi-governmental entities? Isn’t this a form of under-the-radar lobbying?
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/mis… should the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other immensely wealthy private non-profit foundations have so much influence on education reforms? How are we assured that there are no conflicts of interest? Are national standards, curriculum, assessments and databases that promulgate “career and college readiness” a disservice if the wealthiest Americans and corporations don’t support living wage jobs, fair taxation and regulations that assure a healthy society? What do you think about the lawsuit, EPIC versus the US Dept. of Education? (The U.S. Department of Education must respond TODAY.) In the 21st Century Knowledge Economy, who earns the return on investment of human capital?  Is the Gates Foundation helping create a higher education bubble economy?”  ~  Kris Alman, comment to PBS News Hour

I question Melinda Gates about the Gates Foundation  “looking at data-proven ways”… for an example, the Common Core State Standards that the Gates have invested heavily in by partnering with Pearson have not been field tested at all, and yet they are being swallowed whole by the entire country under the pretense that this is not a federal take over to appease the GOP.

As long as they are keeping the fat cats happy, does it matter?

Some are beginning to fight back against the abuse, fight back against the fat cats…

The maddening test landscape may be changing before our eyes.  

Over 419 districts in Texas have passed a resolution against high stakes testing.  One of these leaders in Texas is Superintendent John Kuhn.  John is appalled at the damages done to children for a killing — pure profit for Pearson and Gates.

It isn’t just Texas that has had enough of high stakes testing.  It isn’t just teachers who have had enough of high stakes testing.  School board members feel enough is enough. Students are stressed and speaking out.  Watch “stop the madness” Anti-FCAT video here:

“The video produced in Freedom’s television production studio also features School Board member Rick Roach, who wants to “stop the madness” of Florida’s high-stakes testing program. He proposed the video after visiting a Freedom remedial reading class filled with students who had failed FCAT.

Roach thinks the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test — a series of exams in math, reading, science and writing taken by nearly 2 million students each year — doesn’t accurately measure academic abilities, particularly reading.

“It’s all about beating the test maker,” he said.”  ~ Leslie Postal, Orlando Sentinel, “Anti-FCAT Video Stars Orange County School Board Member, Students” (2012)

Susan Ohanian has had enough of the madness also.  She says today that “With Bill Gates Money, David Coleman Takes Over the World”.  What exactly is Gates’ money to Coleman going to do to increase the madness you might ask?  One might ask why we are trusting these Pineapple Heads when it comes to the future of our children!

“You can find Close Reading Exemplars at Achieve the Core, the site founded by David Coleman and Partners in the enterprise Student Achievement Partners, which recently received $18 million from the GE Foundation “to assist states nationwide in implementing the Common Core State Standards.” 

According to Education Week the Partners’ aim is to “build a storehouse of instructional resources in support of the new learning goals.” [Student Achievement Partners also has three contracts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, worth $4.1 million total, to do Common Core-related work.] 

In a statement to Philanthropy News Digest Student Achievement Partners founding partner David Colemen modestly said, “This is a great day for the education reform movement and specifically for the momentum behind the Common Core State Standards.” He said the GE Foundation “commitment to improving public education for all students is exactly what it is going to take to seed real and lasting change, especially during these tough economic times.” 

Exactly what it is going to take. 

There you have it: David Coleman knows the answers. As it happens, he knows the exact answers. 

This must be true. Surely, if he didn’t have the exact answers, then NCTE, IRA, NCTM, ASCD, the PTA, the National School Boards Association, the NEA, the AFT, and a host of other organizations organized to educate children would protest. 

Since there’s not a word of dissent coming out of these organizations, then David Coleman and Partners must have the goods–exactly what teachers and students need. 

A word on David Coleman: Apparently, he achieved his expertise about exactly what schoolchildren need from tutoring students while attending Yale, taking some courses in English Literature at Oxford and Cambridge, and working for five years at McKinsey and Company. 

Ah, McKinsey, put it in a ‘search’ on this website and you will find 76 not-so-laudatory hits. For starters,read Frank Coffield’s Journal of Education Policy assessment. And don’t miss Michael Martin’s review.” ~  Susan Ohanian, “With Bill Gates Money, David Coleman Takes Over the World”, (2012)

Parents Across America has had enough of high stakes testing.  In fact it was PAA Co-founder Leonie Haimson who broke the story of the “Pineapple Question” madness:

“I’ve broken some stories that I consider pretty important, had some pretty big headlines, but never anything like this,” Leonie said.

It’s easy to laugh at the absurdity of it all. But it’s dead serious. Now that stakes on standardized tests have grown so high, the fate of students, educators and schools rests on the answers to questions like these.”  ~  Leonie Haimson, via Pam Grundy, “PAA Leader Leonie Haimson Sparks Pineapplegate”, (2012)

Just tell me!  Why are we trusting  Bill Gates and these non-experts who are acting as experts again?  

With the leaders in Texas and other states, there may be hope to escape Pearson and Gates’ Edreform Wonderland yet, as the cracks in the monopoly are beginning to form. New York’s attorney general is investigating Pearson for free trips they are offering.

“New York State’s attorney general is investigating whether the Pearson Foundation, the nonprofit arm of one of the nation’s largest educational publishers, acted improperly to influence state education officials by paying for overseas trips and other perks.

The office of the attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, issued subpoenas this week to the foundation and to Pearson Education seeking documents and information related to their activities with state education officials, including at least four education conferences — in London, Helsinki, Singapore and Rio de Janeiro — since 2008, according to people familiar with the investigation.

At issue is whether the activities of the tax-exempt Pearson Foundation, which is prohibited by state law from engaging in undisclosed lobbying, were used to benefit Pearson Education, a for-profit company, according to these people. Pearson sells standardized tests, packaged curriculums and Prentice Hall textbooks.

Specifically, the attorney general’s investigation is looking at whether foundation employees improperly sought to influence state officials or procurement processes to obtain lucrative state contracts, and whether the employees failed to disclose lobbying activities in annual filings with the attorney general’s office. The inquiry follows twocolumns about the conferences by Michael Winerip in The New York Times this fall.”  ~ Winnie Hu, Testing Firm Faces Inquiry on Free Trips for Officials,  The New York Times 


Are states and the Federal Department of Education breaking the law with Common Core?  

“A new report by former U.S. Education Department officials questions the legality of federal support for the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a set of education standards which critics say will lead to a national curriculum and tests.

The report, “The Road to a National Curriculum,” concludes the Obama administration “has simply paid others to do that which it is forbidden to do.”

“The concern is that the assessments developed by the two Race to the Top-funded consortia will end up illegally directing the course of elementary and secondary curriculum across the nation,” said report coauthor Kent Talbert.

The report from the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research carries weight because of its authors. Talbert is former general counsel for the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and chief legal advisor to former Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and Bob Eitel is a former deputy general counsel for the agency. Bill Evers, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education and now a Hoover Institution scholar, also contributed.

“The paper establishes how, through the Race to the Top fund, the RTTT Assessment Program, and federal waivers of No Child Left Behind, the USDOE is pushing states to adopt standards and assessments that are favored by the Department,” said Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios.

States, Feds Breaking Federal Laws
Forty-five states have adopted the Common Core, which currently consists of grade-level math and language arts requirements. The Obama administration required applicants for Race to the Top grants and for waivers of No Child Left Behind’s most punitive provisions to adopt the standards. The report alleges tying these strings to federal favors shows significant federal involvement in implementing the Core nationwide.

The organizations developing the Core and related tests are funded by the DOE. This consortium is also “‘helping’ states move to national standards and assessments, as well as developing ‘curriculum frameworks’ and ‘instructional modules,’” Stergios said. 

These actions, the authors argue, break three laws that prohibit federal involvement in curriculum: the General Education Provisions Act, the Department of Education Organization Act, and the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

“I hate to be so blunt, but the U.S. Department of Education is violating three federal laws,” Stergios said. “And the fact is that state and local officials who are part of the national standards and assessment efforts are compliant in the breaking of these federal laws.” (emphasis added)

Education Secretary Condemns Critics
Education Secretary Arne Duncan in February condemned such criticisms in his first direct statement on the controversy.

“The idea that the Common Core standards are nationally imposed is a conspiracy theory in search of a conspiracy,” he said. “The Common Core academic standards were both developed and adopted by the states, and they have widespread bipartisan support.” 

The report’s authors flatly disagreed, citing federal law and the department’s actions contrary to Duncan’s statements.

“Our greatest concern arises from the Department’s decision to cement the use of the Common Core State Standards and these assessment consortia through conditional NCLB waivers. It doesn’t have statutory authority to impose these conditions,” Eitel said.

‘Nationalizing Education’
The Obama administration’s push for the Core effectively nationalizes the content taught in local schools, said Lance Izumi, senior education director at the Pacific Research Institute.

“Strong-arming states to adopt national standards, national tests, and, very likely, national curricula goes against the Constitution’s intent that education policymaking reside at the state and local levels and goes beyond even NCLB, which still allowed states to develop their own standards and tests,” Izumi said.

Izumi said studies on the Core show they are no better than existing state standards and are, “in a number of cases, significantly weaker.”

The Core is also likely to stamp out diversity within education, Evers said.

“This uniformity in curriculum will stifle innovation and prevent states from competing with each other to have the best and most solid curriculum,” he concluded.

“Instead of nationalizing education as the president wants to do, the better solution is to decentralize education,” Izumi said. “Empowering parents is the revolution that America truly needs.”  ~  Lindsey Burke, “Report:  Common Core Poses Legal Questions”, The Heartland

Lindsey is an education policy analyst from The Heritage Foundation, a conservative foundation that promotes privatization of public schools via vouchers.

While I typically HIGHLY DISAGREE with The Heritage Foundation, the law is the law.  As a special education teacher, the high stakes and price children pay for standardization takes a toll too heavy for our nation to bear.

How do we begin to escape from Gates’ and Pearson’s Wonderland?

We must stop the madness. If that means we must use the law to end high stakes testing and Common Core, then let’s use it.

After all…

“Every empirical investigation of this question has found that socioeconomic status (SES) in all its particulars accounts for an overwhelming proportion of the variance in test scores when different schools, towns, or states are compared.(1)  Thus ignorance would be the most charitable explanation for why charts are published that rank schools (or towns or states) by these scores — or why anyone would use those rankings to draw conclusions about classroom quality.” ~  Alfie Kohn, Fighting the Tests, [2001]


Good Night and Good Luck: Is Being a Public School Teacher REALLY Un-American, Mr. Gates?

“We will not walk in fear, one of another.”  ~ Edward R. Murrow

“The American education system has never been better, several important measures show. But you’d never know that from reading overheated media reports about “failing” schools and enthusiastic pieces on unproven “reform” efforts.” ~  Paul Farhi, “Flunking the Test”

Mainstream Media Mogul CBS Slams Newark Teacher Unions 

“Good Night and Good Luck”, as a movie, is a study of Edward R. Murrow’s role as a main stream media journalist who confronted a witch hunt brought on by Senator Joe McCarthy, otherwise known as the mass hysteria of McCarthyism.  Edward R. Murrow becomes the protagonist in this story, exposing McCarthyism for the propaganda it spread across America.

My last post “The Cruicible – NYC and the Department of Education’s Mass Hysteria” introduced the topic of the nation’s latest attack on America’s public school teachers.  Bill Gates tries his best to cover his tracks, but his MET Project and his partnership with Rupert Murdoch in their Shared Learning Collaborative, LLC  - their data system that was designed exactly for this Teacher Witch Hunt -  speak the real truth of his involvement.


The mass hysteria created by Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch surrounds public education in a similar way, but there’s something far different today.

Today’s main stream media journalists are bought and paid for by the oligarchy – they  don’t have the courage or integrity to stop this witch-hunting mass hysteria.

Take Fareed Zakaria of CNN in his special “Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education, for example. Paul Farhi writes in his “Flunking the Test” for American Journalist Review:

“Fareed Zakaria is worried about the state of American education. To hear the CNN host and commentator tell it, the nation’s schools are broken and must be “fixed” to “restore the American dream.” In fact, that was the title of Zakaria’s primetime special in January, “Restoring the American Dream: Fixing Education.”  Zakaria spent an hour thumbing through a catalog of perceived educational woes: high dropout rates, mediocre scores by American students on international tests, inadequate time spent in classrooms, unmotivated teachers and their obstructionist labor unions. “Part of the reason we’re in this crisis is that we have slacked off and allowed our education system to get rigid and sclerotic,” he declared.

This is odd. By many important measures – high school completion rates, college graduation, overall performance on standardized tests – America’s educational attainment has never been higher. Moreover, when it comes to education, sweeping generalizations (“rigid and sclerotic”) are more dangerous than usual.” 

Farhi continues, telling us how Zakaria as a main stream media journalist, adds to the mass hysteria of blaming teachers and their unions for problems that don’t really exist. [my emphasis added]….

“Zakaria’s take, however, may be a perfect distillation of much of what’s wrong with mainstream media coverage of education. The prevailing narrative – and let’s be wary of our own sweeping generalizations here – is that the nation’s educational system is in crisis, that schools are “failing,” that teachers aren’t up to the job and that America’s economic competitiveness is threatened as a result.” 

The 50′s appeared to all who lived through the newly introduced media called Television, to be a simple time.  “Leave It To Beaver” and “Father Knows Best” showed us a world with very few problems, a simpler, innocent time.

But underneath that innocence, a Witch Hunt, the Un-American Activities Committee, McCarthyism,  and a mass hysteria to justify it, had been brewing, starting back in 1938.  People were looking for an answer to the Great Depression.

Then too, unions were demonized as the root of the problem.  

Union members were labeled as “Red”.  Union activities as a “Red Plot”.  Belonging to a union became known as “subversive” and “anti-American”.  All over the country…the friendly witnesses provide the names…the committee gives them to the press and the newspaper headlines tell the public….

In 1947, America was unprepared for what happened in congress when Senator Joe McCarthy began targeting individuals he deemed dangerous to the country.  America watched as one by one, these innocent people were hunted down.   The media was enlisted to help foster the mass hysteria with films, which would run as previews before the feature in movie theaters.   One such troublesome preview was this one:  

“How do you spot a communist?” 

Is America prepared for the devastation that will be the result of Bill Gates’ and Rupert Murdoch’s Teacher Witch Hunts?

The current teacher witch hunts  began in Los Angeles, California, spread to New York City, and are working their way to Chicago.  The mainstream media picks up stories from the outliers, like the New York Post, and then TV coverage brings it home in that VISUALLY EMOTIVE way that the newspapers can’t, just like it did in the 50′s.  Here are some examples via visual main stream media:

In Los Angeles last year, this public shaming proved to be too much to bear for 39 year old teacher, Rigoberto Ruelas, Jr who took his life after his low ranking scores, based on a flawed algorithm, were published for all to see.  Watch this video and read the story, as reported by 7 Live in LA.

“39-year-old Rigoberto Ruelas Jr. taught fifth-graders at Miramonte Elementary School. His body was found Sunday at the foot of a bridge in a remote forest area. An investigation is underway, but authorities believed he made a fatal leap on his own accord.

There’s no official motive in the case, but it’s been reported that he had been upset ever since the LA Times published his district ranking as a “less effective” teacher in its public database of “value-added” ratings.”

Now we have teachers being tried, judged, sentenced, and executed in the court of the Fourth Estate.

When did teaching and due process become “un-American”?  The union bashing of today carries with it a familiar tone, that does not go unnoticed, as seen on Twitter where GatorbonBC question by Diane Ravitch in her blogpost, Why Are Teachers So Upset, on Bridging Differences:

“Teachers in K-12 schools do not have a lifetime guarantee; what they have is a guarantee of due process if someone wants to fire them. The right to a hearing, the right to be presented with evidence against them. When did that become un-American? ~  Diane Ravitch, March 13, 2012 [my emphasis added]

GatorbonBC echoes Diane Ravitch’s recent blog post by saying “Nothing Un-American about Due Process!!”

RT @DianeRavitch http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/Bridging-Differences/2012/03/why_are_teachers_so_upset.html AMEN! Nothing UnAmerican about Due Process !! Ravitch tells it like it is ! Thank You from teachers !

All this union bashing has created a mass climate of fear in teachers.  Many union activists wonder why teachers are so passive.  I believe this comes from years of oppression and the demonization of teachers fostered by the oligarchy.  Fear in teachers seems to have paralyzed unions, keeping them weak in their actions against their enemies.  Teacher Witch Hunts have created a new breed of…
Teacher Inactivists:
Are there other contemporary examples of branding unions and teachers as “un-American”?  What have been some of the other attacks on unions?  Has Bill Gates been involved in any of these attacks?
On 2-11-11, Governor Scott Walker threatened to call out the National Guard to bust unions in Wisconsin.

“Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) said Friday that he was willing to mobilize the state’s National Guard force in order to address the potential repercussions of his stated proposal to eliminate collective bargaining rights for state employees….

There are roughly 175,000 public sector employees – including state and local government workers and teachers – who are union represented in Wisconsin, according to data maintained by Georgia State University professor Barry Hirsch and Trinity University professor David Macpherson. Of those, roughly 39,000 are state employees and more than 106,000 are teachers.” ~   Huffington Post

And in Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder and the legislature tried to take an ax to collective bargaining too.

 “While the nation has been focused on the contretemps in Wisconsin, the Badger State’s neighboring Wolverines have taken a more novel approach in the effort to defang its public employee unions.

A bill that is expected to pass the Michigan Senate today will give the state’s treasurer the ability to appoint emergency financial managers with broad powers to take over the operation of cities and school boards facing a financial crisis.

Not only can an emergency manager wipe out collective bargaining agreements, he or she can literally push aside duly elected city officials and prevent them from doing the job they were elected to do.” ~ Rick UngarUnion Busting: Michigan Style, Forbes March 9, 2011: 

 Bill Gates addressed the The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in June 2010.
Not only did Bill Gates speak at the Chicago meeting (the speech below was delivered on June 29, 2010) but Bill Gates set the tone for the teacher bashing, union busting and privatization agenda with his main speech there.  ~  John Kugler, Substance News 2010
On ABC in March 2011, Gates compared teachers to Enron in this ABC piece,Bill Gates Criticized Long Held Norms in America’s Education System” here.
Has the press done its job in reporting the truth?  Or has it just become the creature of Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Mayor Bloomberg, Arne Duncan, and the other Corporate EdDeFormers?
In her blog, linked above, Diane writes:
“But they are also feeling the chill wind stirred up by Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top, which demands that teachers must be evaluated in some degree by the test scores of their students. In many states, those evaluations are as much as 50 percent, and that 50 percent trumps the other 50 percent. Teachers know, almost instinctively, that this is misguided, and Linda Darling-Hammond’s recent Commentary in Education Week shows that this is a flawed idea with no support in research. The debacle in New York City, where teachers were ranked according to their value-added rating, showed what a misleading and pernicious tool this is, and how many teachers will be wrongly labeled and publicly humiliated.” ~  Diane Ravitch
Going back to American Journalism Review, “Flunking the Test”, Paul Farhi writes:
“What or who was responsible for the poorest performing schools? Quite often, news media accounts have pointed the finger at a single culprit – teachers. In late 2008, Time magazine featured the District of Columbia’s then-School Chancellor Michelle Rhee on its cover wielding a broom to symbolize her desire to sweep out underperforming instructors. The magazine endorsed her approach not just as prudent but as scientific: “The biggest problem with U.S. public schools is ineffective teaching,” wrote reporter Amanda Ripley, citing “decades of research.” This view – a favorite of wealthy education “reformers” such as Bill Gates and real estate developer Eli Broad – was also a theme in the critically adored documentary “Waiting for ‘Superman,” which featured Rhee.”

Michelle Rhee and her StudentsFirst.org ran a “Six Word Essay Contest” 
for teachers to win a free iPad.
The winning essay was
“I’ll remember her fifty years later.”, 
by Cullen, from Indiana.  
I’ll bet the students whose mouths were taped shut certainly will…remember Rhee 50 years later!
Score one for the truth tellers of journalism, as The New York Times did actually report on a small fraction of the truth about Michelle Rhee.  Rhee was a Teach for America teacher and later became Chancellor of DC schools. Rhee is currently under federal investigation for her role in the DC cheating scandal.  But why doesn’t the mainstream media cover the WHOLE truth about Rhee, who admittedly taped her students mouths shut to keep them quiet?
  • Why would DC hire her as Chancellor knowing she taped students mouths shut to keep them quiet?
  • Who was involved in getting her hired?
  • Why did it take so long for Rhee’s “conspiracy of silence” in DC to break?
  • Why would Arne Duncan share the stage with someone he is investigating?
  •  How does Rhee survive all this scandal?
  • Why are her opinions still accepted as “expert” and used in mainstream media education ‘reform’ programming?
Oakland teacher Adam Bessie writes for Truthout:
“What’s wrong with the school system, according to corporate reformers, is the bad teachers, their unions and “special interests,” as Rhee claims practically unchallenged in her Newsweek cover story and across the corporate media, including in “Waiting for Superman,” which earned ample air time on Oprah’s “Shocking State of Our Schools.” The corporate media has adopted this diagnosis, as is best illustrated in Tom Brokaw’s segment in “Education Nation,” an NBC special applauding the corporate reformers featuring Rhee and Gates (Gates also appeared in “Waiting for Superman”). The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was also one of the sponsors of Education Nation, and Gates was a star of his own show. Not surprisingly, Brokaw – a reporter, not a pundit – claims, as fact, that there is a “teacher establishment,” which is part of the problem, echoing Rhee and other corporate reformers sponsoring the event.” ~  Adam Bessie, “Let’s Not ‘Reform’ Public Education, Truthout [2010]
Just how deeply are these Corporate EdDeFormers involved in the mainstream media?  Are the nations’ teachers doomed to be the victims of this 21st Century version of  McCarthyism?

“During its first “Education Nation” summit in 2010, for example, “NBC Nightly News” aired a profile of a Gates Foundation initiative, “Measures of Effective Teaching,” which seeks to create a database of effective teaching methods. The reporter was former NBC anchorman Tom Brokaw. During the second summit last fall, Brokaw showed up on “Today” with Melinda Gates to discuss the same Gates initiative. Turning from reporter to advocate, Brokaw told host Natalie Morales, “So what Bill and Melinda have done, and it’s a great credit to them, and it’s a great gift to this country, is that they have taken the kind of episodic values that we know about teaching and they’ve put them together in a way that everyone can learn from them. So that’s a big, big step.”

Brokaw also put his gravitas behind Gates and other billionaire education reformers in a syndicated column that appeared in newspapers during the NBC summit in 2011, writing that “Entrepreneurs and captains of industry such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, home building tycoon Eli Broad, hedge fund billionaires in New York’s Robin Hood Foundation, have put education reform and excellence at the top of their personal and financial agenda.” Brokaw didn’t mention the objections to these “reforms” from teachers, nor ask why billionaires should be accorded expert status on education policy in the first place.

(An NBC spokeswoman declined to make Brokaw and Ellis available for comment, saying that the story sounded “negative.”)

NBC News does more than just report on the “reform” movement; it’s also in business with those who are promoting it. Among the corporate sponsors of its “Education Nation” summits are the for-profit education company University of Phoenix, the book publisher Scholastic Inc. and…the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Remember that Aspen Institute study showing broad public awareness of NBC’s “Education Nation” efforts?  It was funded by the Gates Foundation.

Capus says such a relationship doesn’t pose a conflict of interest for the network’s journalists because an editorial “firewall” prohibits sponsors from influencing coverage. Nevertheless, representatives of each of these sponsors, including Melinda Gates and Scholastic Senior Vice President Francie Alexander, have appeared repeatedly on “Today” and “NBC Nightly News” to discuss various education proposals and ideas (their financial connection to NBC News has never been disclosed on the air, according to a Nexis search). Meghan Pianta, an NBC spokeswoman, defended using the billionaire couple as a news source because of their “prominence and importance in the education debate.” ~  Paul Farhi, “Flunking the Test”, American Journalism Review [2012] [emphasis added]

As Diane Ravitch says: 

There is a word for this kind of anti-democratic collaboration between business and government, but we haven’t used it much since the 1940s: fascism.” – Diane Ravitch
Do journalists owe us the truth?  The Society of Professional Journalists appears to think so, with its members taking  this voluntary oath:

Seek Truth and Report It”


Journalists should be honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.

Journalists should:

— Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error. Deliberate distortion is never permissible.
— Diligently seek out subjects of news stories to give them the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrongdoing.
— Identify sources whenever feasible. The public is entitled to as much information as possible on sources’ reliability.
— Always question sources’ motives before promising anonymity. Clarify conditions attached to any promise made in exchange for information. Keep promises.
— Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context.
— Never distort the content of news photos or video. Image enhancement for technical clarity is always permissible. Label montages and photo illustrations.
— Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it.
— Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story
— Never plagiarize.
— Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
— Examine their own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
— Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.
— Support the open exchange of views, even views they find repugnant.
— Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
— Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context.
— Distinguish news from advertising and shun hybrids that blur the lines between the two.
— Recognize a special obligation to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in the open and that government records are open to inspection.

In the 50′s Edward R. Murrow and his crew took a risk.  Although Murrow was on CBS’s payroll, he did not have CBS’s blessings when he exposed McCarthy. 

 

Here is a synopsis of how Murrow and “Murrow’s Boys” took down Senator Joe McCarthy, despite the disapproval of his network, CBS.

“Murrow’s love of common America led him to seek out stories of ordinary people. He presented their stories in such a way that they often became powerful commentaries on political or social issues. See It Nowconsistently broke new ground in the burgeoning field of television journalism. In 1953, Murrow made the decision to investigate the case of Milo Radulovich. Radulovich had been discharged from the Air Force on the grounds that his mother and sister were communist sympathizers. The program outlined the elements of the case, casting doubt on the Air Force’s decision, and within a short while, Milo Radulovich had been reinstated. This one edition of See It Now marked a change in the face of American journalism and a new age in American politics.

Soon after the Milo Radulovich program aired, it was learned that Senator Joseph McCarthy was preparing an attack on Murrow. As it happened, Murrow himself had been collecting material about McCarthy and his Senate Investigating Committee for several years, and he began assembling the program. Broadcast on March 9, 1954, the program, composed almost entirely of McCarthy’s own words and pictures, was a damning portrait of a fanatic. McCarthy demanded a chance to respond, but his rebuttal, in which he referred to Murrow as “the leader of the jackal pack,” only sealed his fate. The combination of the program’s timing and its persuasive power broke the Senator’s hold over the nation. The entire fiasco, however, caused a rift with CBS, and they decided to discontinue See It Now.

By 1961 tensions had become irreparable between Murrow and CBS and he accepted an appointment from President Kennedy as the head of the United States Information Agency.”  ~  PBS, American Masters - Edward R. Murrow, This Reporter

I would love to challenge one of today’s corporate mainstream media’s “journalists” to be as courageous.

Unfortunately, it seems most of our mainstream journalists are bought and paid for, and will tell us ONLY what their corporate owners want us to see, hear, and feel.

Research confirms that poverty is the real issue behind any academic achievement gap existing in the US and elsewhere. Instead of highlighting this fact,  the mainstream media sweeps it under the rug and focuses instead on the constant demonizations of teachers and their unions.

Yet NBC and “Education Nation” have rarely looked closely at the effect of poverty and class, the single greatest variable in educational achievement.  Academic research has shown for many years that poor children, or those born to parents who are poorly educated themselves, don’t do as well in school as better-off students.  More recent work by, among others, Sean F. Reardon of Stanford University, suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children has grown wider since the 1960s, reflecting in part the nation’s growing economic disparity.  The problem is vast – some 22 percent of American children live in poverty, the highest among Western democracies.” ~ Paul Farhi [emphasis added]

Remember, Bill and Melinda Gates’  message via their Gates Foundation tagline?  It’s clear their proposition that “All Lives Have Equal Value” is pure propaganda, as Teri Yamada points out when she writes about their partners, Pearson Publishing in “Blood Money:  Pearson’s Profit”.

“Meanwhile, nearly 15 million children in the United States live below the federal poverty level; one-third of all Hispanic children now live in poverty here.  Shouldn’t the cultural focus of the Gates Foundation and friends be a war against poverty instead of a war against teachers and public education?”   ~  Teri YamadaBlood Money:  Pearson’s Profit  ~ , October 2011 [emphasis added]

How is Bill Gates able to control the message delivered by the “mainstream media” in his attempt to destroy public education? 

Ventures in Media

“On October 7 and 8, 2010, the Columbia Journalism Review ran a two-part investigation by Robert Fortner into “the implications of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s increasingly large and complex web of media partnerships.” The report focused on the foundation’s grants to the PBS Newshour, ABC News, and the British newspaper the Guardian for reporting on global health. Of course, all three grantees claim to have “complete editorial independence,” but the ubiquity of Gates funding makes the claim disingenuous. As Fortner observes, “It is the largest charitable foundation in the world, and its influence in the media is growing so vast there is reason to worry about the media’s ability to do its job.” The Chronicle of Philanthropy, too, questioned the foundation’s bankrolling of for-profit news organizations and its “growing involvement with journalism” (October 11, 2010). Neither publication mentioned that Gates is also developing partnerships with news and entertainment media to promote its education agenda…

In 2009 the Gates Foundation and Viacom (the world’s fourth largest media conglomerate, which includes MTV Networks, BET Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, and hundreds of other media properties) made a groundbreaking deal for entertainment programming. For the first time, a foundation wouldn’t merely advise or prod a media company about an issue; Gates would be directly involved in writing and producing programs. As a vehicle for their partnership, the foundation and Viacom (with some additional funds from the AT&T Foundation) set up a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization called the Get Schooled Foundation. The interpenetration of foundations and the spawning of new ones is endless. In July 2010, Get Schooled hired Marie Groark, then senior education program officer at Gates, as its executive director. Among its initiatives, Get Schooled lists Waiting for Superman, which is produced by Paramount Pictures, a subsidiary of Viacom. This is how the New York Times (April 2, 2009) described the Gates-Viacom deal:

  • Now the Gates Foundation is set to expand its involvement and spend more money on influencing popular culture through a deal with Viacom….It could be called “message placement”: the social or philanthropic corollary to product placement deals in which marketers pay to feature products in shows and movies. Instead of selling Coca-Cola or G.M. cars, they promote education and healthy living…. Their goal is to weave education-theme story lines into existing shows or to create new shows centered on education.” 

Joanne Barkan, “Got Dough?  How Billionaires Rule Our Schools”, Dissent Magazine

Joanne Barkan is a REAL journalist, as was Edward R. Murrow.  Will anyone in the mainstream media BECOME a real journalist?  How will the Teacher Witch Hunts end?  Is it up to teachers to gather together to create enough attention to attract the mainstream media?  I still have hopes we could create enough attention to gather them to us and break the story wide open.  I have hope we will be able to do just that, before it’s too late for children.

“Senator McCarthy died yesterday in Washington,” wrote the English newspaper News Chronicle in May 1957.

“America was the cleaner by his fall, and is cleaner by his death.”  

To those who say people wouldn’t look; they wouldn’t be interested; they’re too complacent, indifferent and insulated, I can only reply: There is, in one reporter’s opinion, considerable evidence against that contention. But even if they are right, what have they got to lose? Because if they are right, and this instrument is good for nothing but to entertain, amuse and insulate, then the tube is flickering now and we will soon see that the whole struggle is lost. This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box. Good night, and good luck.”  ~ Edward R. Murrow



The Crucible – NYC and The Department of Education’s Mass Hysteria

Public Shame and the Mass Hysteria that Follows

Martha Corey: I, sir, am innocent to a witch. I know not what a witch is.
Judge Hathorne: If you know not what a witch is, how do you know you are not one?

 ~  The Crucible, IMDb quotes

The activities of McCarthy and his followers gave birth to the term McCarthyism.

This term is used in reference to “sensational and highly publicized personal attacks, usually based on unsubstantiated charges, as a means of discrediting people thought to be subversive.”(Grolier, 1996)

 In the 1950′s,  mass hysteria swept the country through McCarthyism.  Arthur Miller wrote “The Crucible”, linking the Salem witch hunts to this mass hysteria.

This week, Bill Gates deserves the “Pants on Fire Award”  for his PROPAGANDA performance in his recent Op Ed, Shame is Not the Solution/.   Gates had this published in the New York Times, claiming to be concerned about the shame teachers may feel about having their rankings published for all to see.

Question:  But how is this related to mass hysteria?  What is the history of mass hysteria in the United States?

 Steven Stein, on February 28, 2011,  wrote in his blog Blame It on Steinski:  A few examples of mass hysteria in US history (and a new addition)

“A few months ago, a friend asked me my opinion as to how the right-wing craziness we’re witnessing in this country came about. Unfortunately, I couldn’t marshal a coherent response at the time, and fell back into pounding on the table, hollering and cursing. It bothered me that I didn’t give him a decent rundown of what I consider the history of mob madness in the US, and I’ve finally gathered a few examples of a true American tradition – Fear of  The Other.” ~ Steven Stein

 Stein goes on to list 6 incidents of mass hysteria in American history:  

1)The Salem Witch Trials (1600s) … “An American Inquisition, which prepared the way for many movements that came after.”

2) Lynching in the United States (1860 – 1960) … “All governments – state or federal – and their agencies (like the cops) simply ignored this. You could buy picture postcards from proud local merchants of notable area lynchings.”

3)The Red Scare and The Palmer Raids (first 1919 – 1920) … “The Palmer raids were essentially the illegal kidnapping and deportation of any “radicals” (i.e.; labor and union leaders) who appeared on a list compiled by the US Attorney General.”

4)Japanese American internment during WWII (1942) … “Without trial, these people had their businesses confiscated and their homes stolen (permanently) while they were moved to godforsaken settlements hundreds or  thousands of miles away from their homes.”

5) The Second Red Scare (1940′s – 1950′s) – McCarthyism, Joe McCarthy, and the blacklist … “One of the truly wild (and modern) forms of manufactured political hysteria (see what I’m getting at?) was the rise of an alcoholic Senator named Joseph McCarthy after the end of WWII.” 

6)Satanic Day Care Scandals (1980′s) … “Was there satanic abuse? Hell no. Almost all of the people accused were acquitted, and successfully sued their accusers for millions of dollars in damages and settlements. But the newspapers and TV networks reported this garbage with straight faces, in the same “he said – she said” fashion they report any accusation today.”

# 7 becomes The Teacher Witch Hunts:

Gates’ notorious partner, Rupert Murdoch and his writer, Georgett Roberts took it too far on February 26, 2012 when they used the Scarlet Letter “F” for failure as they  branded one teacher as “The Worst in Queens” in his rag, The New York Post.

Rupert Murdoch’s NEW YORK POST

Brands NYC Teacher with “F”

Here is Murdoch’s New York Post piece,

written by Georgett Roberts,  

that sets out to begin the national teacher witch hunt!

Queens parents demand answers following

teacher’s low grades

By GEORGETT ROBERTS

Last Updated: 7:03 AM, February 26, 2012

Posted: 12:07 AM, February 26, 2012

The city’s worst teacher has parents at her Queens school looking for a different classroom for their children.

Pascale Mauclair, a tenured $75,000-a-year educator at PS 11 in Woodside, ranked among the very bottom out of more than 12,000 fourth- through eighth-grade math and English teachers citywide.

“I need to speak to the guidance counselor and switch my daughter to another class or change the teacher,” said Md Haque, 42.

“Every parent expects their children to grow up smart, and it takes a competent teacher for that to happen.

“My next duty is to find out from the guidance counselor what is going on with this teacher.”

Pascale Mauclai

Pascale Mauclai

DATABASE: PERFORMANCE GRADES FOR NYC PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS (ORGANIZED BY SCHOOL)

“Another parent whose son graduated last spring from the same school was outraged that Mauclair cannot be fired for low ratings.

“I think she should be out,” said Rosa Bivar 41. “Let her go, and take the money, her salary and give it back to the school — they need the money.”

Teachers have been silenced as their union, United Federation of Teachers brought suit and lost an appeal when fighting against the publication of the teacher rankings.

Meanwhile, Arne Duncan, our nation’s US Secretary of Education  sets the stage for a National Teacher Witch Hunt as he praised the effort, saying “Silence is not an option.”  

“In releasing the reports, New York became only the second city in the country where teachers’ names and ratings have been publicized. In 2010, The Los Angeles Times hired a statistician and published its own set of ratings, in spite of fierce opposition from the local teachers’ union. Many thousands of people visited the newspaper’s Web site to check the rankings, though, and Arne Duncan, the federal education secretary, praised the effort, saying, “Silence is not an option.” ~  by Fernanda Santos and Robert Gebeloff, Teacher Quality Widely Diffused, Ratings Indicate,  New York Times 

Question: Who is behind the reports and publication of teacher’s names?  Where does the data come from?

Answer:  -  Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch, Mayor Bloomberg, and Joel Klein, with the blessings of Arne Duncan and Barack Obama!  

“This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the NY Board of Regents approved the state’s sharing of student and teacher information with a new national database, to be funded by the Gates Foundation, and designed by News Corp’s Wireless Generation. Other states that have already agreed to share this data, according to the NY State Education Department, include Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana and Massachusetts.

All this confidential student and teacher data will be held by a private limited corporation, called the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC, with even less accountability,  which in July wasawarded $76.5 million by the Gates Foundation, to be spent over 7 months. According to an earlier NYT story,  $44 million of this funding will go straight into the pockets of Wireless Generation, owned by Murdoch’s News Corp and run by Joel Klein.”  ~ Leonie Haimson, Confidential Student and Teacher Data to be Provided to LLC Run by Gates and Murdoch

and….

“The data came from a program launched in 2006 under then-schools Chancellor Joel Klein in New York’s continuing push for test-based accountability in schools. Since then, Mr. Klein has advocated to make the reports and teachers’ names public.”  ~ Lisa Fleisher, Teacher Rankings Opened to View, The Wall Street Journal

and…the media, just like in all other “mass hysteria” incidents plays the heavy role of spreading the hysteria.

The data was handed to the news media on CDs, which contain spreadsheets listing teachers’ scores for the 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 school years. Roughly 12,000 teachers were given teacher data reports each year.

Charter school and special education teachers were not included; the city says it will likely release their rankings on Tuesday.

The teacher rankings began as a pilot program four years ago to improve instruction in 140 city schools. It has turned into the most controversial set of public school statistics to be released by the Bloomberg administration: individual rankings for roughly 18,000 math and English public school teachers from fourth through eighth grades….

SchoolBook intends to publish the rankings as part of a list of teachers at the affected city schools. ~ SchoolBook, City Teacher Data Reports Are Released  [Note: SchoolBook is a subsidiary of the New York Times

Meanwhile,  these teacher’s lives hang in the mass hysteria created by public humiliation.

Teachers, understandably, along with more than 600 parents so far, are outraged!  Ben Chapmann and Tina Moore write in The New York Daily News, Teachers Call Release of Rankings a Witch Hunt, Inaccurate:

“Many parents, though, bristled at the rankings, with more than 600 signing a petition against their release.

Over and over, teachers questioned the accuracy of the reports, based on a formula that compares how students’ standardized test scores with a predicted score based on income level, attendance and other factors .

Gary Malone, 38, of Whitestone, said his ranking dropped from the 88th to the 38th percentile between the 2008-09 and 2009-2010 school year.

The 11-year veteran whose score had a more than 30-point margin of error — said he couldn’t fathom what could have caused such a precipitous drop.

“I don’t know what possibly could’ve happened to make me go down 50 percentage points,” said Malone, who teaches eighth-grade English at Junior High School 189 in Flushing. “These ranking are inaccurate.

“I am a very hardworking teacher and I know that I am ‘highly effective,’ whether or not the random ranking I am assigned from year to year says the same.”

Elizabeth Phillips, the principal of P.S. 321, said she worries that the best teachers will leave the system because of the rankings, which she considers unfair.

“We have great teachers with very high scores, very low scores and middle scores,” she said. “It is wrong to call a great teacher a failing teacher because a few kids got three or four questions wrong one year rather than two or three questions wrong the year before.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/teachers-call-release-rankings-a-witch-hunt-inaccurate-article-1.1028502#ixzz1nYMKvtxE

Question:  But now that this release of data and Teacher Witch Hunt has begun, what will teachers, administrators, parents, and children do about the mass hysteria?  Are the masses REALLY going to believe the “junk” THEY call data?

“The two most common elements in the world are hydrogen and stupidity.” ― Arthur Miller

So far, New York’s United Federation of Teachers has filled the inbox of  UFT President, Michael Mulgrew, with emails of outrage.

“In the days leading up to the release of ratings for thousands of New York City public-school teachers on Friday, hundreds of e-mails poured into the in-box of Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

“Enough of cooperation,” one member of the union wrote to his leader. Others prodded Mr. Mulgrew to stand up against Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, describing him as “untrustworthy,” in what he said was a call to arms of unparalleled intensity.

“How many times do we have to get kicked in the teeth before we realize we can’t work with these people?” John Elfrank-Dana, a union chapter leader at Murry Bergtraum High School in Lower Manhattan, asked during an interview, echoing what many of his fellow teachers have said in recent days on Twitter and on various blogs.” ~ Fernanda Santos and Anna M. Phillips,  With Release of Teacher Data, Setback for Unions Turns Into a Rallying Cry, The New York Times

There are some other sane voices speaking out, such as education blogger Valerie Strauss,  The Answer Sheet,  The Washington Post.  She writes:

NYC releases teachers’ value-added scores —

unfortunately

This is a quote from a Feb. 16 release from the New York State Department of Education announcing that agreement:

Teachers rated ineffective on student performance based on objective assessments must be rated ineffective overall. Teachers who are developing or ineffective will get assistance and support to improve performance. Teachers who remain ineffective can be removed from classrooms;” (emphasis is mine)

As noted by education historian Diane Ravitch in her New York Review of Books article titled “No Student Left Untested,” the fact is that for some teachers, “[t]he 40 percent allocated to student performance actually counts for 100 percent. Two years of ineffective ratings and the teacher is fired.” A teacher could have exemplary ratings for all other measures, but if the test scores are terrible, the teacher is rated terrible.

Today, people in New York smart enough to know better — people like, for example, Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott, who went ahead and released the scores anyway. In fact, Walcott had the chutzpah to say upon the release of the rankings, according to the New York Times:

“I don’t want our teachers disparaged in any way, and I don’t want our teachers denigrated based on this information. This is very rich data that has evolved over the years…. I don’t want our teachers characterized in a certain way based on this very complex rich tool that we have available to us.”

Rich data? Who is he kidding other than himself?

Meanwhile, people in the Obama administration who should know better, including President Obama himself, have pushed for test scores to be a part of teacher assessment. And now states around the country are adopting these methods.

The U.S. Education Department likes to say that it actually supports “multiple measures” in teacher evaluation. But a system of “multiple measures” that includes standardized test scores and makes them important — and in some cases, as we’ve seen, exclusively important — is neither fair nor necessary.

There are high-performing school districts, such as in Montgomery County, Md., and Fairfax County, Va., where teachers are evaluated on a range of measures without standardized test scores in the mix — and the system somehow managed to get rid of ineffective teachers anyway. But these systems, under federal and state pressure, are nearing the day when they will have to change their educator evaluation systems to include test scores, even though these systems work just fine without them.

Segments of public education had enough trouble before standardized testing became the be-all and end-all of assessment in the era of former president George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind, and now, Obama’s Race to the Top.

With apologies to Neil Young, “Ooh, ooh, the damage done.” ~ Valerie Strauss

As to the men responsible for branding these teachers’ rankings, I ask:What brand shall we give them in return?  What scores will we give them in the mainstream media?

 I think it is time we take out a few ads and give the Witch Hunters some labels of our own.  


GATEECA – Part 4

Question:  Is all this talk of Eugenics limited to my paranoia or to conspiracy theorists?  Am I alone in connecting education and Eugenics in the modern era of technology? 

Answer: In a 2011 piece, Eugenic Legacies Still Influence Education by David Cohen, he writes:

“One of the most important guiding principles in education is in loco parentis – we are morally and legally obliged to act “in place of the parent” when children are in our care.  That principle is the main reason for the sharply negative and visceral reaction I had when I read about John F. Kennedy High School using color-coded identification cards based on student test scores, and then a later article describing a similar program at Cypress High School (both in Orange County, California).  According to the Orange County Register, the different cards also led to different privileges around school, discounts on various purchases, and even led an administrator to insult a group of students in an assembly.” ~ David Cohen

Jim Horn also writes recently in Schools Matter: Charles Murray, KIPP, and the Second Coming of Eugenics:

” Just over a hundred years ago the devout social Darwinist, Andrew Carnegie, exercised his philanthropic muscle to fund the creation of the eugenics research hothouse known as the Station for the Experimental Study of Evolution, in Cold Springs Harbor, New York.  He got nothing for it except the satisfaction that his Spencerian values had been expressed in a way that would have lasting effect.  In 2012, economic enablers like Bill Gates and Eli Broad can stand on a similar belief that cultural defectives can be eliminated without the costly acknowledgment of poverty, but this time around these modern day Carnegies can make sure that they are repaid in tax breaks for their classist and racist largesse.” ~ Jim Horn [NOTE: As the author of Living Behind the Gates, I apologize for an incorrect citation when originally posted.  Dr. Stephen Krashen did not write the above blog "Schools Matter: Charles Murray, KIPP, and the Second Coming of Eugenics.  This blog was authored by Jim Horn.]

 

Question:  But has the stage been set for the Department of Eugenics to go even further than it did in the 1920′s?

Fact:  One would assume that this crime against the poor and vulnerable ended long ago.  It did not.  Forced sterilization continued in the United States long after Hitler was dead, until 1974 in fact.

“The sterilization program ended in 1974, but its legacy will not go away. Many of its victims are still alive and they bear witness to a bureaucracy that trampled on the rights of the poor and the powerless. ” ~ Kevin Begos, Lifting the Curtain on a Shameful Era,  Journal Now:  Against Their Will

Considering the facts listed above, perhaps the policy and practice of Eugenics has never ended.

Answer:  Although the tool of sterilization has not been re-instituted as yet:

NDAA has been passed and signed.

Internment camps have been built and staffed.

Peaceful protestors are gunned down with rubber bullets or pepper sprayed for no just cause.

Riot police prevent civil liberties based on our nation’s constitutional rights.

Mayoral control has reduced the rights  and liberties of local communities. 

Newt Gingrich is suggesting we replace school janitors with school children, changing labor laws back to the 1920′s.

Child labor laws are being challenged across America.

Minimum wage for children is being recommended at an appalling rate of just $5.25 per hour.

More Black and Latino boys are being imprisoned each year.

The school-to-prison pipeline is designed to profit off of the poor through privatization of prisons.

Union busting laws are decreasing the rights of the working class.

The reproductive rights of women are being legislated without their voices. Virginia Lawmakers threatened to vaginally probe women without a say in their own medical care through legislation that did not allow the testimony of women at hearings.

The Supreme Court is set to rule on continuation of Affirmative Action that may tear down the wall of protection, again segregating and stratifying our people by race.   Higher Education has been held in check to integrate by race through Affirmative Action for years.

 Bill and Melinda Gates have invested in Monsanto which produces GMO corn that has been proven to cause sterility and organ disease.

Activists have protested the Gates Foundation ties with Monsanto.

Yet  Bill Gates claims Monsanto is necessary to fight starvation.

The Gates couple uses Foxconn in China to create X-Box.  Monsanto and Foxconn both enforce slave-like working conditions to maximize profit.

“The same company that we recently exposed to be running ‘slave-like’ working conditions, forcing poor workers to operate the corn fields for 14 hours per day while withholding pay.” ~ Anthony Gucciardi, Monsanto Investor Bill Gates Says GMO Crops Necessary to Fight Starvation, Info Wars

Question:  Why do we continue to listen to Bill  and Melinda Gates? Why do we allow these self-appointed elites to create policies that govern a profession they know NOTHING about?

Answer:  Paul Thomas sorts this out for us in detailing the dangerous way the oligarchs are running public education in his piece for The Daily KOS - “Do As I Say, Not As I Do – Why Authority Fails”.
Paul writes:

“The education reform debate and the current state of education policy are absent authoritative leadership, and like the century leading up to today, we will remain mired in bureaucratic insanity at the expense of students and the wider American society.

It is past time that we acknowledge some harsh facts: Without his political appointments, Arne Duncan’s claims about education would fall on deaf ears (as they should); without his billions, Bill Gates would also be largely ignored. The same can be said about presidents, governors, senators, and members of congress all across the U.S.

Credible leadership springs from “This is what I have done.”

All else is the failure of authoritarian hypocrisy. And even a child can see that.”

`
Make it. Instead of chopping yourself down to fit the world, chop the world down to fit yourself. As a matter of fact, two exceptional people make another world. You and I, we make another, separate world. You don’t want a world same as your brothers-in-law. It’s just the special quality you value. Do you want to be normal or ordinary! It’s a lie. You want to be free and extraordinary, in an extraordinary world of liberty.’ ~ D. H. Lawrence

GATEECA – Part 3

Human Farming

Racism to the Top – Human Farming in Rahm Emanuel’s Mayoral controlled Chicago:

    The Ed Show – Education for the Fittest

The rest were dispensable, born to be a burden to the rest.


Question:  Is all this focus on measurement relevant or does it only serve the interests of the oligarch to sort and dispose of those they DEEM unfit?  

Answer:  Measurement is really NOT scientific. 

“Eugenicists had a passion for measurement. This undoubtedly reflected their claim that eugenics was a science. This included both physical and intellectual measurements.  The actual measurements were a fairly simple matter. The first system for human physical measurements (anthropometry) was developed by the French criminologist Alphonse Bertillon. Eugenicist Francis Galton adopted Bertillon’s system. His work with his student assistant Karl Pearson provide the basis for modern anthropometric statistics. Physical measurements by themselves are data of some actual scientific and societal utility. The use eugenicists made of the data compiled, however, was not scientific. American eugenicists had already formed their conclusions before even beginning to collect their data which as any 7th grade general science call tell you in the antithesis of real science. Eugenicists wanted to use anthropometry to support their belief that the white race was superior. 

Many of these studies were conducted in public schools, prisons, and state mental hospitals where study populations could be readily studied. Draftees in World War I (1917-18) provided another large study population. These institutions provided a cross section of children and adults from the different racial and ethnic groups. As far as we can tell, the actual measurements taken were accurate.

The conclusions drawn from the studies were a very different matter. Although the eugenicists claimed to be scientists, they attempted to draw conclusions from the data with out considering variables that could affect body measurements. Again any 7th grade science fair participant could tell you that his was not science.

The eugenicists ignored variables such as nutrition and access to medical health care that varied among racial and ethnic groups which could have an impact on growth and development and thus influence the differences found. Physical measurements could be done with considerable accuracy.

Measuring intelligence, however, was a very different matter. And it was a very critical matter as eugenicists advocated sterilization for the mentally deficient. Efforts to measuring intelligence first began after the turn of the 20th century. French psychologist Alfred Binet first created what is now known as a Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test (1905). He sought to assess a child’s “mental age”.

He wanted a test which could be used as an aid to direct primary school children to either academic or vocational education tracks. Binet’s system classified a child of average intelligence as having a mental age equal to his chronological age. Binet’s mental age was used to generate an IQ (1910). The mathematical calculation was mental age/chronological age x 100).

IQ scores can range from 0 to 200 and are designed to fit a bell curve, and by definition average 100. Average IQs range from 86 to 115. A variety of terms were used to develop individuals below (moron, imbecile, and idiot) and above (bright and genius) the average.

Eugenicists eagerly employed IQ or other intelligence tests to compare different racial and ethnic groups. These comparisons purportedly showed whites were more intelligent than blacks, native-born Americans were more intelligent than foreign-born immigrants, and northern Europeans were more intelligent than southern Europeans. Eugenicists failed to assess the validity if the early IQ tests or other variables besides race ad ethnicity.

The early IQ tests were useful, but they did not measure innate intelligence, but rather education. And of course many factors can affect education besides innate intelligence. Immigrants and poor Americans who had little who often came families with illiterate parents and had limited educational opportunities. They as a result scored poorly on these IQ tests. ~ American Eugenics Movement – Measurements

Fact:  Because these measurements are not accurate, horrible mistakes are made in the process.

“The victims included some with various degrees of mental retardation; many were simply there because they had been abandoned as a result of broken homes or had suffered some other social misfortune. Some had been honours students at school. They were lied to routinely, being told that it was something ‘for their own good’ or ‘for their health’. Those older ones who discovered the purpose behind the operations realised that they would not be able to leave the institution unless they underwent the procedure.” ~  The Lies of Lynchburg, Carl Weiland

Standardization leads to a life devoid of joy and diversity.

The Gates’ Education policies are being set to increase testing with his partnership with Pearson and their Common Core Curriculum, all mandated  without professional educators being allowed to make decisions about their own professions and for their students.  Diane Ravitch, the nation’s leading education historian and expert writes:

“Gates seems not to know or care that the leading testing experts in the nation agree that this is a fruitless and wrongheaded way to identify either good teachers or bad teachers. Student test scores depend on what students do, what effort they expend, how often they attend school, what support they have at home, and most especially on their socioeconomic status and family income. Test scores may go up or go down, in response to the composition of the class, without regard to teacher quality. Students are not randomly assigned to teachers. A teacher of gifted children, whose scores are already sky-high, may see little or no gains. A teacher of children with disabilities may be thrilled to see students respond to instruction, even if their test scores don’t go up. A teacher in a poor neighborhood may have high student turnover and poor attendance, and the scores will say nothing about his or her quality. But all will get low marks on state evaluation systems and may end up fired.

So far, the main effect of Gates’ policy has been to demoralize millions of teachers, who don’t understand how they went from being respected members of the community to Public Enemy No. 1.

As a nation we now have a toxic combination of a failed federal policy—No Child Left Behind—which made testing the be-all and end-all of schooling, and Bill Gates’ misguided belief that teacher quality can be determined by student test scores. In the years ahead, American students will undergo more and more testing, the testing industry will fatten, and the quality of education will suffer. To save their necks, teachers will teach to bad tests, school districts will drop the arts, and shrink the time available for subjects like history, geography, civics, science, and foreign languages to make time for more testing. And there will be more cheating scandals as test scores determine the lives and careers of teachers and principals, and the survival of their schools.

What is most alarming about the Times article is that Bill Gates is using his vast resources to impose his will on the nation and to subvert the democratic process. Why have we decided to outsource public education to a well-meaning but ill-informed billionaire? ~ Diane Ravitch, Education Clearinghouse


GATEECA – Part 2

Vincent: [narrating] “I belonged to a new underclass, no longer determined by social status or the color of your skin. No, we now have discrimination down to a science.” ~ Gattaca, IMDb

Question:  Are all lives really equal and do they all require measurement to determine their value?

Answer:  The children of the ELITE do NOT require measurement.  The children who go to private schools are NOT subjected to the same testing regimen. The premise is:  We can assume THESE children already have the IQ they need to excel beyond the STANDARD.  Of course, this is NOT true, but the only possible viewpoint of the elite ruling oligarchs.

Bill and Melinda Gates are driving their Eugenics agenda beyond children and are now imposing their power of ‘selection of the fittest’ onto teachers, administrators, and schools as well.  Bill and Melinda Gates are working on a project to try to standardize and basically “clone” great teachers, known as the MET Project.

Propaganda:  Bill Gates pretends to be concerned about  teachers not being humiliated as in this Op Ed published in the NY Times.

“Unfortunately, some education advocates in New York, Los Angeles and other cities are claiming that a good personnel system can be based on ranking teachers according to their “value-added rating” — a measurement of their impact on students’ test scores — and publicizing the names and rankings online and in the media. But shaming poorly performing teachers doesn’t fix the problem because it doesn’t give them specific feedback.” ~ Bill Gates, Shame is Not the Solution, New York Times


Fact:  The requirements of the Measurement of Effective Teaching [MET] project created by Bill and Melinda Gates do not match this rhetoric and are poised like a guillotine over the necks of America’s public school teachers.

Fact:  The  MET project – Measurement of Effective Teaching -  uses surveillance, forcing teachers to be video taped, then analyzes these video tapes in an attempt to “clone & script” what Gates perceives to be “great teaching”.  Teachers and education leaders know this is not possible, due to all of the variables that create unique human beings.  The Gates Foundation considers humans the same way it views software — code to be manipulated and controlled! To Gates, everything becomes a number, depersonalized.  Edu in Review asks and answers:  Is Good Teaching Quantifiable?  Bill Gates Thinks So

“Every aspect of a student’s academic production is assigned a number. Tests get a percentage, papers and essays get letter grades. These letter grades are in turn averaged and become GPAs. Standardized tests place students in percentiles. These numbers become the foremost measure of a student’s abilities.

But how do we quantify a teacher’s abilities? Is the performance of their students enough?

It’s been shown that quality of teaching makes one of the biggest impacts on student performance. That’s why the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is launching a three-year study to determine the components of effective teaching. “Do they work longer hours? Do they break the classroom down more?” Asks Microsoft founder Bill Gates. The study is called Measures of Effective Teaching, and will evaluate 3,000 teachers from across the nation. The project will cost half a billion dollars.

The teachers will be evaluated by video, self-reporting, student questionnaires, and the performance of their students on standardized tests. While much controversy swirls around the usefulness and fairness of standardized tests, which are to receive a massive overhaul in the next five years, Gates insists that measurably is key to improving education. “If you want something to be excellent, it can’t go unmeasured.” The study aims to deconstruct good teaching, presumably so that it can be reproduced elsewhere. “We’ll know more about what a great teacher looks like,” says Gates.”

Fact:  Using standardized test results and teacher evaluations, Bill and Melinda Gates are building a database that will be used against children and teachers as noted here by Leonie Haimson of Parents Across America in the Huffington Post:

“This week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the NY Board of Regents approved the state’s sharing of student and teacher information with a new national database, to be funded by the Gates Foundation, and designed by News Corp’s Wireless Generation. Other states that have already agreed to share this data, according to the NY State Education Department, include Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Louisiana and Massachusetts.

All this confidential student and teacher data will be held by a private limited corporation, called the Shared Learning Collaborative LLC, with even less accountability,  which in July was awarded $76.5 million by the Gates Foundation, to be spent over 7 months. According to an earlier NYT story,  $44 million of this funding will go straight into the pockets of Wireless Generation, owned by Murdoch’s News Corp and run by Joel Klein.”  ~ Leonie Haimson, Confidential Student and Teacher Data to be Provided to LLC Run by Gates and Murdoch

Fact:  Teachers and children are being  dehumanized and treated like animals.  They are being mustered, corralled, sorted, branded, domesticated, stigmatized, and culled –  treated as commodities that are dispensable.

“Teachers have been dehumanized and domesticated,” said University of Redlands professor Susan Porter. “Just show up and go through the scripted learning...

Widespread disrespect for educators, children and their families has led to the demise of public schooling, she said. Students learning English are given labels that stigmatize them, impair their learning and damage their perception of themselves.

“How would you like to be a ‘lep?’” she asked, referring to the Limited English Proficiency label. “These are children we’re talking about.” ~  Education Experts Cite Flaws in System


GATEECA, The Department of Eugenics, and Barack Obama’s Racism To the Top – Part I

“As night-fall does not come at once,  neither does oppression…It is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air — however slight — lest we become victims of the darkness.” ~  Justice William O. Douglas

 

“Historically, eugenics has been used as a justification for coercive state-sponsored discrimination and human rights violations, such as forced sterilization of persons who appear to have – or are claimed to have – genetic defects, the killing of the institutionalized and, in some cases, outright genocide of races perceived as inferior.” ~ Martin Frost

We are in the midst of a densely thick darkness falling over countless lives across America and the global system under the oppression of oligarchs who have determined that some are MORE equal than others. While some are awakened in the nightmare, others sleep through the darkness.

History is repeating itself.  We are haunted by the ghosts of the Eugenics Society, who in the 1920′s believed they held the superiority and right to judge who had enough VALUE to society to survive as the MOST fit and who was UNFIT to live, to pro-create.

In the 1920′s, the Department of Education was the creature used to impose a weapon of measurement to sort and cull children according to the ideas of the oligarchs as to who was “fit” to contribute to society.

  Eugenicists of the 1920′s used: 

Mental testing,

statistics,

law,

economics,

politics,

and

EDUCATION

as powerful tools to “organize them into an harmonious entity.” 

Today’s story of Eugenics picks up the 1920′s story, with a heavy dose of propaganda.

The oligarchs of today are picking up where their forefathers left off, by reinfecting us with the plague of standardized testing.

First under George Bush and then under Barack Obama, The Department of Education mandates every state administer a high-stakes standardized test on every student in every public school, through the policy known as No Child Left Behind and now Race to the Top, thus creating an Orwellian “Animal Farm”.

The wizards behind the curtain of this MEASUREMENT  policy 

and modern Eugenics are Bill and Melinda Gates.

The Gates Foundation propaganda on their site page:

Fact: Bill Gates sends his children to his Alma mater Lakeside Prep School, where they have all the advantages bestowed upon wealthy preppies.  Small class sizes, and programs galore including: fine arts,  athletics, college counseling, student clubs, outdoor programs, global programs, technology, music, band, orchestra, foreign language, and all the extra enrichment expected by the privileged elite.

Fact: Bill and Melinda Gates donate a great deal of money to education, but they earmark their money for a very specific agenda.  They do not donate their money to make public schools in the likeness of their privileged CHOICE, Lakeside Prep School.

Fact:  Obviously, to Bill and Melinda Gates, not ALL children have equal value.

Fact: The Gates couple and their foundation use their massive prestige, power, and influence as well as their streaming, limitless money on enforcing standardized measurement that is in turn used to segregate children and teachers!

“I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature, I think Mother wants us to.” 

~ William Gaylin

Fact: President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama choose to send their children to Sidwell Friends in Washington, DC, at a cost of over $30,000 per year, per child.  By the time one adds the “additional fees” to the tuition, that is the same amount I make working full time in one year as a public school teacher.

Fact:  A 2011 report by the NCES, stated that the US spends an average of $10,000 on the education of each student attending public school.  It seems that our government (and those who control it behind the scenes) have decided that our children are worth less than 1/3 the amount of Bill Gates and Barack Obama’s children.  Is less than 1/3 of the amount the elite pay for their children’s education going to give OUR children a “world class” education?

Fact:  In a recent Tweet by @EdPressSec, Justin Hamilton, he tweeted this propaganda:

@barackobama & @arneduncan believe that every child in America deserves access to a world class public education.

Fact:  Certainly, Bill Gates, and Barack Obama’s children receive a world class education. Do the poor families in OUR districts have a choice about attending schools that do not impose high stakes testing, that provide enriched, well-rounded curriculum, and are staffed by teachers who are not harassed by equally high stakes evaluation systems?

Fact:  Barack Obama does not think all children have equal value, or deserve a world class education.

Eugenics Tools of Measurement


Fact:  Today, Orwellian science is bringing us ‘data’ that can be used for Eugenic-like purposes.  Prenatal testing has been around for years through amniocentesis to determine congenital issues, but now we are capable of screening for “dis-abilities” subsequent to birth.  This report shows us that children can be tested using MRI to determine dyslexia at birth, for example.  Another test for Autism via brain scans claims to be able to detect it as early as 6 months.  What will the oligarch’s mandate for THESE children in the future?

Fact:  Bill and Melinda Gates are leading oligarchs in the  creation of a centralized medical history data system that can further be used for Eugenics purposes.

“If we open Microsoft®’s Health Vault, we’ll open Pandora’s box to cyber harms that cannot be undone. Microsoft, Google and Facebook seem to think data sharing makes them our blood brothers. That shouldn’t give them the right to torment us with personalized advertising and other threats as our new Big Brothers.

Rapidly changing technology is the rationale for a Microsoft® monopoly on electronic health records. Funny that this is happening since Google Health pulled the plug on its personal health record services in 2011 because of a “lack of widespread adoption.”

Will this monopoly be an “opt-in service”, meaning medical information can only be accessed when volunteered by individuals? And will Microsoft’s services be considered a “covered entity” under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996? HIPAA privacy laws did not apply to Google Health.

Microsoft is also sticking its grubby fingers into Oregon’s newly merged educational and wage databases. Project ALDER, Advancing Longitudinal Data for Education Reform, intends to use the social security number to “track students through postsecondary education and beyond–into the workforce.”

Project ALDER was conceived with money from Gates Foundation and born through Gates lobbying since it’s funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. You can follow the money of K & L Gates on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Affordable Health Care for America Act…

Is it coincidental that Microsoft has a no-bid contract for health care and educational databases? I don’t think so.” ~  Dr. Kris Alman, Microsoft’s Virtual Goldmine, The Lund Report 

Question: How will Bill Gates and Barack Obama use these health and education measurements and data?

Answer:  One way they are using this data is by segregating children and offering “select, approved” populations “CHOICE” through Charter Schools, promoted by Race to the Top.  There are many other ways that the Gates and our government use our health and education data to sort us into categories for subversive purposes. [See GATEECA -Part 4]

Fact:  Race to the Top uses Charter Schools to ‘select out’ the fittest and banish those who don’t meet their criteria to poor public schools staffed by Teach For America 5 week trained temporary glorified babysitters.  [UCLA Civil Rights Project, 2010]

Fact: This  “Racism to the Top” policy is a modern day lynching, using  strong rope made into nooses of measurement  from the old Eugenics Tree seen above  to first DEVALUE, then to segregate the lives of children — poor children, children of color, children who are different-abled, children who do not speak English,  immigrant children, children who do not pass the high-stakes standardized tests, children who have a different sexual orientation.

Fact:  These children are sentenced to a life in the poorest of schools. [The Harvard Civil Rights Project, 2005]

Fact:  In the 1920′s America’s Public Schools were used as warehouses to segregate the “unfit” from the “ELITE” who deemed themselves fit to go to world class schools and carry on the gene pool. 

Here is, but one story of how a school was used to warehouse children in the 1920′s. 

“The Fernald School, and others like it, was part of a popular American movement in the early 20th century called the Eugenics movement. The idea was to separate people considered to be genetically inferior from the rest of society, to prevent them from reproducing.

Eugenics is usually associated with Nazi Germany, but in fact, it started in America. Not only that, it continued here long after Hitler’s Germany was in ruin.

At the height of the movement – in the ’20s and ’30s – exhibits were set up at fairs to teach people about eugenics. It was good for America, and good for the human race. That was the message.

But author Michael D’Antonio says it wasn’t just a movement.  It was government policy. “People were told, we can be rid of all disease, we can lower the crime rate, we can increase the wealth of our nation, if we only keep certain people from having babies,” says D’Antonio.

He says back then, schools tested children regularly, and those classified as feeble-minded got a one-way ticket to Fernald — or to one of the more than 100 institutions like it.

“Idiot, imbecile, and moron were all medical terms. They were used to define various levels of retardation or disability.  Moron was coined to describe children who were almost normal,” says D’Antonio. “I would estimate that at least 50 percent would function in today’s world well.


Boyce says he thinks the state recommended that he come to Fernald because it was the easy way out: “They didn’t have to look for homes for you, so they could just dump you off in these human warehouses and just let you rot, you know. That’s what they did. They let us rot.

“It was a school in name only. A child would experience the first year of school 5 or 6 times in a row,” says D’Antonio. “He would read the same ‘Dick and Jane’ reader, and never make any progress because the school wasn’t equipped to actually educate children. It was there as a sort of holding pen.”


The children did most of the manual labor at the school.

“The kids at Fernald raised the vegetables that they ate. They sewed the soles on the shoes that they wore. They manufactured the brooms that they used to sweep the floor,” says D’Antonio, who adds that the school made sure that at least 30 percent of the kids admitted had normal or near normal intelligence.

The school needed those kids to work. “You had to have somebody with a certain level of intelligence in order to run this place,” says Boyce. “And I can remember being out in the gardens from morning until night in the sun.”

Almeida, however, had an unusual job, and the fruits of his labor are still there 50 years later. His job was to cut up the brains of severely retarded people who had died at Fernald. He cut them into thin slices so scientists could study them. Nothing ever came of the research, but the bits of brains are still there.

“They’re still sitting here years later,” says Almeida. “I mean, what was it all for?” ~ America’s Deep, Dark Secret by Rebecca Leung, CBS, 60 Minutes

Fact:  In poor public schools in New York City today, where children are warehoused in the basement boiler rooms without programs like PE, library, art, music, or windows to let in the light while their Charter Schools for the elite are housed upstairs in the same building and bestowed with all of the absent programs is very similar to this story of yesteryear.

Fact:  These children do not have the hope of the same future as do the children of Bill and Melinda Gates or Barack and Michelle Obama!

Fact:  Today’s  public school children are subjected to the high stakes testing of Bill and Melinda Gates and a life devoid of music, library, athletics, technology, and the arts –  a life devoid of privilege and joy that often leads to drug/alcohol abuse, and a school-to-prison pipeline that sadly often ends in death.

“As part of its Race to the Top competition, the US Department of Education awarded $330 million today to two coalitions of states to help them develop new ways of measuring whether students are on track to be ready for college and 21st -century careers.

“These new tests will be an absolute game-changer in public education,” said Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in announcing the grants. “They’ll be better, smarter assessments — the kind of tests our teachers want and our students need.”

The testing systems will align with the new Common Core Standards in math and English language arts that nearly 40 states have already agreed to adopt. When the new tests are rolled out in 2014-15, the states in each coalition will be able to compare results with, and learn from, one another.” ~ Stacy Teicher Khadaroo,  Race to the Top Promises  New Era of Standardized Testing


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