Category Archives: Propaganda

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…




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



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


Dead Poets Society: Contact Microsoft or the Gates Foundation for Free One-Time Membership

Truth like-like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.

Y-Y-You push it, stretch it, it’ll never be enough.

You kick at it, beat it, it’ll never cover any of us.

From the moment we enter crying t-to the moment we leave dying,

it’ll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream.

~ Todd Anderson, The Dead Poets Society, IMBd quotes

Melinda and Bill Gates have attempted to cover the cold hard feet of truth with their blanket of propaganda in order to maintain their status as the richest couple in the world.

However, like in the poem from The Dead Poets Society, the cold feet of truth are always left exposed at some point, in this case for the people of the working class.  This exposure falls too late for some, however in the past weeks, two incidents have been uncovered that have impacted the worlds of real people, both in China and in the United States.

Both of these true stories are connected directly to Melinda and Bill Gates,  one to Microsoft, and one to the Gates Foundation’s control over public education.  Both are related to horrible working conditions caused directly by the Gates’.

Both stories end in desperation and finally in the loss of real human lives – lives precious to the families and co-workers of real human beings not as privileged as the Gates family, but valuable nevertheless.

**Warning- like the movie, the topic and photos are dark and graphic, as the truth is sometimes, and even more often as the Gates take more control over our world.

One such story involves the desperate working conditions, a 300 person suicide threat in protest, and the deaths of 16 workers by suicide at Foxconn – Microsoft’s X-Box manufacturers in China.

The second story, closer to home, involves the deplorable working conditions in a public school – ending in the suicide of a teacher, Mary Thorson, who was a 32-year-old physical education teacher at Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center in Ford Heights, Illinois, who ended her own life on November 24, 2011, citing horrible working conditions as her reason.  These horrible public school working conditions can be traced directly to the education reform and bullying of teachers via demonization of our profession started by none other than Melinda and Bill Gates.

The Gates family has more than any human needs – when it comes to money – and they use it to control the main stream media in their attempt at blanketing the truth with pure propaganda.

Here’s the propaganda and spin created by Microsoft and Gates via the media:

“Microsoft takes working conditions in the factories that manufacture its products very seriously, and we are currently investigating this issue,” the statement said.

“The welfare of our employees is our top priority and we are committed to ensuring that all employees are treated fairly and that their rights are fully protected,” the company statement said. ~ CNN, “Microsoft Probes Mass Suicide Threat at China Plant”

And here’s more propaganda by Gates:

“Microsoft is one of many companies that contracts with Foxconn to manufacture hardware. Upon learning of the labor protest in Wuhan, we immediately conducted an independent investigation of this issue,” starts the statement that comes from a Microsoft spokesperson.

Source: The Inquirer (http://s.tt/15csh)

And more propaganda by Microsoft:

“After the incident, Microsoft gave Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft the following statement. 

Foxconn has been an important partner of ours and remains an important partner. I trust them as a responsible company to continue to evolve their process and work relationships. That is something we remain committed to—the safe and ethical treatment of people who build our products. That’s a core value of our company.”

~ Rebecca Greenfield, “Foxconn Is Still a Hard Place to Work”, The Atlantic Wire

Workers at Foxconn morn the suicide deaths of their co-workers

due to Microsoft’s poor working conditions.

This graphic is part of the Swiss-based Public Eye campaign to elect the world’s worst corporation. Foxconn is a 2011 nominee.  ~ Greenpeace

But here are the cold hard facts, the feet of truth sticking out under the blanket of the Gates propaganda about China’s Microsoft X-Box workers:

“Last year a startling 18 Chinese migrant workers attempted suicide at Foxconn production facilities located in Guangdong, Jiangsu and Hebei Provinces. Fourteen died, while four survived with critical injuries. All were between 17 and 25 years old. Why did they, in the prime of youth, give up on their lives?

According to a woman working on the soldering line attaching speakers to MP3- and MP4-format digital audio players: ‘After work, all of us – more than 100 persons – are made to stay behind. It happens whenever workers get punished. A girl is forced to stand at attention to read aloud a statement of self-criticism. She must be loud enough to be heard. Our line leader would ask if the worker at the far end of the workshop could hear clearly the mistake she has made. Oftentimes girls feel like they are losing face. It’s very embarrassing. Her tears drop. Her voice becomes very small.’” ~ Jenny Chan, iSlave New Internationalist Magazine

‘I am just a speck of dust’…

Does that statement give you the same message as the Gates Foundation regarding the equal value [see below, straight from the Gates Foundation website] of every human life?  I think not!

Death at Foxconn: Ma Zishan mourns his son Ma Xiangqian, the tenth protest suicide against draconian management at the south China electronics firm. The suicides continue. Joe Tan / Reuters

“As American consumers ogle over shiny new gadgets at this week’s Consumer Electronic’s Show, the workers that make those products are threatening mass suicide for the horrid working conditions at Foxconn. 300 employees who worked making the Xbox 360 stood at the edge of the factory building, about to jump, after their boss reneged on promised compensation, reports English news site Want China Times. It’s not like this is the first time working conditions at Foxconn have made news outside China. But iPhone and Xbox sales surely haven’t lagged in the wake of those revelations and neither Apple nor Microsoft has done much of anything to fix things. 

Instead of the raise they requested, these workers were given the following ultimatum: quit with compensation, or keep their jobs with no pay increase. Most quit and never got the money. That’s when the mass suicide threat came in. The incident actually caused a factory wide shutdown, reports Record China. 

Sympathetic corporate statements aside, the conditions haven’t much improved. Beyond this threat — the mayor eventually talked the angry workers down — suicides persist. Apple has given similar responses, saying it ensures safe working conditions and fair employee treatment. 

That translates to making employees sign “no suicide” pacts and letting 13 year-olds work half-day long shifts, as Mike Daisey, a self-proclaimed Apple fanboy, detail in this week’s This American Life. Daisey goes to Shenzhen, China, where Foxconn employs over 400,000 workers. He talks to both factory workers and businessmen, gathering chilling information about the situation at the factory, discovering suicide nets, 36-hour shifts, 27-year-old burn outs with dismembered limbs and underage workers.”

~ Rebecca Greenfield, “Foxconn Is Still a Hard Place to Work”, The Atlantic Wire

As I write this blog, I am chilled by the last statement by Daisey and the confirmed suicides of 16 Foxconn workers.  These deaths are due to the horrible working conditions minimized by Melinda and Bill Gates, who fool Americans about their caring philanthropy by more propaganda via media spin.

“Over the last two years, at least 16 Foxconn employees have committed suicide in the company’s Shenzhen, China factory. Three other workers attempted to kill themselves at the factory. Those deaths have prompted the company to say that it will install “suicide nets” around the factory to discourage employees from jumping from buildings. Foxconn has also offered some workers a 20 percent wage increase to improve morale.” ~ Don Reisinger, “Foxconn Settles With Workers Who Threaten Mass Suicide”, C-Net

But how could Melinda and Bill Gates possibly be responsible for the suicide death of a public school teacher due to working conditions? After all, the Gates don’t “own” and “operate” public schools!  Or do they?

Let’s look at the story about Mary Thorson and the Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center in Chicago, IL., starting with the propaganda by the Gates’ own views on how their influence impacts public education.

Gates  and Gates Foundation Propaganda:

“In most workplaces, there is an implicit bargain: Employees get the support they need to excel at their jobs, and employers build a system to evaluate their performance. The evaluations yield information that employees use to improve—and that employers use to hold employees accountable for results.

At Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who achieved it and were candid with those who did not. Teachers don’t work in anything like this kind of environment, and they want a new bargain.

We know this because they told us so in a recent survey that our foundation undertook with Scholastic. It turns out that teachers don’t like their no-support/low-expectations working conditions any better than we do.”Grading the Teachers” ~  Schools have a lot to learn from buisness say Melinda and Bill Gates.

How does this statement straight from the Gates Foundation settle with you

after reading a statement from a Chinese worker about being a mere speck of dust?

Truth:

One might say that ALL lives have equal value to Melinda and Bill Gates – EXCEPT for anyone not wealthy enough to be in upper management, not wealthy enough to go to private charter schools promoted by Melinda and Bill Gates,or not wealthy enough to run in their social circles.  Some of these “LESS EQUAL” lives might be public school teachers, children and families who are poor, or those who work at Foxconn.  But do I have proof or evidence of that opinion?  I think the lives and words of Mary and the Chinese workers are evidence enough, but is there other evidence?

How do the Gates manage their employees here in Washington State at Microsoft, for example?  There is evidence that Melinda and Bill Gates treat their Microsoft employees in the exact same manner as they are treating US public school children, parents, and teachers – with a few ‘carrots’ and mostly ‘sticks’!

In fact, these ‘sticks’ of cold feet – the truth sticking out from their DeForming measures – are KILLING what they SAY the Gates say they are striving for in education reform –  that big word Melinda and Bill Gates throw around as Corporate EdDeFormers all the time – INNOVATION.  Another one of their trick words is “transformation”.  And another buzz word that they use to make working conditions for students, teachers, and factory workers is “accountability”.

This method of merit-pay-carrots and punitive-decentives kill collaboration, creating a competitive market driven, glory hogging, dog-eat-dog environment where bullies thrive, collaborators despair, and INNOVATION wilts away.  The onl”transformation” that takes place is the increasing stress under bullying that leads to despair.

These methods have also seen a rise in working condition suicides as reported by the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, via Timesizing, Not Downsizing in their article entitled “Work Related Suicide, Death, and Violence”.

See how this same model Gates uses to destroy working conditions impacts employees and INNOVATION at Microsoft. as reported by Joe Wilcox on Beta News in his article, “Why Former Employees Say Microsoft Can’t Innovate”

One of the reasons – Gates doesn’t seem to even understand the concept and meaning of the word… “Innovation”… to him it means “status quo” per his employee, Rodriquez. Yet Gates makes many comments against teachers and teachers’ unions demonizing them for “protecting the status quo!”

Incentives that Discourage Risk, Innovation

“Related to gut-bulging middle management: some HR review and compensation processes discourage many employees from taking the kinds of risks necessary for Microsoft to regain its competitive edge and, quite frankly, to innovate in truly meaningful ways. Microsoft’s definition of innovation, for most of its product groups, is anything that preserves the status quo — meaning extending Office and Windows and increasingly server software like SharePoint and Windows Server. Risk is a dirty word for many employees looking to advance at Microsoft.

A former employee whom I’ll call Rodriguez said of the HR review process: “Microsoft has become too ‘scorecard’ heavy and highly litigated to the point it kills an employee’s spirit of free thinking and creativity, since everything a person does is closely judged by management.” Among the former Microsofties I communicated with over the last couple of months, Rodriguez was the harshest critic of Microsoft’s review process, which he observed is going on right now; fiscal year ends on June 30 and reviews occur midway.

Several former and existing employees tried to explain Microsoft’s seemingly complicated review and compensation process. People are hired at a certain level and can advance up levels, which have corresponding salary ranges. During reviews process, employees are graded with such designations as ‘exceed,’ ‘achieved’ and ‘underperformed’ commitment ratings. These are based on numerous criteria, which include management assessment of performance and achieving goals set during the previous review process. Other criteria include “contribution rankings.” Problem: These criteria sometimes work cross-purposes to performance. Fred explained:

Processes became more bureaucratic and individuals were less empowered to take action.  In fact, oftentimes the incentive structure encouraged individual contributors not to do the right thing, but just to do what they committed to in their review the year prior. In other words, if you committed to include Feature A in Windows, and halfway through the year you realized that was a bad thing for Windows and Microsoft customers, the incentive structure actively discouraged you from trying to kill the feature, because then you wouldn’t have achieved your commitments.

Barry also made similar complaints about the “decentives” to doing a good job. “The metrics are too complex,” he said. “We were evaluated also on a client’s satisfaction with our work.” The client could range from a reporter for Microsofties working in PR to developers for employees doing product development or for anyone to other groups within Microsoft.

Several current and former employees wanting to do better or escape from stifling management situations would request transfers. However, many managers wanted to keep their staff in part “because it would reflect badly on them,” Barry said.

“I was put in ‘performance detention’ due to wanting to expand to another part of the company and ended up in the ‘crapper’ list,” said another former employee, whom I’ll call Mickey”. ~ Joe Wilcox, Beta News, “Why Former Employees Say Microsoft Can’t Innovate”

I and many others have already blogged and written about the Gates’ control over public education reform.  The policies of our US Department of Education are controlled almost entirely by Melinda and Bill Gates.  In fact, Fareed Zakaria on CNN’s “Fixing Education” recently introduced Gates as being “more powerful” than Secretary Arne Duncan of the Department of Education.

Philanthropy vs. Billanthropy:

First and foremost, the Gates Foundation promote themselves as philanthropists.  By the Webster definition, I would highly disagree and redefine  the correct term that describes Melinda and Bill Gates as “Billanthropists”, a term coined on a title of the Economist below.

Webster’s Dictionary definition of Philanthropy: “1: goodwill to fellow members of the human race; especially: active effort to promote human welfare; 2: a: an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes b: an organization distributing or supported by funds set aside for humanitarian purposes.”

 A friend and I collaborated to write/edit a definition of Billanthropy:  1. Feigning goodwill, generosity and altruism in an effort to consolidate power and control; using propaganda and financial ‘incentives’ (grants, scholarships, gifts) to trick society into accepting changes in legislation and policies that promote the selfish interests and agendas of the elite billanthropists; influencing and controlling policy and legislative initiatives and attaching mechanisms to ensure profit and power for the elite. b. an organization that pretends an interest in the public good and uses indoctrination and brainwashing to encourage others to donate money.  The funds are then used to promote their own agendas, to make profits and create tax havens.   This process also creates a closed loop, whereby the elites maintain power and control over all institutions within the social-political-economic structure, locally and globally.  [see 1, term used to describe the behavior of Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation as well as many other US Billanthropists.]

Clearly, by the record of recent events, the Gates have invested in A.L.E.C. to control Ed Reform , controlling legislation. This has led to changes in laws surrounding philanthropy, allowing them to both control legislation, government, and education policy while profiting from the many arenas they claim to be ‘giving’ to, while in the meantime they also provide themselves with a fat-cat tax haven.

One of the main ways the Gates can no longer correctly use the term “philanthropy ” is because of recent legislation called PRI’s or Program Related Investments. PRI’s  [A PRI, broadly defined, is a foundation investment to support a charitable project or activity involving the potential return of capital within an established time frame., see NHI in link for more.] By legislating PRI’s for profit, the Gates have all but eliminated their claim to fame when it comes to being philanthropists and now fall into what urban dictionary may define as Billanthropy.

But what do the Gates have to do with the working conditions of public school teachers, you ask?  It all boils down to controlling the US Government and if you don’t believe me, follow the money.

How are the Gates involved in poor working conditions for teachers in public schools, you might ask?

It all started when Gates started the path to kill public schools by first demonizing and deprofessionalizing the teachers.

Here, Diane Ravitch schooled Bill Gates and talks about his demonization of public school teachers  in a response printed in the Washington Post by Valerie Strauss.

Gates:Is she [Ravitch] sticking up for decline?”

Ravitch: “Of course not! If we follow Bill Gates’ demand to judge teachers by test scores, we will see stagnation, and he will blame it on teachers. We will see stagnation because a relentless focus on test scores in reading and math will inevitably narrow the curriculum only to what is tested. This is not good education. “Last week, he said in a speech that teachers should not be paid more for experience and graduate degrees. I wonder why a man of his vast wealth spends so much time trying to figure out how to cut teachers’ pay. Does he truly believe that our nation’s schools will get better if we have teachers with less education and less experience? Who does he listen to? He needs to get himself a smarter set of advisers. “Of course, we need to make teaching a profession that attracts and retains wonderful teachers, but the current anti-teacher rhetoric emanating from him and his confreres demonizes and demoralizes even the best teachers. I have gotten letters from many teachers who tell me that they have had it, they have never felt such disrespect; and I have also met young people who tell me that the current poisonous atmosphere has persuaded them not to become teachers. Why doesn’t he make speeches thanking the people who work so hard day after day, educating our nation’s children, often in difficult working conditions, most of whom earn less than he pays his secretaries at Microsoft?”Diane Ravitch, Ravitch Answers Gates by Valerie Strauss, Washington Post

 

The crime is not Mary Thorson’s own suicide, but that of the Gates’ and all those complicit in intimidating her, and the entire public school system.  Mary is not alone in this feeling of intimidation and this will not be the last suicide caused by Melinda and Bill Gates.

But what about the working conditions for Mary Thorson? 

How could Melinda and Bill Gates possibly have influenced her choice to commit suicide? 

The real cause lies in taking away so much control over people through bullying.  This stripping of power instills fear and loss of self-respect.  Students, teachers, families, and all working class people need a sense of liberty — a sense of control over their own lives.  Just like Neil Perry in The Dead Poets Society, Bill and Melinda Gates take over our lives, telling us exactly how we must teach, how and when we have to test, and the high stakes attached blame us for ‘failures’, humiliating all of us publicly.

These draconian teaching methods were not settling well with Mary Thorson as she watched her students in high poverty respond.  These draconian teaching methods aren’t settling well with many teachers.  Draconian teaching conditions lead to horrible working conditions.  Horrible working conditions lead to horrible learning conditions for our neediest students, especially and Mary Thorson just couldn’t keep forcing these on her students.

In Mary and the people in China’s Foxconn factory, we see the results of such oppression.

Instead of helping Cottage Grove address the issues of poverty, the Chicago school system, highly influenced by Bill and Melinda Gates education policies, intimidated its teachers.  Through the nation’s policies of No Child Left Behind –  Cottage Grove was forced to become a SIG turnaround school [2010], labeling it forever as a failure and holding it up for public humiliation rather than helping it.  School Improvement Grants [SIG] are only offered to schools AFTER they are designated as “failures”.  Why can’t we give schools and children what they need WHEN they need it?  Before they fail?  Why don’t we honor true innovation and creativity like they do with such success in Finland?

The sticks of public humiliation used by Gates to brutalize Mary Thorson who gave so much to her students in poverty proved to be too much for her.

How many more teachers, students, workers do we have to lose before we stop the Gates from this bullying behavior?

Without the pressure of lobbying and earmark dollars, without the controls placed on both the Bush and Obama administrations by Melinda and Bill Gates — it is quite likely that the education reform policies would die away in their own suicidal death spiral.

But with the Gates funding used as the ultimate carrot and stick, they are truly driving the despair that Mary and millions of other teachers across America are feeling.   Students are suffering much of this despair as well. Most of this despair is due to bullying, starting at the top of our corporations, through government, down through districts, and into our schools.  Mental health experts can tell you about these direct cause and effect correlations.

Here in her article entitled, “Illinois teacher Commits Suicide Citing Working Conditions”  by Kristina Betinis, we find the very similar story line to the workers from Microsoft’s Foxconn in China – a story of being pushed and bullied by Melinda and Bill Gates to the point where life itself is not worth living – where the person feels their own life is NOT valued by the Gates at all, by their unions, districts, or schools –  much less equally.

This kind of Gates pressure -cooker of bullying teachers is taking over the country, as was written about here:

“At a December district school board meeting, it became clear Thorson was not alone in feeling threatened by the school administration. Teachers admitted that they are intimidated by school officials, afraid for their jobs and dare not speak openly about the conditions they face. More than one teacher spoke about being harassed for taking sick days. Another teacher noted the irony of having an anti-bullying campaign in the school while the teachers are being bullied.

At the meeting, school administrators pushed back, blaming teachers for not speaking up or citing specifics. School board President Joe Sherman said, “If you guys would have come and brought allegations and we didn’t address it, then you would have every right to say what you need to say.”

Intimidation is a tactic in a nationwide strategy to de-professionalize teaching, as a precondition for the dismantling of public education and the selling off or leasing of its related assets. The so-called educational reforms, begun under the Bush administration and expanded by President Obama, have largely been couched in the highly confrontational language of “accountability,” which implies that teachers are overpaid and undeserving of professional status. This has accompanied a frontal assault on the workplace gains teachers struggled to win throughout the 20th century.

The state of Illinois has led the implementation of these “reforms”, subjecting schools to extremely aggressive measures, including mass firings which force teachers and staff to re-apply for their jobs, buyouts, capricious and punitive academic testing measures, and regular school closures and consolidations, which force students to make their way to schools in other areas. These policies have inflamed the crisis in public schools and the communities they serve, contributing to higher drop-out rates, violence, overcrowding, and burn-out among teachers.

School boards routinely provide cash incentives to administrators to implement these changes on a school-by-school basis, extracting concessions from teachers in violation of their teaching contracts. Ratings and disciplinary measures are regularly used to meet pre-determined numbers of layoffs which administrators are required to carry out over a school year. Outspoken teachers identified by administrators as “troublesome,” and the better-compensated veteran teachers are typically targeted.

In the Chicago Public Schools system, recent “reforms” have included longer school days, where teachers and other staff are not compensated for an additional seven hours per week, and many have reported being threatened and intimidated by school administrators into voting in favor of the extended hours.

As these reactionary policies devastate schools, students and teachers, the state and local budget crises have intensified the negative impact of lower wages and fewer school resources.

It is deeply tragic that the miserable conditions in public schools could result in the suicide of a dedicated young teacher, but once the ruthless policies of the ruling class are seen in full light, such tragedies are all but inevitable. Last October, a longtime Los Angeles-area teacher took his own life after being labeled a “less effective teacher” by the Los Angeles Times. (See “Teacher ranked ‘less effective’ by the Los Angeles Times takes his own life”)

Mary Thorson’s parents have made a special effort to communicate their daughter’s intentions. Her mother said that the young teacher’s suicide was directly related to the pressures at Cottage Grove Upper Grade Center, emphasizing that Mary had no prior mental health issues and was never in a combat situation in the Army Reserve. Thorson’s father said, “Is the school responsible? Yes, the school is responsible.”

Is the school responsible?  Yes, the school is responsible. 

But by their actions – Melinda and Bill Gates have made themselves ‘the school’.  And they are responsible.   For by placing themselves into this position of power over our public schools – by their propaganda winning over the indoctrinated minds of the public to demonize and intimidate our nation’s children, parents, teachers, and schools until they have become even more powerful than our own Department of Education – now, Melinda and Bill Gates ARE the school and yes, they are responsible.

I grieve for the Thorson family, for Mary’s students and coworkers, and for all the family members/coworkers in China who cared deeply about the 16 workers who committed suicide there.  I know a nation of teachers grieves for the Thorson’s and as a nation of 99% working class people, America grieves with China as well.  Once we get past the most painful part of this grief, I believe something will shift.

Like in The Dead Poets Society, there is a tale of redemption. 

I believe that when enough people begin to feel their cold numbed feet of truth wake up, that indeed these lives in China and Illinois will serve a much higher purpose.

What happens under the pressure placed on us?  Do we conform to Bill and Melinda Gates’ standards?  Or do we walk to the beat of our own drummer with courage?

“I stand up here because I remind myself that I must always look at the world in a different way.”

~  John Keating, The Dead Poets Society

We as a nation need to follow the example of the teacher and students in The Dead Poets Society –  we need to stand up on our desks and dare to be our highest selves, dare to look at the world of working class people differently, dare to look at teaching and learning differently, dare to look at children of poverty differently, dare to defy the Gates dynasty and dare to defy the remainder of the Corporate EdDeFormers.  The time is now, before there are any more tragic deaths like Mary Thorson’s!

John Keating: “Boys, you must strive to find your own voice. Because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all. Thoreau said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation.” Don’t be resigned to that. Break out!” ~ The Dead Poets Society, IMDb quotes

Carpe’ Diem, my friends!  Seize the day and reclaim our public schools back from these tyrants! 

Neil Perry’s father, wants to control his life, his destiny,  his future – like Gates wants to control ours.  These aspects of our lives do not belong to Gates or any other man or woman just because they are wealthy.  We must not give this up to anyone.  This much I know, our lives and our schools are worth taking back from the bullies.  Like the narrowed curriculum and bubble tests of the Gates edreform, the bullying and controlling — they leave out the poetry, the marrow of our own lives.

John Keating: “We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer.

That you are here –

that life exists, and identity;

that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.

That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse.

What will your verse be?”