Archives for category: Gates Foundation, Bill Gates

Valerie Straus reports that Bill Gates continues to pour millions of dollars into organizations that might persuade people to like the Common Core. Usually when a product or service gets good word of mouth, it takes off. Unfortunately for Gates, who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in establishing national standards, a national curriculum, and national testing, the public is not buying.

 

This past year, Gates expended another $42 million trying to buy friends for his standards. You might be surprised by some of the recipients.

 

Here are a few:

 

Editorial Projects in Education, which sponsors Education Week: $100,000

 

National Writing Project: $1.6 million

 

National Congress of Parents and Teachers: $1 million

 

The Boston Foundation: $150,000

 

There are many more. Someone should tell Bill, “Money can’t buy you love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The National PTA adopted a resolution opposing parents’ decision to have their child opt out of state testing.

The resolution endorses the federal requirement of annual testing and says:

 

“National PTA does not support state and district policies that allow students to opt-out of state assessments that are designed to improve teaching and learning. While we recognize that parents are a child’s first teacher and respect the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children, the association believes the consequences of nonparticipation in state assessments can have detrimental impacts on students and schools. Nonparticipation can result in a loss of funding, diminished resources and meaningful interventions for student subgroups, which would have a disparate impact on minorities and students with special needs and widen the achievement gap. Opting out also stalls innovation by inhibiting effective monitoring and improvement of programs, instructional strategies and exams, and could thwart transparency by providing incomplete data sets for states and schools.”

 

Di, despite 15 years of mandated testing, the National PTA still thinks that testing somehow promotes the best interests of the children in the bottom half if the bell curve, that testing narrows achievement gaps, and that testing promotes innovation. Note that no evidence is provided for any of these claims.

 

Fifteen years of testing and accountability and the National PTA says, “Stay the course.”

 

Surely this has no connection to the fact that the National PTA has received $3.7 million from the Gates Foundation, which has a deep faith in data and testing. $1 million of the total was earmarked specifically to promote Common Core.

 

Gates gave the group another $1 million in October 2015 specifically to support Common Core assessments and the results of those assessments.

Reader Laura Chapman, retired consultant in arts education, often writes powerful comments. Here is her description of the Gates Foundation’s plans for teacher education.

 

 

Gates is not the only funder of specific content in EdWeek. Gates is also the major funder of the annual Quality Counts report in EdWeek, a report card.

 
Even more interesting is that Gates Foundation has recruited Lynn Olsen, a top EdWeek journalist, to replace Vicki Phillips whose farewell note included some self congratulations about getting the Common Core in place and so forth.

 
New initiatives for the Gates Foundation focus on getting rid of teacher education in higher education except as an authorizer of credentials, including a masters degree in “effective” teaching. More charter colleges of education are the next step. Relay is one model.
The aim is to dump scholarship in and about education within teacher preparation in favor of a bundle of “high leverage” tricks of the trade for raising test scores, with repeated practice In using these until they become automatic.
Practice could begin with teaching avatars followed by doing an on-the-job residency program, with lots of tests, online tutoring and such. Think Relay Graduate School of Education, with Doug Lemov’s bag of tricks, highly prescriptive teaching with no critical thinking allowed, 3.5 GPA for admission, content mastery tests, and so on.

 
Gates wants to control who gets to teach, where, and all of the criteria for credentialing teachers. He is certain that critical thinking and almost all scholarship bearing on education is an unnecessary distraction from raising test scores and getting kids launched into college and/or career. He has funded an “inspectorate” system for rating teacher preparation programs aimed at replacing existing state and national accreditations.

 
Look for lots of marketing of those ” high leverage” tricks of the trade via social media, especially the Twitter platform called “teacher2” or TeacherSquared. Gates is paying Relay Graduate a school of Education to exploit social media for recruiting and data gathering. Concurrently, the Foundation is also hiring a new manager to help exploit the Twitter teacher2 platform and others. The manager will be assembling a “portfolio” of social media sites united by some connection to education and, of course, the prospect of mining all of them for data.

 
The new slogan for the foundation’s work is the fuzzy and warm phrase “teachers know best”…(if they are not critical of the work of the Foundation).

 
Meanwhile the Foundation is still pushing charters and technology and teacher evaluations with VAM, observations, and student surveys, the latter from his $64 million investment in the deeply flawed Measures of Effective Teaching project.

 
Like many others, I refer to Bill Gates when the proper phrase should be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That is because Bill, far more than Melinda, is vocal about education and speaks as if had earned expertise sufficient to shape policy and practice on a national scale. He has lots of money and a lot of really bad ideas about education.

This is a comment by a reader in Seattle who read the post about the State Senate’s 27-20 vote to offer public funding to charter schools, after the state’s highest court ruled that charters are not public schools. This is Bill Gates’ highest priority, ignoring a court decision to fund the schools equitably, which the legislature has not done.

 

 

“Before anyone decides it’s time to jump off Galloping Gertie, (which is really a lovely bridge here in my town) we can take heart that: 1) Republicans may have the state Senate but they don’t have the House. Won’t pass there and I suspect Chairman of the House, Frank Chopp, won’t let any similar legislation see the light of day on the floor. 2) Our Guv. ain’t gonna sign any charter legislation. No. Way. So the whole thing is an optics play going nowhere. Billy will throw more money, perhaps big, big, money at future Supreme Court races but right now Billy doesn’t have the votes there either. King County Superior Court Judge William Downing just ruled that Initiative 1366, another Tim Eyeman anti-tax measure, was unconstitutional and void. Schadenfreude Alert! Congratulations, Tim, on winning the quadfecta of unconstitutionality! Whee! Love ya Judge Downing!

 

 

“We’ve got some firewalls. We can be assured that all future district legislative seats will be big $$ races. I’m working with a small funding group building the bench on the hyperlocal level…county, city and school board races. This is happening in several places in Western Washington. Doing what we can..working the refs when we can. Some stealth, some bigger efforts. Lots of different players playing to keep the charter gazillionaires on the outside. It’s been self-evident we wouldn’t get the McCleary decision funded when our Guv. didn’t call legislators back to a special session last summer. As they say in the south, “Oh honey, bless your heart!” November’s election might shift things a bit…we’ll have to see.

 

 

“Gov. Jay Inslee will take the Guv’s mansion in the re-election. His opponent…who? Some guy named Bill Bryant, who has *no* name recognition outside of King County, home of the City of Seattle. Me to future doorbeller, “What did you say your name was? Aaand..who are you with? Wait, who is your candidate again? Hmmm…let me Bing that.” Bwaahahaha! Yeah, zilch. Not enough Republicans statewide to counter three counties that dominate elections west of the Cascade range.

 

 

“The bottom line is our State Constitution tells us funding K-12 public education is a paramount duty and the Supremes ruled against Billy’s charter initiative. They still don’t have a foothold anywhere in the state to steal a dime of public money and the opt-out movement is gonna show how much it’s grown in a couple of weeks. We’re ready to expose any OSPI candidate that’s a charter shill. Anyhoo…we’re ground zero and we hope you’ll follow our little state funding drama. Defense is strong….parents and families are fighting. Think rebel alliance. Washington State progressives and many conservatives who support public schools have some serious juice out here. We’re chipping away at it. Stay tuned. Hey Billy! I hope you like reading Diane’s comment section! We love ya Diane. Thank you for helping us keep at it. Dog. Bone. etc.”

There are many fine journalists at Education Week. I count on EdWeek to be the K-12 paper of record.

That is why it is distressing to learn that the Gates Foundation gave Edweek nearly $2 million to cover technology. Gates has supported EdWeek for years.

“Date: October 2015
Purpose: to broaden education digital media capacity in the U.S. to share analysis, best practice, and current innovation in public education
Amount: $1,998,240
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready, Strategic Partnerships
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Bethesda, Maryland
Grantee Website: http://www.edweek.org”

I wish the billionaires would keep hands off the independent media. Can EdWeek be independent of the man and the industry that underwrites their coverage?

Leonie Haimson of Class Size Matters and Lisa Rudley of the New York State Allies for Public Education (NYSAPE) wrote to New York State Commissioner MaryEllen Elia and the Board of Regents to protest the latest Gates grant for collection and implementation of student data. They are concerned that the purpose of the grant is to re-start efforts to exploit personally identifiable student data, one of Gates’ passions. In addition, the grant went to a privately funded group (funded largely by Gates) called the Regents Research Fund, which operates as a “shadow government,” with neither transparency nor accountability.

 

By law, the state is required to have a Chief Privacy Officer, but no qualified person has been appointed. The acting CPO has no background in the field and has resisted complying with parent requests for information about their own children.

 

The quest for student data is endless:

 

Our concerns about expanded student data collection are also exacerbated by the fact that we have been unable to get any information about why NYSED officials decided that the personal student data collected by the state should be eventually placed into the State Archives, eight years after a student’s graduation from high school, with no date certain when it will be destroyed. We have asked what restrictions will be placed on access to that data, when if ever the data will be deleted, and have requested a copy of the memo in which state officials apparently determined that these records have “long-term historical value and should be transferred to the State Archives.”vi Neither NYSED nor the State Archives will answer our questions or provide us a copy of this memo, and instead demanded that we FOIL for it.

 

They point out that the same issue raised parent ire against former Commissioner John King (now the Acting Secretary of Education):

 

The previous Commissioner faced intense opposition from parents, school board members, district superintendents, teachers and elected officials over his plan to share personal student data with the Gates-funded data store called inBloom Inc. Because of strong public opposition and NYSED’s refusal to change course, the Legislature was forced to pass a new law to block the participation of the state in the inBloom project. The controversy over inBloom was one of the major issues that contributed to the public’s loss of trust in Commissioner King’s leadership, as well as his eventual resignation. We do not want to have to engage in such an intense battle over student privacy once again in relation to this new data collection plan.

 

Parents should send their own letters to the State Commissioner, the Board of Regents, and legislators. Now is the time to protect your child’s privacy rights!

Michael Massing, former executive editor of the Columbia Journalism Review, has a fabulous article in the current Néw York Review of Books about the media’s failure to cover the political activities of the 1%.

In the middle of the article, he goes into detail about the millions of dollars that billionaires and hedge fund managers have poured into charter schools and into the campaigns of politicians who support charter schools.

Massing chides the media for its failure to follow the money.

It is great is to see the issues we are familiar with getting attention in a highly respected national publication.

Joanne Barkan has written powerful articles in Dissent about the power wielded by billionaires to control and direct public education. (See here.)

 

Now she has written an article in The Guardian about the Zuckerbergs’ pledge to place 99% of their Facebook stock (value: about $45-46 billion) in a limited liability corporation, which they will use to influence public policy. Her article has the title “Wealthy Philanthropists Should Not Impose Their Idea of the Common Good on Us.”

 

She writes:

 

There’s a strong argument to be made that the private tax-exempt foundation doesn’t fit well in a functioning democracy. As the eminent US jurist Richard Posner wrote: “A perpetual charitable foundation, however, is a completely irresponsible institution, answerable to nobody. It competes neither in capital markets nor in product markets … and, unlike a hereditary monarch whom such a foundation otherwise resembles, it is subject to no political controls either.”

 

Although the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative isn’t a foundation and will pay taxes, nothing about their project changes the fundamental contradiction of mega philanthropy: the wealthy have the power to impose their personal visions of the common good on everyone else while calling it charity. In the tug-of-war between government by the people and social engineering by multibillionaire philanthropists, Chan and Zuckerberg pull on the side of the powerful social engineers.

 

However, in the New Yorker, James Surowiecki writes “In Defense of Philanthocapitalism,” a spirited defense of the Zuckerbergs, the Gates, and the other billionaires who are willing to try bold new approaches that government is too timid to try. So I assume he includes the Koch brothers, who use their wealth to reshape the economy to benefit the 1%, and Art Pope, who has used his wealth to hand the state of North Carolina over to the Tea Party, and the Waltons, who use their billions to stamp out unions and public schools.

 

He writes:

 

In an ideal world, big foundations might be superfluous. But in the real world they are vital, because they are adept at targeting problems that both the private sector and the government often neglect. The classic mission of nonprofits is investing in what economists call public goods—things that have benefits for everyone, even people who haven’t paid for them. Public health is a prime example: we would all benefit from the eradication of malaria and tuberculosis (diseases that Bill Gates’s foundation has spent billions fighting). But, since the benefits of public goods are widely enjoyed, it’s hard to get anyone in particular to foot the bill.

 

Ah, yes, what would we do without the Koch brothers, the Walton Family Foundation, and other billionaire foundations that do not believe in the public sector? What would educators do if they didn’t have the Gates Foundation to tell them how to evaluate teachers and how to turn public assets over the unaccountable charter schools and how to teach reading and mathematics? What would Los Angeles do if it didn’t have Eli Broad picking its superintendent and deciding to take control of half the children in the public schools and hand them over to privately managed charters and at the same time underwriting coverage of education in the Los Angeles Times? What would Philadelphia do if it didn’t have local foundations deciding to privatize its public schools? How many other cities have private foundations that have decided to lead the charge for school privatization? How many rightwing think tanks would shrivel and die without the support of the same billionaires and their foundations?

 

Who should shape the public good? The philanthrocapitalists or the public? Who holds the foundations accountable when they make a mistake? To whom are they accountable? No one. How can they preach accountability to everyone else but not for themselves?

 

Please read and comment.

Has the Gates Foundation moved on past the disappointment of creating national standards and national tests to the Next Big Thing: putting all students online?

 

 

This is from a reader:

 

 

 

It seems like “Blended Learning” as a slogan is now unmarketable.

 

On to “Personalized Learning”

 

Perhaps Rocketship is yesterday’s news as well: newest savior model is [San Jose-based] Summit Public Schools

 

Summit was Mark Zuckerberg’s big grant recipient – even before his massive announcement following birth of his first child

 

See: http://summitbasecamp.org/explore-basecamp/

 

Below are the Gates Fdn donations in last 2 years for districts & purchased “research”

 

see RAND/Gates study from last week that is most recent promotional/marketing material here:

 

http://collegeready.gatesfoundation.org/continued-progress-promising-evidence-on-personalized-learning/

 

DISTRICT/CHARTER GRANTS

 

LINDSAY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Date: October 2015
Purpose: to build the foundation for the California Consortium for Development and Dissemination of Personalized Education (C2D2) by identifying the key questions they plan to address together, build specific deliverables and a strategic plan for future work, and develop a strong operating model for an effective long-term partnership
Amount: $499,860
Term: 5
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Lindsay, California
Grantee Website: http://www.lindsay.k12.ca.us

 

FULTON COUNTY SCHOOL SYSTEM
Date: November 2014
Purpose: to support districts in the implementation of personalized learning models
Amount: $200,000
Term: 2014
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Grantee Website: http://www.fultonschools.org

 

DENVER PUBLIC SCHOOLS FOUNDATION
Date: December 2014
Purpose: to support districts in the implementation of personalized learning models
Amount: $50,000
Term: 13
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Denver, Colorado
Grantee Website: http://www.dpsfoundation.org

Date: May 2014
Purpose: to implement a strategic plan for personalized learning
Amount: $356,485
Term: 8
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Denver, Colorado
Grantee Website: http://www.dpsfoundation.org

 

PORTLAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Date: December 2014
Purpose: to support districts in the implementation of personalized learning models
Amount: $50,000
Term: 13
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Portland, Oregon
Grantee Website: http://www.pps.k12.or.us

 

SCHOOL BOARD OF ORANGE COUNTY (FL)
Date: November 2014
Purpose: to support districts in the implementation of personalized learning models
Amount: $200,000
Term: 8
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Orlando, Florida

 

TULSA PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Date: September 2014
Purpose: to support organizations to develop innovative professional development systems to create personalized learning systems for teachers; experiment with innovative modes of delivery; and build the capacity at every level of the organization to design learning and direct resources efficiently and effectively.
Amount: $4,421,847
Term: 36
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Grantee Website: http://www.tulsaschools.org/

 

PARTNERSHIP FOR LOS ANGELES SCHOOLS
Date: June 2014
Purpose: to support the Partnership for L.A. Schools to pilot new personalized learning approaches in math
Amount: $100,000
Term: 19
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Los Angeles, California
Grantee Website: http://www.partnershipla.org

 

RHODE ISLAND MAYORAL ACADEMIES
Date: June 2014
Purpose: to support personalized learning strategy development
Amount: $200,114
Term: 12
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Grantee Website: http://mayoralacademies.org/

 

SCHOOL BOARD OF PINELLAS COUNTY (FL)
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to implement a system-level strategic plan for personalized learning
Amount: $550,000
Term: 15
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Largo, Florida
Grantee Website: https://www.pcsb.org

 

RIVERSIDE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to implement a system-level strategic plan for personalized learning
Amount: $550,000
Term: 12
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Riverside, California
Grantee Website: http://www.rusdlink.org

 

HENRY COUNTY (GA) SCHOOLS
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to implement a system-level strategic plan for personalized learning
Amount: $363,000
Term: 9
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: McDonough, Georgia
Grantee Website: http://www.henry.k12.ga.us

 

LAKE COUNTY (FL) SCHOOLS
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to implement a system-level strategic plan for personalized learning
Amount: $450,000
Term: 12
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tavares, Florida
Grantee Website: http://lake.k12.fl.us/lakeschools

 

DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT
Date: April 2014
Purpose: to implement a system-level strategic plan for personalized learning
Amount: $841,000
Term: 15
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Dallas, Texas
Grantee Website: http://www.dallasisd.org/

 

PURCHASED RESEARCH

 

UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON FOUNDATION [CPRE]
Date: August 2015
Purpose: to support a research study focused on learning about the most effective methods to scale personalized learning in districts and regional eco-systems
Amount: $2,790,000
Term: 29
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Seattle, Washington
Grantee Website: http://www.washington.edu/foundation/

 

BELLWEATHER EDUCATION PARTNERS INC.
Date: August 2015
Purpose: to inform the public and education leaders on education policy opportunities related to teaching effectiveness, personalized learning, and new accountability models
Amount: $778,188
Term: 15
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Sudbury, Massachusetts
Grantee Website: http://bellwethereducation.org/

 

THE HIGHLANDER INSTITUTE (RI)
Date: August 2015
Purpose: to develop a statewide system for sharing, implementing, evaluating and scaling blended learning and instructional personalization across the state of Rhode Island
Amount: $349,185
Term: 5
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Providence, Rhode Island
Grantee Website: http://highlanderinstitute.org

Nancy Flanagan is a retired teacher, who is a retired National Board Certified Teacher and a former Teacher of the Year. She read the post about the Gates Foundation listening to teacher voice, if they agree with the Gates Foundation.

She writes:

“I am a member of the NNSTOY (National Network of State Teachers of the Year). The organization was originally called NSTOY–a kind of “same time next year” friendly meet/greet conference organization that provided camaraderie and scholarships. But recently, the renamed organization is getting large Gates grants and singing the Common Core/edTPA/managed “teacher leadership” tune. I have remained a member simply to get access to their plans and publications.

“Recently they sent out a message asking us to renew our dues ($15/yr for retired TOYs), after which we would be sent a survey to share our policy views. I paid my $15 (to New Venture Fund), and waited for the survey link. It never came.

“In a separate mass mailing, there was a reminder–have you taken the survey? I clicked on the link, and got an error message: the moderator has blocked your access to this item.

“So much for hearing the voices of exemplary teachers, eh?
http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/teacher_in_a_strange_land/2015/11/five_cynical_observations_about_teacher_leadership.html”

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