A previous post referred to Anthony Cody’s dialogue with the Gates Foundation about their insistence that teachers are the central problem in education today, not poverty. Anthony patiently explained why poverty matters, and the foundation’s response was noncommittal, really just a repetition of stale slogans like “poverty is not destiny.” Not surprisingly, some bearers of the reform flag assailed Anthony. This reader supports him and explains why:

The thing that makes this a “dialog” is that both sides answer each other. By claiming Cody said teachers aren’t important, or poverty is destiny, or any other outright lie, corporate “reformers” are now exposed, because Anthony’s blog is right there on the Gates website, for anybody to read.For instance, a manufactured corporate pundit wrote a column yesterday disputing a point Cody never made. He proclaims, “One More Time: Education is the Long-Term Solution for Fighting Poverty.”

It’s hard to make this a dialog, though, because he is hiding comments like the following one, which I posted yesterday. Here it is, in full:

Anthony Cody never said anything like “poverty is destiny”. What he says is that child poverty hurts children, and that it can be fought. He speaks for me, also, in that argument.

Like Anthony Cody, I believe that education can lift whole families out of poverty, for generations to come. I believe it so strongly that, like him, I’ve dedicated my life to the actual education of low-income kids in high-poverty schools and districts. On Monday, I’ll meet a new year’s worth of students. Based on previous experience, I’ll be able to move maybe 20% of them up to honors math and science next year. As their cognitive integration accomplishes Piaget’s great leap to abstract operations, all of them will learn. Many will find that chemistry opens the doors to the possible lives they had secretly dreamed of.

If you or the Gates foundation also believed that our work can transform their lives, it seems to me we’d be people you’d be willing to listen to. Instead, your “reform” is destroying schools, closing doors, and choking off lives.

Cody and I believe in great teachers too, we just don’t believe that statistics about teachers can make us greater. He pointed out that the Foundation’s “advocacy” is imposing harm, not benefit, on the children it purports to serve. What he actually said about the Gates Foundation’s leveraged philanthropy is this:

“In the name of reform, the Gates Foundation has wielded its political influence to effectively shift public funds, earmarked for the service of poor children, away from investment in those children’s direct education experience. Through the Race to the Top and NCLB waiver conditions, the US Department of Education has instead dedicated public resources to creating state and federal mandates for the Gates Foundation’s costly project — making sure every aspect of our educational system is “driven by data.”