The pressure of a wounded public school system is being felt as Philanthro-PIRATE Bill Gates and his foundation wield their unlimited funds and larger than life A.L.E.C.-like jaws to influence education policy. This wound is gaping and can be felt across the country as the legs of the public schools stand caught in his deadly trap, squeezed with teeth baring down on the bone.
I believe the Gates are acting out a plan that has been pressuring public schools from the top down, the bottom up, and sideways. Proof of that pressure is surfacing like puss bursting out of the top of a boil.
Some of that infection has ruptured out with intensity and urgency created by the pressure that has been building over No Child Left Behind.
The wounded have left a trail of screaming hot words blasted clear like a Jimi Hendrix guitar riff at Secretary Duncan, President Obama, governors, legislators, and mayors; tearing through the silence from congress as America waits for years to hear about what they plan to do about No Child Left Behind. Blogs, newspapers, Facebook Twitter, letters to legislators, and phone messages boxes are filled with rants of outrage across the country until a few days ago when finally; even Arne Duncan, in a recent report, says that he must take an unprecedented measure to act ending No Child Left Behind without congress.
“I can’t overemphasize how loud the outcry is for us to do something right now,” Mr. Duncan told reporters. ~ Sam Dillon, The New York Times, Education
A little history about the Gates Foundation might be in order. When did they begin lobbying presidents and congress to influence education policy from the top down? When did they first begin doling out money to influence education from the bottom up? When did they start branching out to influence education sideways?
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation first began in 1994. The first steps toward an education related interest started by donations to libraries. I’ll be the first to say, and I believe Stephen Krashen would agree, I wish they would go back to their interest in donating to libraries! What a different world it would be today!
Here’s a bit of the history, specific to its involvement in education, taken directly from the Gates Foundation itself that can be found here.
Pressure from the Top Down:
Open Secrets tells us about the political contributions of Bill Gates when comparing the 2 mega corporate rivals of Microsoft to Apple:
“Between his success with Microsoft and his globe-trotting charity work, many consider Gates to be among the most generous of the world’s wealthiest people. Politicians certainly can’t disagree: In two decades, Gates, Microsoft’s founder and current chairman, has given away more than half a million dollars to federal candidates, political party committees and political action committees. And he’s spread it out evenly, too, giving to Republicans and Democrats alike. The 19 percent of his political giving that hasn’t went to either party as predominantly gone to the Microsoft PAC.
Though individual contributions from Laurene Powell Jobs helped narrow the gap, Microsoft takes the category in full, thanks to an active political action committee, a slew of individual contributions made by employees and a tiny boost from the PC guy himself.
But ultimately, it’s Microsoft that comes out on top in this digital matchup. With a longtime presence inside the Beltway and a bulging political budget, Microsoft spends millions of dollars on lobbying and campaign contributions — enough to still put the prize well out of reach for a steadily surging Apple.”
In addition, Open Secrets lists Microsoft Corp. as #41 in the all-time heavy hitter list of campaign donors. It also says that they ‘sit on the fence’ politically! Bruce Levine writes about this fence sitting as a way for corporations to create a mono-party system where the candidates are forced to be beholden to the corporations – both Democrats and Republicans, giving the voters a false sense of choice between parties. By donating equally to candidates of both parties, Bill Gates plays this game well, applying extra top-down pressure regardless of who is in office at the time, insuring that HIS agenda gets pushed through.
These reports don’t begin to tell the story though, due to the small little issue called earmark funds. I did a little Google search and came up with quite a list of Gates Foundation earmarks that hopscotch across the country giving him political clout where ever he goes with his checkbook. I’m not going to bore you with all of them here, because the list is just too long. And in finding it I found something MUCH, MUCH more important…
Bill Drives the Department of Education Big Ed Bus ~Evidence of Top Down Control Over the Department of Education by the Gates Foundation:
When Googling this search I came across what is likely not yet a well known fact published by a site called AllGov – Everything Our Government Really Does. What is lurking behind the Department of Education? What is lurking behind No Child Left Behind? Or should I say “WHO” is lurking….???
Overview: “Located within the Department of Education, The Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) manages various grant programs, ranging from charter schools to dropout prevention, and coordinates the public school choice and supplemental education services that are provided under the No Child Left Behind Act. In managing these grant programs and implementing new educational reforms, OII attempts to improve student achievement, increase parental awareness, and prepare the educational system, both technologically and instructionally, for more advanced learning.
What it does: The Office of Innovation and Improvement was created in order to help manage the spending of money created by the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the OII decides how to distribute the funds of its 28 grant programs (see below). When distributing these funds, their main goal is to improve student achievement, increase parental awareness, and keep the education system up to date. The OII is also responsible for administering earmarks, which are funds allocated by Congress to be spent on predetermined projects.
Here is a little list of the Earmark funds governed by OII:
- Advanced Credentialing
- Arts Educators – Professional Development
- Arts in Education- Very Special Arts (VSA) and John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Kennedy Center) only.
- Arts in Education Cultural Partnerships for At-Risk Youth
- Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants Program
- Close Up Fellowship
- Charter Schools
- Charter School Facilities – Credit Enhancement
- Charter School Facilities – State Incentive
- D.C. Choice Incentive
- Excellence in Economic Education
- Exchanges with Historic Whaling and Trading Partners
- Full-Service Community Schools
- Fund for the Improvement of Education
- High-Quality Supplemental Educational Services and After-School Partnerships Demonstration
- History – Congressional Academies for Students of American History and Civics
- History – Presidential Academies for American History and Civics Education
- History – Teaching American History
- Magnet Schools
- National Writing Project
- Parental Information and Resource Centers
- Reading Is Fundamental
- Ready to Teach
- Ready to Learn TV
- School Leadership
- Star Schools
- Technology Innovation Challenge Grants
- Transition to Teaching
- Troops to Teachers
- Voluntary Public School Choice
- Women’s Educational Equity
Here is the REAL clincher, Bill Gates is driving the bus:
James H. Shelton III has served as assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement since April 2009, putting him in charge of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. In this position, he oversees the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund. President Barack Obama pledged to prohibit government employees from doing business with former employers.
However, Shelton was granted a waiver to deal with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for which he worked for more than five years prior to joining the Obama administration.
Connecting the dots, more about Shelton= MORE ABOUT GATES:
“Prior to joining the Obama administration, he spent more than five years (2003-2009) as a program director for the education division of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, managing the foundation’s national programs and work in the northeast region of the United States. Among the programs he oversaw were Next Generation Models, School Replication, and College Access and Scholarships.”
In other words, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet CONTROL $650 million in earmarks for the Department of Education!
This kind of history and political pressure from the top has extended an extremely long line of credit to Bill Gates in setting federal and state education policies.
Bottom Up Pressure:
I haven’t written about this yet, but I am not alone in the outrage created by the testing policies of No Child Left Behind and Race to the Top. The Common Core Standards are another Gates promotion, spawned by yet another unholy alliance with Pearson Publishing Company. The grand scheme includes federalized common core curriculum complete with a new battery of high-stakes testing created by the dastardly duo.
Take a very deep breath for a moment, sit down, try to remain calm, and think:
What will the profit be if the great Gates/Pearson merger is the monopoly provider for 1.5 million schools, and 52 million school age children if they are all required to have the SAME text books and the SAME standardized tests published and administered by these Philanthro-PIRATES?
NOW GET OUTRAGED!!! Because it does not stop here! The same systematic prescriptive scripted curriculum will be in every classroom across the country as if we all are ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL!!!!
I could go on and on to tell you, as a special education teacher and a person who served on a Gifted Focus Committee for 3 1/2 years as a researcher and advocate for these children who are also exceptional – as in needing specially designed instruction!
I could go on and on to tell you all about how the highest level thinking with Bloom’s Taxonomy is CREATE and yet this canned, scripted curriculum with it’s battery of bubble-test-mania will have nothing to do with creating, analyzing, or relevant problem solving.
I could go on and on to tell you about how this same canned one-size-fits-all curriculum does nothing to benefit the child who came from a refugee camp in Somalia, or the 12 English Language Learners who entered my classroom last year, or the 5 children on Individualized Educational Programs, or the 3 gifted children that were all in my classroom together last year!
I could go on and on to tell you that project based inquiry learning that is relevant to the child who just came from Mexico needs to be relevant to THEM and may not be relevant at all to the child in Alaska! But Bill Gates thinks that we need the SAME textbooks for the child in New York AND the child in Texas because there is only ONE way to teach a child to multiply!!!!
I could go on and on to tell you that Bill Gates is a computer nerd, but he is NOT a teacher and has NO background knowledge whatsoever in the very highly specialized PROFESSIONAL field of education that he has become a CZAR over through simply getting rich!!!
I could go on and on to tell you that these canned curriculum are leaving out the joy of learning and teaching. The narrow emphasis of teaching to these tests with 2 hours spent each day in reading and math alone are beginning to shave parts off of our whole children that we, as teachers and parents value. They are not learning about music, art, PE, sports, social skills, vocational technical skills, geography, history, science, social studies, foreign language….. the list goes on and on.
But that long list does not include the “Bottom Up” parts that I am most concerned about.
WHAT I CAN TELL YOU IS THIS: This canned narrow curriculum are shaving a VERY important part off of children that will impact our whole society! These children are not learning how to solve real world problems. They are not learning how a democratic society works, nor how to become an active member in this society in order to vote their conscience! Instead they are being taught how to be drones to tyrannical authoritarian powers!
This is the real danger facing our children and our future as a society as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are squeezing us until we all cry Uncle!
Squeezed From All Sides:
When I wrote about the advocacy groups that the Gates Foundation is bankrolling, I hadn’t researched all the connections to him driving the DOE. I had a strong intuition or inference drawn, but had not had any real proof, nor clear understanding that connected all the dots before today. Now, it only makes MORE sense. I’ve already outlined the way the pressure is controlling our futures from the bottom up. Now, I’ll discuss my analysis of how his influence is squeezing us from all sides.
By using his Philanthropy badge, Gates attracts parents, do-gooders, and organizations that want us to improve our schools. It is a noble cause, indeed. But as these so-called advocacy groups hear speeches about civil rights, education for ALL children, choice for parents so poor children can go to any school and not just their neighborhood ‘poor’ school, more and more people get sucked in to the vacuum of truth.
I already spelled out how these charter schools are causing communities to dissolve, how they are re-segregating our children by race, ability, and class. They are dividing our children from their neighborhood friends. They are dividing families from interacting with one another as they used to do at after-school functions and school celebrations. They are dividing our children from experiencing the perception of others who are not in the same race, class, or ability brackets. The good intentions of choice are sold hook, line, and sinker to many a ‘school advocacy group’. In a new scathing report on charter schools, The Louisiana School Board writes:
“However, a funny thing happened along the way. Free-market zealots (with riches) realized that over $600 billion is spent in the U.S. on public schools. A whole new frontier leading to stable profits was recognized. Everyone knows “it takes money to make money,� and the faces behind the voucher/charter “reform� movement are not bashful in stepping up to the bar.”
Recently, Gates teamed up with Murdoch, as I wrote about earlier. Here’s part of the Louisiana School Board’s reporting on Murdoch:
“Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corp, is also into education reform. He paid $350 million for Wireless Generation, a Brooklyn�based education reform company. Murdoch is quoted as follows: “When it comes to k-12 education, we see a $500 billion sector in the U.S. alone that is waiting desperately to be transformed by big breakthroughs that extend the reach of great teaching.�(Idaho Statesman.com-Dan Popkey- 2/20/2011)”
This is what the Louisiana School Board has to say about Gates:
“Foundations such as Gates , Walton and Broad benefit from their status as non-profits that are IRS allowed deductions from income and thus are essentially subsidized by U.S. taxpayers. But, they are allowed to leverage their investment in untaxed funds and also evade accountability for the failure of their programs. Gates� small school movement costs local districts significantly and have failed to show any real advantages. His foundation has abandoned the movement after spending $2 billion over eight years. The Washington Post reports that Gates has spent about $650 million on education reform, mostly on teacher evaluation and performance pay.“
DIVIDE AND CONQUER, ATTACKING EACH OTHER FROM ALL SIDES:
Gates’ strategic bankrolling is also dividing families along belief, politics, and public sector vs. private sector lines. They are dividing families by pitting one advocacy group against another – Parents Across America against Stand for Children and Students 1st. PTA against teacher unions and so called ‘status quo’. Parents against unions. Families against experienced teachers. Professional teachers against Teach for America Teacher-wanna-bees. New teachers against experienced teachers. Segregated groups against other segregated groups. The divisiveness works in their favor. Divide and conquer.
Remember their agenda:
- Re-Segregation by class and color/race
- Disestablishmentarianism: Tearing down the great wall between church and state
- Reducing civic critical thinking skills to ‘dumb down democracy’
- Tyranny over education policy
- Extraction of local control
“No Child Left Behind is a declaration of war!”, to quote Steven Strauss who wrote “The Class Lessons of No Child Left Behind”. Now we know who the main elite enemy is, the one who is REALLY driving the BUS at the Department of Education!
But Race To the Top is no better, even worse! Attaching Gate’s Common Core tests coming down the pipeline to teacher evaluations without solving any of the poverty problems will pit everyone against one another even more! In light of the recent testing scandals, you can only imagine what Murdoch will do to education!
Now fight this war for the very fabric of America with everything you’ve got! Fight the top, fight FOR the bottom, and find a way to unite the sides by spreading the truth! We are many! They are few!