Tag Archives: Bill Gates

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is the train unstoppable?  

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

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

These are serious questions that someone needs to answer.

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

Krashen wrote:  

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

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

Stephen Krashen:

Do Those Who Like the Common Core Know the Facts?   

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

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

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

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

“Last week we asked:

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

The results were as follows:

A – 3%
B – 3%
C – 6%
D – 16 %
F – 72%

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

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

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

Completely support 17.29%  

Somewhat support 12.62%  

Neither support nor oppose 3.97%  

Somewhat oppose 12.38%  

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

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

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

 Stephen Krashen says:

07/08/2012 at 12:57 am

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Oh, wait.  There’s more from Krashen.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

We don’t need Common Core Standards.  

Our schools are not broken.  

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

Our schools are not broken.  

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

Our schools are not broken.  

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

Our schools are not broken. 

It’s not too late.  

Stop Common Core.

Stop the poverty train. 

Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction.

I agree with Stephen Krashen.  

Schools are not broken.  

Society is broken.  

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

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

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

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

Why?

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

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

Mad World… getting madder every day…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

How did the madness begin?  

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

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

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

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

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

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

Senator Kress is feathering his nest via lobbying money.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who is responsible for this?

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

Or this..?

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

Or this..?

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

How about this Commissioner?

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

Here is a good one..

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

Still more mistakes.. who’s fault?

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

Let’s make it easy for you..

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive Summary

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

The US Department of Education also recently announced plans for:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The maddening test landscape may be changing before our eyes.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exactly what it is going to take. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After all…

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


Behind the Manor of Gate’s Farm: “Charter Schools Good, Public Schools Bad”

If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” ~ George Orwell

Today, like so many other authors are trying to do, I am exercising my liberty to tell America’s people what they don’t seem to want to hear.

I am telling all of you that YOU are being led by the nose, by none other than “Pig Brother” like sheep to the slaughter in a Charter School Movement that is successfully throwing America’s Constitution out the window.

” Political language. . . is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind .” ~ George Orwell

Our own House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 2218, which will mandate the implementation of  Charter Schools in EVERY state, ignoring our own Constitutional Amendments and laws that have been governing equality and civil rights for years.

The promoters of this bill and the privatization of America’s public schools are using the tried and true tactics of lies and propaganda, much like Orwell’s  Animal Farm (1945).

Bill Gates is using these bankrolled ‘education advocates” to get the public behind his evil plan to monopolize education.

“To the world we all know, which may or may not be the best world possible, once again, springtime had come.

But all the magic of spring was not enough to conceal the misery of Manor Farm.

Once thriving and fruitful, the farm and its’ owner,  Mr. Jones had fallen on evil days.” ~  Animal Farm, (1954)

Behind the Manor of Gate’s Farms:

Where All Animals Are Equal, But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

These ‘grassroots’ meetings are being hosted by League of Education Voters, bankrolled by Bill Gates, and offered with slick marketing to gather public support that is effectively stripping our children of the protections they need under Federal and State laws.

“Every Sunday, Snowball and Napoleon lead a meeting of all the animals in the big barn. The pigs are the most intelligent animals, so they think up resolutions for the other animals to debate.” ~ Animal Farm Summary by Grade Saver

“Soon after, the pigs set up a study-center for themselves in the harness-room. Snowball embarks on various campaigns for social and economic improvement. Napoleon opposes whatever Snowball does. Because most of the animals lack the intelligence to memorize the Seven Commandments, Snowball reduces them to the single maxim, “Four legs good, two legs bad.” The sheep take to chanting this at meetings.

As time goes by, the pigs increase their control over the animals and award themselves increasing privileges. They quell the animals’ questions and protests by threatening Mr. Jones’s return.

During this time, Napoleon also confiscates nine newborn puppies and secludes them in a loft in order to “educate” them.” ~ Animal Farm Summary by Grade Saver

“Charter Schools Good, Public  Schools Bad”

Bill Gates and these brain-washed groups take on the role of creating “Sheeple”  convincing them to give up their rights, to take away the rights of others, all to privatize and  promote the policies and increased privileges for upper-class -white-English-speaking-straight-mostly-Christian-American-born-school-age-children through Charter Schools.

In this post I will EXPOSE League of Education Voters, one of the so-called “Grassroots Education Advocacy Groups” who are propagandizing Charter Schools.

Here you will see the way of the Segregationists:

” The great enemy of clear language is insincerity.”George Orwell

These Charter Schools, and Bill Gate’s own words,  like the words of propaganda used in Orwell’s Animal Farm — are often preaching to us from on high, using the language of ‘choice’, ‘freedom’, and ‘civil rights’ as outlined in my own blog “The White Shadow:  Bill Gates, Charter Schools, and the Evil Twins”.

This re-segregation is repeated more and more across our country, harming the lives of so many of our children, our families, our teachers, and our public schools.

Here is League of Education Voters introductory paragraph of propaganda:

Charter schools are public schools funded by government dollars. They vary from traditional public schools because they are granted “charters” by authorizers and exempt from many of the federal, state, and local laws regulating traditional public schools. Charter schools first appeared in Minnesota in 1992. Today, there are nearly 5,000 charter schools1 operating in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico2

Creating new charter law
For charter schools to be permissible in Washington State, one of three options must be pursued: initiative to the Legislature, initiative to the people, or bill through the Legislature. Given the history of charters in Washington, a successful measure would most likely include a charter cap, focus on academically disadvantaged students, and allow teachers to join the local teachers union.” ~ League of Education Voters

Charter Schools in Louisiana, New York, Chicago, and many other cities/states across America are not held by the same standards being MANDATED by our Federal and State governments.  Through tax payer dollars they are padding their own pockets while they set up their own RULES, much like the animals did in “Animal Farm“.

Here are “Gate’s 5 Rules of Charter Schools Good, Public Schools Bad” established in many of the US Charter Schools across America that are being treated as if they are  not ‘governed’ by the rule of our own US  Constitution and state constitutions, as well as Brown vs The Board of Education [ironic as it was also established in 1954], Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, American Disability Act, Title I, and more laws that govern all PUBLIC schools.

“Gate’s 5 Rules of Charter Schools Good, Public Schools Bad”

[Simplified to show the harshness of exclusion by the process of “Selection” – in my humble opinion, a dangerous form of Eugenics]

Rule #1:  Exclusion by RACE:

Common Dreams author Jim Horn wrote recently in his essay:  “Charter Schools:  What Would Dr. King Say?”

For the charter industry to accuse those who advocate for economic and racial diversity in schools of “racial gerrymandering” is a prime example of the iron pot calling the copper kettle black.  The conscious creation of cheap, segregated containment charters for minorities in the northern cities and privileged white flight charter academies in the South and West is not the work of socioeconomic integrationists or the Civil Rights Project.  It is the work of self-labeled bold reformers and disruptors of the “status quo,” whose engrossment in “market solutions” and bringing “efficiency to scale” has left them no less blind to the effects of their amoral enthusiasms than the well-meaning eugenicists who came onto the stage a hundred years ago during another Gilded Age.”

In “Understanding the “New” Racism through the Urban Charter School” by by Hatt-Echeverria, Beth, Jo, Ji-Yeon, these authors write:

“The purpose of this paper is to deconstruct the new racist discourse within an urban charter school. We especially want to focus upon how the new racist discourse as according above to Giroux (1999) relieves Whites, “of any semblance of social responsibility and commitment.” As multiculturalism and political correctness are being taught and encouraged in our society to work against inequality, they are simultaneously being used by some Whites, particularly the middle and upper classes, to separate themselves from the “bad” Whites, whom are largely framed as the working-class and poor. As a result, a White liberal rhetoric has been developed that talks about “diversity” and “democracy” but does not address power and current racial inequities. Consequently, racism becomes defined as an individual act rather than being attributed to institutional policies and structural issues of privilege in our society. Whites who adopt a pseudo-liberal rhetoric of promoting diversity without pushing for the change of institutional or structural issues then define themselves as “innocent” and absolved of their participation in reproducing racial inequities. For example, often racist attitudes and behaviors get attributed to ignorance, which implies that the people did not really know any better. On the contrary, Whites do know about racism in society and are often choosing carelessly to reproduce it rather than work against it (Groves, 2002; Otto, 2002).

By claiming ignorance and/or innocence, White ways of being in the world, values, and beliefs are left unquestioned and without critique.”

Rule #2, Exclusion by Class:

In an excerpt from Part I of  The Piton Study, I have taken information from the introduction:

“Editor’s note: The study excerpted in this issue of The Term Paper was written by Chungmei Lee, a researcher with the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University.

Denver Public Schools have resegregated dramatically by race and socio-economic status since court-ordered busing ended a decade ago, according to a new study commissioned by The Piton Foundation.

The adverse impacts of segregation will continue disproportionately affecting Denver’s low-income, minority students, unless creative measures are taken to foster more integrated schools for all students, the study concludes.

The issue is an important one, the study argues, because schools filled with students of color are almost always high-poverty schools. And a large body of research clearly shows that low-income students perform significantly better in schools that have a mixed-income population.”

In addition, re-segregation by socio-economic status has proven to have detrimental effects on student learning.  Richard Kalenberg reviews James E. Ryan’s book  “Five Miles Away, A World Apart: One City, Two Schools, and the Story of Educational Opportunity in Modern America” in “The Nixon-Obama Compromise”:

“But the various solutions to improve high poverty schools—more money, charter schools, and federal accountability measures—have not worked. Some liberals, frustrated with integration, argued that “we should concentrate on desegregating the money,” as Derrick Bell put it. Yet as Ryan notes, “most city schools spend above the state average” without showing great results. Indeed, a recent Century Foundation study of public schools in Montgomery County, Maryland found that low-income students in low-poverty neighborhoods who attended low-poverty schools significantly outperformed similar students who attended higher-poverty schools, even though those schools spent considerably more on class size, professional development for teachers, and extended learning time.

Ryan concludes: “The truth is that separating the poor and politically powerless in their own schools and districts is antithetical to the idea of equal educational opportunity.”

Napoléon: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

Jessie: But they’re my babies.
Squealer: If you were thinking clearly, then you would be pleased of the special education that we’re going to give them. You surely don’t want to disadvantage your own puppies. Do you?
Jessie: No. I don’t.
Squealer: Good, well off you go then. ~ Animal Farm, IMDB

Rule #3: Exclusion by Ability:

Bob Sikes, author of a blog “Scathing Purple Musings”recently exposes Florida Governor Rick Scott’s attempt to segregate by propaganda using corrupt scholarships provided by a company called in his blog post titled “With Fraud Already Present, Was A.L.E.C. Involved in Expanding McKay Scholarships to Florida’s Special Needs Kids?”

Sikes tells us a story of corruption based on students who would remain covered by IDEA in public schools, but are being duped by the offer of scholarships in Florida:

“I don’t often use letters to the editor in a blog post, but Loudon, Tennessee’s Joy Pachucki writes something that may be important to Florida families. The expansion of McKay scholarships by Rick Scott and the state’s republican legislators to include any child with an IEP is in its first year. Pachucki writes to the Knoxville News:

Parents of kids in special education beware: Special education is under attack by the GOP across the nation via the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — a powerful coalition of corporations and right-wing legislators, and viewable on the web site ALEC Exposed.

ALEC has worked out plans to trick families into giving up their federally protected educational benefits in exchange for cheap vouchers that can be used in unregulated, fly-by-night academies.

The best example of this is Florida’s (Jeb Bush) McKay special education scholarship fund, and the best proposed bill is AB110 in Wisconsin.

How does the scam work? “It is predicated on trading on parents’ legitimate frustrations for what their kids are not receiving and then sprinkle magic fairy dust by saying, ‘Here, we’ll give you a voucher and all your frustrations will go away,’” says Jeff Spitzer-Resnick, attorney for Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW).

What most parents don’t understand is that disabled students who take advantage of special education vouchers forfeit their rights under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). That is, they no longer have a right to a “free, appropriate public education” or the specific services that come along with that.

Additionally, they give up their chance to get school districts to cover the costs of private education, if the local public schools can’t meet their needs. Embedded in IDEA is the ability to either voluntarily or legally force school districts to pay for private schools.

Even if parents don’t believe vouchers siphon off public funds, there is the very strong motivation for running cheap schools for the disabled: test scores that are required by No Child Left Behind.

Unfortunately, some parents begrudge special-needs kids for “sabotaging” their schools’ test scores, as well as for extra therapy and tutoring. It is hard for me to imagine a worse public policy than what ALEC and Republican state legislators are trying to do to mentally and physically disabled children across America with the vouchers. ~ Joy Pachucki, Loudon

An August editorial from the Orlando Sun-Sentinel called on Florida’s republican legislators to reveal their alignment with the American Legislative Council. The Koch brothers funded organization known by the acronym ALEC, was involved in writing anti-union bills in Florida and elsewhere. Loudon seems to feel that ALEC may have been involved in extending McKay similarly.

Parents are being sold a bill of goods. They get hoodwinked into believing that a scholarship/voucher to a privately run school is often a better solution for their special needs child. When they arrive, they often find out that the services that are required under IDEA aren’t provided at the school they have enrolled their child.  A June Miami New Times investigative story detailed significant fraud already existed in McKay scholarships. Yet Scott, the republican-dominated legislature and apparently, ALEC sought to expand McKay despite the potential for special needs kids to be irreparably harmed.”

In Louisiana, where Milton Friedman reveled in the aftermath of his parasitic profits blown in by hurricane Katrina, his new paradigm of private Charter Schools lock out students with special needs and students who do not pass a test, as written about here, “Our Gated Schools: New Orleans is the only city in the nation where neighborhood children do not have a right to attend any of their open-enrollment neighborhood schools” by Raynard Sanders, Ed.D.:

What is so unfortunate for the children and parents is that the charter school model was sold to them as an inclusive entity, when in reality it is an exclusive entity that selects students just like magnet schools or any other private selective admission school. As a result of the BESE board decision, charter schools have become “Gated Public Schools” for thousands of children.

It is also unfortunate that individual donors, the philanthropic community, and foreign countries have given millions of dollars to improve the educational environment of the students with the greatest needs. Instead of following their wishes and living up to that noble commitment, our educational leaders have re-established a “Separate and Unequal” school district. But this time segregation is based on academic ability, not race: yet it is just as damaging to the students caught in “unequal” side of the equation.”

Rule #4:  Exclusion by Religion:

Some legal suits against the use of vouchers for religious Charter Schools are beginning to take root and bear fruit, but shouldn’t this become a national suit as these vouchers clearly appear to violate the 1st Amendment of the US Constitution?

While I make the rule “Christians Only Allowed” to make my point of our country’s majority religion, Christianity is not the only religion jumping on the voucher system band wagon!

Washington Posts’ author Susan Jacoby writes in her “Many charter schools continue to defy church-state separation “:

More than 1.5 million American children now attend charter schools, thanks to a movement asserting that whatever is wrong with American public education can be fixed by what amounts to a semiprivate–publicly funded but privately managed–school enclave within the larger system. Many representatives of both the cultural right and left have signed on to this Charter of Wishful Thinking, which continues to be seen as a panacea for the ills of public schools even though the most comprehensive evaluation of charter schools, by Stanford University’s Center for Education Outcomes, reveals “in unmistakeable terms that, in the aggregate, charter students are not faring as well” in terms of academic performance as students in comparable public schools. Even worse, and equally unmistakable, is the fact that charter school promoters with specific religious and cultural agendas around the country are using every possible means to skirt the First Amendment and obtain public support for private aims….”

A continuing problem–one most evident in schools with strong ties to religion–is the use of charter school funds by unscrupulous founders to provide jobs for relatives and church members. In Texas, which continues to authorize new religious-connected charters, there have been numerous scandals of this nature. In Houston, the Rev. Harold Wilcox was indicted six years ago for embezzling both state and federal funds at a school that held classes in a Baptist church sanctuary. Wilcox paid himself $210,000 annuallly to run the school. Ten years ago, the state investigated Dallas’s Rylie Faith Family Academy and found dozens of family and church members on the payroll. The school supposedly cleaned up its act, and Rylie Faith still operates two charter schools. One can only imagine the bellows of rage from the religious right, which considers teachers’ unions a stand-in for Satan, if similar nepotism was discovered in a public school

It is truly deplorable that both conservative and liberal politicans, from the White House to the state houses, continue to hop aboard the charter school bandwagon without regard for the daily assaults on the separation of church and state–and the concept of civic unity–that these schools represent. Forget about E pluribus unum. That’s so eighteenth century.”

Rule #5: Exclusion by Sexual Orientation:

Due to the lack of regulation of the so called “Public” Charter Schools which are REALLY PRIVATE schools funded by America’s public tax payers, there is a grave concern about the allowance of prejudice towards the LGBT students.

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute completed a study of ISSUES AFFECTING LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, AND TRANSGENDER YOUTH by Jason Cianciotto and Sean Cahill and in it they conclude:

“The school choice movement is likely to continue to be a presence in the debate on improving public education in the U.S. Ideally, all youth, gay and straight, would be able to receive a first-rate education by attending a public school that is free of any type of violence and harassment. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to ask today’s youth to bear the entire burden of creating the public schools of tomorrow by not acknowledging that
some of today’s public schools are substandard, unsafe, and educationally unsound. For LGBT youth experiencing harassment, progressive charter schools with explicit values
of acceptance may provide a much-needed alternative to their public schools. Charter schools might also provide an opportunity to replicate successful LGBT-supportive
schools like New York City’s Harvey Milk High School. But the decentralized nature of charter school governance leaves them particularly susceptible to homophobic policies.
Given the increasing popularity of the charter school movement, it is important to advocate for the inclusion of LGBT-friendly curricula and policies at all such schools.
Administrators of charter or private schools may simply be unwilling to implement safe schools initiatives that promote tolerance, creating hostile environments for LGBT youth and the children of LGBT families. Even in states with nondiscrimination laws protecting LGBT people, such legislation often exempts private or religious institutions. (372)

Because of these serious limitations, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) warns of the negative impact that school voucher and other privatization programs can have on LGBT youth:
Public money should be spent on improving the nation’s public schools rather than diverted to private institutions that may not be accountable to local educational policies and may not provide equal access or treatment for all students. (373)”

Rule #5:  Exclusion by Language:

In Choice without Equity- Civil Rights Project by Erica Frankenberg, Genevieve Siegal-Hawley, and Jia Wang write:

“In a nation where one-fifth of all children are born into homes where the parents don’t speak English (the vast majority Spanish-speaking), and a tenth of all students are classified as English language learners (ELL) students, basic equity as well as federal civil rights law requires that charter schools welcome and provide needed educational services for this large group of students. There is a shocking lack of basic data on enrollment of ELL students in charter schools, even in the state with by far the largest ELL population, California. Where data is available, it appears that ELL students are seriously underrepresented.  If that is true, it is essential to examine whether or not charters are fulfilling their legal and educational obligations to this very important group of students who experience extremely high dropout rates. The government should act immediately to require this data at the school level from all charter schools, and should investigate evidence of the causes of severe under-representation.”

Clearly our civil rights are being violated daily by the implementation of Charter Schools. 

Clearly the US Constitution and Education Acts have been  taken over by the “Gate’s 5 Rules of Charter Schools Good, Public Schools Bad” .

My questions then become:

  1. On what grounds are our own legislators allowed to throw out the laws of equity under our own Constitution and Education Acts? 
  2. Why haven’t the NAACP, ACLU, and Southern Poverty Law brought suit against the Federal Government and all 50 states who are clearly breaking these laws of our land?
  3. Why don’t we dump Bill Gates like NYC dumped Rupert Murdoch before it is too late?

And finally: Will you stand up for civil rights for ALL children in America? 

Or will you let these Orwellian Corporate Philanthro-PIRATES and our own legislators, our own President, and our own Supreme Courts get by with breaking the law?

Where is the public outrage, the Federal and State lawsuits, and why aren’t union leaders taking on “Pig Brother” in a general strike for the civil rights issue of our era?


The White Shadow: Bill Gates, Charter Schools, & The Evil Twins

Alfred Hitchcock "The White Shadow"

Someone commented about the graphic nature of the photos in my last blog post where I draw an analogy from Bill Gates/Pearson’s Common Core Curriculum to “The Blob”.

This blog is being written about  a serious topic in very dark times.  “The Blob” was a B-Movie cult classic that was considered by the masses to be far from reality.

However, our true situation with our public schools is a very graphic tale of public education  where the truth has become stranger than fiction.

I warn you in advance, some of the scenes in this dark tale relating to Alfred Hitchcock’s life of mystery may be considered graphic.

Today,  in these dark times,  I present to you  — a dark mystery worthy of Alfred Hitchcock:

Recently,  a  discovery was made, a discovery of a silent film crediting Alfred Hitchcock as playing a heavy hand in its creation called:  “The White Shadow”.

Sometimes it is "The White Shadow" of racism, colored with the lies of angelic language that we must fear most.

The Film Archive  and Lucy Cramer with “The Scene” described the film as a “wild, atmospheric” melodrama starring Betty Compson in a dual role as twin sisters, one angelic and one soulless.

Dual Roles Where Lines Become Blurred to Viewers

Our public schools are under attack in a way that may end much like one of Hitchcock’s films.

This is a tale of one character in this play, Bill Gates.   Here we will explore how to expose his duality as  I see it:

Bill Gates, like Betty Compson,  seems to play two roles

that could not be more opposite in nature.

Bill Gates starring in the role as:

Gates Black Shadow

The Angelic Philanthropist.

and

Bill Gates starring in the role as:

Bill Gates as "The White Shadow" - his alter ego Evil Twin Casting Re-Segregation on America's Public Schools

The Evil Fascist and Soulless Segregationist.

It was not too long ago when American public schools were segregated, discussed here by a student on Thinkquest.  

“During Kennedy’s Inaugural address on January 20, 1961, he said, “All this will not be finished in the first hundred days. Nor will it be finished in the first thousand days, nor in the lifetime of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.” The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a start to helping blacks and whites to be treated as equals.”

Unfortunately, I lived through this dually horrible and hopeful period in time, yet I can tell you; we are now living in a time far more segregated than post-Reconstruction after the Civil War.

Our White-Shadow racist culture was  reflected in the movies of our times. Here you can see Tippi Hedren and the mono-culture of the pre-1964 segregation in Hitchcock’s “The Birds”.

Teachers and School Children, Public Schools Under Attack

While Bill Gates boasts of programs he is bankrolling that promote civil rights and equity; I am writing this blog to expose him  and the imposters.

He is an actor posing as Philanthropist, joining with other Philanthropists and ‘advocacy groups where they are truly acting as a murder of crows, attacking public school children, attacking civil rights, and destroying all of our hard earned equities  from multiple angles.

Outnumbered by Unlimited Bankrolling and Corporate Controls of Government Ed Policies, High-Stakes Testing, Unfunded Mandates

A Murder of Crows Attack From All Angles

Some of the ways these Corporate De-Formers and our own government are demolishing our public schools is through unfunded mandates, which peck mercilessly at our public school children, families,  teachers, administrators, and schools.  These unfunded mandates create initiatives that narrow curriculum removing the arts, PE, music, recess, and vocational technical programs.  They create mandates of 2 hours of reading and 2 hours of math in many districts, leaving students with a horrible taste in their mouth about learning, hating school, and often dropping out.

Budget cuts, large class sizes, teacher lay-offs, increasing mandated high-stakes testing, Common Core scripted curriculum in a one-size-fits-all mechanized mentality;  have all taken their toll on our children and schools.

The attacks don’t stop there, however,  for with the narrowed curriculum forced upon us we are unable to teach civics, critical thinking, and problem solving that will help these children matriculate into fully active participants in our democracy.

The worst attacks  in our modern tale are racism, classicism,  ability-elitism, and religious prejudice.

Sometimes it is “The White Shadow” of racism, colored with the lies of angelic language that we must fear most.  It does not surprise me in the least that children, families, and teachers find themselves at odds with the system that oppresses them all.

As this re-segregation and Charter School Movement march relentlessly across America; children, families, and teachers often leave the public school system disheartened and contemptuous, looking for a more humane place to learn.

Note from Hitchcock's movie "The Ring" demonstrates how children, families, and teachers in public schools may be feeling. Justifiably so...

While these are criminal attacks that require legal action, I am slowly beginning  to see the NAACPACLU,  and Southern Poverty Law Center involved, but their involvement needs to be at a national level and include EVERY state in our union.

Up close and personal attacks on ALL public school children

One delivery system of  Re-Segregation is the Charter School Movement. Our own public is being duped as the De-Formers are using our own language wrapped in the false packaging of duality.

Bill Gates and these evil entities cloaked in their alter egos rob us of our own language of education and civil rights taking this stolen property and forming it into twisted evil twins, packaged like  soulless ghosts of their true higher selves.  Gates and his philanthro-cronys’  slick marketing of Charter Schools includes the following dual-language:

Choice = Private Corporate Controls

Equity = “Savage Inequalities”

Freedom = Freedom for Elites Only

Civil Rights = Exclusion based on Race, Religion, Class, Ability, Language, Sexual Preference, etc.

The  Charter School Movement was first led by the Corporatocracy, beginning post-Katrina by the Friedman Foundation as described by Naomi Klein in her introduction to her 2009 book “Shock Doctrine”.  Bill Gates [via his former employee James Shelton] and these foundations  also control Education Policies through the Office of Innovation and Improvement under the Department of Education,  creating  a stranglehold on America’s public schools.

Gates and our Corporatocracy Controlled Government have a stranglehold on America's Public Schools

Charter Schools, Vouchers, and the privatization of America’s public schools are creating the most immoral and  “SAVAGE INEQUALITIES” of modern time as described by Jonathan Kozol in his recent research on public schools.

What startled Kozol most was the remarkable degree of segregation he found nearly everywhere he went, and the fact that no public official, in any school district, questioned this. During Black History Month, dutiful references were sometimes made to “The Dream,” Martin Luther King’s vision of a nation in which black and white children went to school together, but the contents of the dream was “treated as a closed box that could not be opened without spoiling the celebration.” Only the students, themselves, seemed to recognize this.”

“We have a school…named for Dr. King,” said one 14 year-old girl, “The school is full of sewer water and the doors are locked with chains. Every student in that school is black. It’s like a terrible joke on history.”

Multiple Layers of Actions Take Center Stage on Many Stages, Making it Difficult to Fight Back Giving Vertigo to Those Trying to Protect Civil Rights/Public Schools

America’s public schools are being pushed down a spiral staircase of this  melodrama, which is being played out on several stages in America.  These stages include:

  1. The foundation websites,  such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations which co-opt our language.
  2. The faux grassroots organizations that attract well-meaning public players by the droves to be bankrolled with unlimited funding.
  3. The public schools where corporate controlled education policies mandate high stakes testing designed to fail students, teachers, and schools — a standard mandated ONLY in our public schools.
  4. The Charter Schools that segregate our students through these ‘savage inequalities’.

    Strange Suggestions to Public Schools Through 100% Proficiency Requirements of NCLB and Teacher Evaluations Tied to Student Performance Through Race to the Top

One Disturbingly Strange Suggestion and  a

Case of Dual Polar Opposite Expectations:

Do you not find it odd that while our government continues to push high-stakes testing as policy number one at ALL public schools through NCLB and Race to the Top; our Charter Schools  are not required to the same?

This self-fulfilling prophecy of failure  is only part of the public school system, while our government has joined the Charter School Pushers, promoting Charter Schools which do not require high-stakes testing!

Through Race to the Top, public school teachers are asked to slip a noose of teacher evaluations tied to student test scores around their own necks.

With full knowledge of the death scene about to unfold public school teachers are asked to administer tests to students in poverty,  students who do not speak or comprehend English, and students who for other reasons do not perform well on standardized tests.

Once tested, these results will be used against these same teachers to fire them should their students not meet standard.

Charter School students and teachers are NOT held to these same standards.  What kind of dual standards is our government setting up and why, if not to fail public schools all along?   Maureen Downey thinks so in her article entitled: “No Child Left Behind:  A Conspiracy Against Public Education Too Few Called Out. “

Charter Schools and Vouchers Used as Weapons of Mass Destruction

All of these attacks prove that we are in all out war with the Privateers who are digging the graves of public education.

One of the most devastating weapons of mass destruction used in this modern time war on equity and civil rights, a war on the American Public School system, is the privatization movement otherwise known as Charter Schools and the Voucher System.

Diane Ravitch, former Assistant Secretary of Education under George W. Bush, has pivoted 180 degrees on her views about Charter Schools as the scenes across America that had promised the ‘innovation and improved’ results, turned evil before her eyes.

Charter Schools are breaking down the walls between church and state in every state they have succeeded in achieving their stranglehold.

Privatization and Charter Schools are Digging the Grave of the Separation Between Church and State

Stephen Goldstein takes Charter Schools to task using Diane Ravitch to support him in his recent post,

“Stop the Spread of Charter Schools!  They are a Scam!”

In her November 2010 critique of “Waiting for Superman,” the much-touted David Guggenheim film touting the virtues of charters, Ravitch rips (what she calls) his pro-charter propaganda:

Why did he not . . . inquire into the charter chains that are mired in unsavory real estate deals, or take his camera to the charters where most students are getting lower scores than those in the neighborhood public schools? Why did he not report on the charter principals who have been indicted for embezzlement, or the charters that blur the line between church and state? Why did he not look into the charter schools whose leaders are paid $300,000-$400,000 a year to oversee small numbers of schools and students?” ~ Stephen Goldstein

Charter Schools Have NOT Yet Taken Root in Washington State

Charter Schools have not taken root in Washington State as yet, but alongside the recent discovery of “The White Shadow” Hitchcock  film, Bill Gates begins bankrolling 3 ‘education advocacy’ front groups posing as ‘grassroots’ organizations, as noted by Linda Shaw in the Seattle Times:

  1. The League of Education Voters
  2. Stand for Children
  3. Partnership for Learning in Washington State

All three organizations are Charter School pushers, posing again as the angelic twins.  All three spout hyperbole about their agendas on equity, civil rights, choice, freedom, etc.

It is only a matter of time before the masses will likely be SPELLBOUND by their slick marketing tactics as we know The League of Education Voters is campaigning in homes across WA state as this blog is written.

Parents and So-Called "Education Advocates" are Held Spellbound by the Philanthro-PIRATE's Language and Packaging

The sad truth of the matter is: Parents with good intentions are being duped and held SPELLBOUND as they buy into this marketing scheme of language packaging, getting duped while it takes time to ferret out the real evil twin’s intentions of re-segregation.

In the meanwhile, the grave for public education is being dug one shovel-full, one Charter School at a time.

The Grave for Public Schools is Being Dug One Shovel-full at a Time

Vouchers have become a way to force all taxpayers to pad the pockets of Privateers who start Charter Schools.  Yes, ALL of us are paying for Charter Schools as if we were buying tickets to a premiere film which we are subsequently not allowed to attend.

NO ONE Appointed Bill Gates as the CZAR of Education

Who gives Bill Gates these rights to control public education on such a grand scale?

NO ONE appointed Bill Gates as the CZAR of public education!  The Seattle Times reported on his bankrolling efforts and interviewed local Parents Across America supporter, Sue Peters and Save Seattle Schools blogger, Melissa Westbrook:

“Nobody elected Bill Gates to run our schools, and yet his money is driving so many policies and so many of these reforms,” said Sue Peters, a parent and co-founder of the local chapter of Parents Across America, which has about 50 members and tracks the foundation’s connections in this state.

Parents, she said, “are drowned out because we don’t have the dollars behind us.”

She and other critics also suspect the foundation is involved in more than meets the eye.

“It’s starting to look a lot like they’re controlling, like they’re a puppet master,” said Melissa Westbrook, an activist who writes for Save Seattle Schools blog. “It makes a lot of us very uneasy because we think there has to be more voices at the table.”

Hope for Public Schools

There are few signs of hope in this battle, but one education leader, Jim Horn writes about a recent win in Denver Schools where a judge rules against the Voucher system with just cause here on his blog,  “Schools Matter”:

“A Denver judge blocked Colorado’s first school voucher program Friday, calling the program to give parents in the state’s wealthiest county checks for tuition at religious schools a “substantial disservice to the public interest….
The voucher opponents argued the program violates the separation of church and state because it gives taxpayer money to parents for use at approved private schools, including some religious schools.

The judge noted that some of the schools authorized for Douglas vouchers require students to attend religious services. Martinez said the voucher program “violates both financial and religious provisions set forth in the Colorado constitution.” ~  Jim Horn [Note:  As author of Living Behind the Gates, I humbly apologize for an incorrect citation where I previously credited Dr. Stephen Karshen for authoring the above quote.   While Dr. Krashen frequently writes for Schools Matter blog, this piece was not his, but  rather Jim Horn’s.]

This is not the norm, however.  Charter Schools have ravaged Louisiana’s public school system since Katrina.  The statistics in this full article, “The Problem With New Orleans’s Charter Schools” by Brentin Mock are WELL worth the read.

At the Save Our Schools March in Washington, D.C. this summer an African American Charter School victim gave me his first hand account of his experience.  When he went to school his Charter School Principal told him, “Get home and don’t come back!  We already got the money for you!”

Some  legal action has been taken in Louisiana, this time to protect students who are segregated based on ability,  but despite this case; Louisiana’s children are still being held hostage by the Charter Schools.

“National media outlets have similarly gushed over New Orleans, some going so far as to suggest that Katrina saved the public-education systemin the city.

But is this supposed revolution really helping the most-disadvantaged students in New Orleans, those with special needs such as physical, behavioral, or mental disabilities? In July, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) filed a legal complaint against the Louisiana Department of Education alleging that schools have been turning away parents with disabled children and shirking their responsibilities to ensure that the special-needs students they do serve actually benefit from academic instruction. The complaint asserts that New Orleans schools are in violation of the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), particularly in terms of excessive punishment of children with emotional and behavioral problems.”

The mysteries of this melodrama are real and they couldn’t be darker in fiction as we struggle through these ‘savage inequities’ too long to list in one blog.

These questions remain:

  • Will Washington State judges hold back the floodgates of Charter Schools and Vouchers to save public schools?
  • Will the Save Our Schools organization and Parents Across America garner enough support to fight against the unlimited funds of Bill Gates and the pack of Privateers?
  • Will the people of Washington rise up against these egregious civil rights attacks?
  • Will the NAACP and the ACLU involve themselves on a national level to protect the rights of children across America’s public school landscape? 
  • Will the bloggers and social media authors do enough exposure of the dualities to stop these Privateers by educating the masses?
  • Will the White Shadow of Racism and the “Savage Inequalities”  finally be ended by public school teachers, parents, and student protests?

We’ll have to wait until the end of the movie  —  or — take control and write our own ending!


Gates & The Land of Oz: OII, NCLB, & RTTT

Guardian of the Emerald City Gates


Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: “Who rang that bell?”
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Tin Woodsman: [all four together] “We did!”
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: “Can’t you read?”
Scarecrow: “Read what?”
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: “The notice!”
Dorothy:  “What notice?”
Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: “It’s on the door – as plain as the nose on my face! It… oh… ”

Guardian of the Emerald City Gates: [gasps] “The Wizard? But nobody can see the Great Oz! Nobody’s ever seen the Great Oz! Even I’ve never seen him!”  [All Oz quotes, as taken from IMB, Favorite Quotes of the Wizard of Oz]

Based on the No Confidence Vote by NEA for the past two years awarded to Arne Duncan, you would think he was the man behind the curtain in the Land of Oz. This surreal classic tale is rife with reality in the Department of Education, and the Neo-Corporatocracy hostage government. Today I am writing to expose the REAL man behind the curtain of NCLB and  RTTT in the Land of Oz.

Duncan as "Wicked Witch of the West" and Dorothy as "Public Schools"

Duncan’s role suddenly switches to become the Wicked Witch.

Wicked Witch of the West:  “Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of spears! Thought you were pretty foxy, didn’t you? Well! The last to go will see the first three go before her! And your mangy little dog, too!”

Public Ed Caught in Storm of Century Between Forces of NCLB and RTTT

Public education is caught F5 storm of century, 2 fronts which have been building pressure like a  freight train crashing down on children and teachers,  NCLB and RTTT.  Who is behind the scenes of this storm?

I’ve found the data, that 4 letter word teachers across the land have all begun to hate…  the data that exposes the man behind the curtain of NCLB & RTTT…

Wizard of Oz: “Do not arouse the wrath of the great and powerful Oz. I said come back tomorrow.”

The evidence that backs up my dogmatic thinking came yesterday from a site called AllGov- Everything Our Government Really Does.

What is lurking behind the curtain of the Department of Education, NCLB, and RTTT

The Office of Innovation and Improvement   [OII]

Overview: “Located within the Department of Education, The Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII) manages various grant programs, ranging from charter schools to dropout prevention, and coordinates the public school choice and supplemental education services that are provided under the No Child Left Behind Act. In managing these grant programs and implementing new educational reforms, OII attempts to improve student achievement, increase parental awareness, and prepare the educational system, both technologically and instructionally, for more advanced learning.

What it does: The Office of Innovation and Improvement was created in order to help manage the spending of money created by the No Child Left Behind Act. In addition, the OII decides how to distribute the funds of its 28 grant programs (see below). When distributing these funds, their main goal is to improve student achievement, increase parental awareness, and keep the education system up to date. The OII is also responsible for administering earmarks, which are funds allocated by Congress to be spent on predetermined projects.

The Flying Monkeys of  Earmark Funds governed by OII:

  OII Grants and Initiatives

Who is lurking behind the curtain of OII, pulling the strings of  NCLB & RTTT?

“James H. Shelton III has served as assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement since April 2009, putting him in charge of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. In this position, he oversees the $650 million Investing in Innovation Fund. President Barack Obama pledged to prohibit government employees from doing business with former employers.

However, Shelton was granted a waiver to deal with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for which he worked for more than five years prior to joining the Obama administration.” – [All-Gov, DOE, OII]

Clearly, James H. Shelton, III worked under the Bush Administration to govern the funding for Bush’s schtick, NCLB, and through the waiver was a hand-me-down to then govern the funding of Obama’s carrot RTTT.

But Shelton is just one of the many Flying Monkeys, leaving Duncan to act as the Wicked Witch.

Based on Shelton’s 5 years at the Gates Foundation, we know who the real man behind the curtain is now.

Bill Gates is Behind the Curtain in the Land of NCLB and RTTT

Wizard of Oz: [speaking in a booming voice into microphone]

“I am the great and powerful… ”
[then, realizing that it is useless to continue his masquerade, moves away from microphone, speaks in a normal voice]

Bill Gates  is exposed as the man behind the curtain who pulls all the strings for NCLB & RTTT.

Gates, Duncan, and the Flying Monkeys Hold Public Ed Hostage

The Great and Powerful Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West, and the Flying Monkeys are still alive, all of them covering the skies of every state in a Murder of Flying Monkeys, snatching up the PUBLIC, locking them up behind the Gates of the Emerald City,  forever to be kept  out of public education. Truth is stranger than fiction!

Gates, Duncan, and the Flying Monkeys Hold PUBLIC ED Hostage


Welcome to Living Behind the Gates

On the surface, The Bill and Linda Gates Foundation appears to be one of the most philanthropic global-reaching foundations in world history.  On the surface, this foundation donates millions of dollars to public education, vaccination programs, and Planned Parenthood programs, just to name a few.  On the surface, Gates Foundation donations appear to be benign, generous, all-inclusive, heart-warming, and deserving of global gratitude. 

This perception of the true agenda of the Gates Foundation could not be further from the TRUTH, which is why I am beginning to write Living Behind the Gates.  Here,  I will share information about the TRUTH behind the Gates Foundation.  Living in Bill and Linda Gates  back yard has given me a unique view as we are often used as a testing ground for their pet projects. 

Here at Living Behind the Gates, I hope to present current and past research, invite dialogue, host guest bloggers, and create a pathway to EXPOSE the TRUTH about Living Behind the Gates.

Welcome to Living Behind the Gates.  Please follow me and interact with me, as well as others to work together in a mission to uncover the truth behind these Philanthro-PIRATES!