Archives for category: Gates Foundation, Bill Gates

This is one of the very best poems from Some DamPoet. He/she wrote it after the Gates Foundation admitted that its plans were not working out as well as they hoped, but that they intended to double down on their foundering efforts. The Los Angeles Times reprimanded the Gates Foundation for its hubris. So does Our Poet.

“The Charge of the Gates Brigade” (based on “The Charge of the Light Brigade”, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Half a wit, half a wit,
Half a wit onward,
All in the Valley of Dumb
Bill and Mel foundered
“Forward, the Gates Brigade!
Charge for the schools!” he said.
Into the Valley of Dumb
Bill and Mel foundered


“Forward, the Gates Brigade!”
Was there a man dismayed?
Not though the Coleman knew
Someone had blundered.
Theirs not to make reply,
Theirs not to reason why,
Theirs but to do and lie.
Into the Valley of Dumb
Bill and Mel foundered


Teachers to right of them,
Teachers to left of them,
Teachers in front of them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with fact and stat,
Boldly they tuned out that,
Into the Ravitch jaws,
Into the mouth of cat
Bill and Mel foundered


Flashed all their BS bare,
Dashed was their savoir faire
VAMming the teachers there,
Charging an army, while
All the world wondered.
Plunged in with mir’s-n-smoke
Valiantly went for broke;
Cluelessly rushin’
Reeled from reality’s stroke
Shattered and sundered.
VAMming attack, for naught,
Bill and Mel foundered


Teachers to right of them,
Teachers to left of them,
Teachers behind them
Volleyed and thundered;
Stormed at with fact and stat,
While Bill and Mel chewed fat
They that had fought the BAT
Came through the Ravitch jaws,
Back from the mouth of cat,
All that was left in end:
Bill and Mel foundered


When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wondered.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Gates Brigade,
Bill and Mel foundered

Doug Garnett is a communications specialist and a regular reader of the blog. He writes here about reading “Policy Patrons,” by Megan Tomkins-Stange.

Been reading Policy Patrons. And it’s given me a different insight.

We all feel like Gates, Broad and others are “dictating” what happens. It’s hard – because they aren’t. What they’re doing is far more subtle but with similar results.

What they’ve done is create a “walled garden” of groups that are all paid to support their position. The list in this article is an example of creating that walled garden – a range of community organizations, researchers, university credibility, etc…

THEN, with the walled garden created, the foundations themselves never have to “tell the government what to do”. They are able to say “well, I know somebody who deals with that – you should talk with them”. Except the foundations have ensured that this “somebody” is somebody who will give the answer they want.

It’s incredibly deceptive – but politicians and press seem incapable of detecting when they’ve been had in this way. Because the “walled garden” of true “ed reform believers” are the only people they end up talking to. In a sense, Gates, Broad, et. al. deliver answers on a silver platter so that state education departments, school districts, politicians, and press don’t have to work hard.

This informal (but massive) walled garden they’ve build believes in testing as management, believes in CCSS, believes in charter schools, and believes that privatizing government services is always good.

As a result, state education bureaucrats NEVER have to wander outside the garden – so they never have to confront uncomfortable truths. (It’s dangerous outside those walls and that threatens one’s career.)

But this also explains why politicians are so shocked when citizens confront them with dissatisfaction with their policies – they’ve been blissfully living inside the Eden of Reform – unaware that they aren’t in touch with reality. I’ve seen this in Oregon. Our legislators cannot believe it when someone rational challenges what they’ve been doing.

It’s a HUGE problem for those of us who believe in public schools and believe in the value of researched answers. Because it’s not illegal what they’ve done. They believe it’s entirely moral. And they think they’re being “good people” by doing it. And it spreads blame by breaking it into tiny bits so no single organization can be blamed for much. Kind of a guaranteed “plausible deniability” clause.

Yet the result is entirely immoral – because it’s the future of our children.

The Washington Supreme Court ordered the legislature to come up with a plan to fund the state’s public schools fairly. The legislature has taken a few steps but has failed to comply with the court’s order. The state asked the coutrt to cancel the fines. The court said no.

“No hammer will come down this year as a result of the Legislature’s ongoing failure to come up with plan to fully fund public schools, the state Supreme Court said Thursday.

“Instead, the high court said it will continue fining Washington state $100,000 per day, but will wait to see what progress lawmakers make in the 2017 legislative session before imposing additional sanctions.

“The court’s ruling is the the latest development in the school-funding case known as McCleary, in which the court ruled in 2012 that Washington state was failing to meet its constitutional duty to amply fund basic education.

“In its order, the court directed the state to correct school-funding problems by 2018.

“While lawmakers have added about $2.3 billion to address parts of the McCleary ruling — including funding for all-day kindergarten, school supplies and class size reductions in lower grades — they have yet to come up with a way to fix the unconstitutional way teachers and other school employees are paid, which many lawmakers view as the most complicated part of the decision.

“The court has said school employee salaries are basic education costs that should be borne by the state, and not paid through local school district property tax levies.

“In its majority ruling Thursday, the court criticized lawmakers for not specifying how they plan to take on those costs next year.

“In its latest report, the State continues to provide a promise — ‘we’ll get there next year’ — rather than a concrete plan for how it will meet its paramount duty,” wrote Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, whose opinion was signed by seven of the court’s nine justices.”

Washington State contains some of the richest people in the nation and the world. Why aren’t they leading the fight for higher taxes to fund the schools instead of fighting for charters?

Read more here:

Mercedes Schneider reports that Bill Gates is throwing millions into Common Core, making up for the fact that the new federal law bans federal support for Common Core.

Gates recently awarded $18 million to support Common Core implementation. It’s his baby, and he is not letting go in the face of mass opposition.

Kevin Ohlandt, a parent blogger in Delaware, says that Bill Gates no longer even pretends to hide his ultimate goal: to digitize education and put all children online.

He writes:

Bill Gates wants a Federal Student Data Tracking System. That’s right. He also wants competency-based education, more career pathways programs, and personalized learning to take over public education. This is the same guy who funded Common Core. Remember that when you read the document released by the Gates Foundation today. If I had to guess, now that many education bloggers have exposed all the agendas which will lead to the Bit-Coin inspired Blockchain Initiative, the corporate education reformers (clearly led by Bill Gates) have nothing to lose by getting it all out there now. Now I know why U.S. Senator Chris Coons (Delaware) is chomping at the bit for his post-secondary legislation to get passed by Congress.

Read this. Every single word. Read between the lines. This is the endgame they have been pushing for, the complete and utter destruction of public education in anticipation of online education for all. Where you will be tracked from cradle to grave, with data allowed to be looked at through a federal database, which will track everything about you. The sad part is they play to civil rights groups by assuring more success for minorities. They screw over students with disabilities every chance they get. But their manipulation of under-served communities is at an all-time high in this document. Words like “outcome-based funding” scare the crap out of me, and it should for every single American. Look at all the footnotes in the below document. Look at the companies and think-tanks that are reaping immense profits for every bogus report they come out with. Look how embedded this already is in every single state and our national government.

This is all about the workforce of tomorrow. It has nothing to do with education, or liberal education, or liberating education.

Jonathan Pelto writes about a report on Bill Gates’ underwriting of “journalism” touting privatization of public schools in Liberia, gates is an investor in Bridge International Academies, a for-profit business that offers scripted schooling by uncertified teachers in poor nations in Africa. Some have called it the new colonialism masquerading as philanthropy.

Gates has invested in BIA. it is not philanthropy.

“In a stunning expose written by Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), it becomes undeniably clear that Bill Gates has reached the point where his billions not only fund the myriad of corporate education reform initiatives that are sweeping the country and the world, but his investment in the media taints much of the coverage of these developments.

In an article entitled, “This Guardian Piece Touting Bill Gates’ Education Investment Brought to You by Bill Gates,” FAIR’s Adam Johnson explains:

“The Guardian (8/31/16) published a broadly positive report on Liberian education, which is handing over the reins of 120 primary schools to a consortium of private education companies and NGOs in a pilot program exploring privatization of the West African nation’s schools. One passage in particular was especially glowing:

“The deputy minister [of Education], Aagon Tingba, is reading The Bee Eater, a biography of Michele Rhee, a polarizing educational reformist and former chancellor of Washington, DC, public schools.

“She changed the lives of children in Washington, but people complained her methods were controversial. But she made a difference. So why can’t we do that here?”

“What the piece failed to note—other than the fact that Rhee’s tenure left DC’s schools “worse by almost every conceivable measure” (Truthout, 10/23/13)—is that multi-billionaire Bill Gates is both the major investor of the company administering the Liberian education overhaul and the principal of the Gates Foundation, sponsor of the Guardian’s Global Development vertical, where the story appeared.

“The story clearly labels the Gates Foundation as its sponsor. What it never mentioned is that Bill Gates is a major investor of the firm at the heart of the story, Bridge Academies International, having pitched in, along with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, $100 million for the “education startup.”

“Making the conflict more glaring is the fact that this is a personal, for-profit investment for Gates, not a charitable donation.

“The Guardian claims its Global Development vertical, launched in 2011, is “editorially independent of any sponsorship.” According to its most recent tax filings in 2014, the Gates Foundation has an on-going $5.69 million grant to Guardian News Media Limited.”

Leonie Haimson has written a stunning article about stories in the New York Times that promote investments of Bill Gates without acknowledging that the writer’s outside organization is funded by the Gates Foundation.

She refers in amazing detail to two laudatory articles about Bridge International Academies, the corporation that is providing for-profit schools in poor countries in Africa and elsewhere. Gates is an investor in BIA. The Gates Foundation supports the organization that supports the journalist. BIA is encouraging countries like Kenya and Liberia to outsource their responsibility for primary school education to the corporation, which charges the families about $6 a month. Haimson points out that when the cost of uniforms and supplies and food are included, the total is far higher, and represents about a quarter of the family income. If there is more than one child, the cost may be 2/3 of the family income. You can be sure that the business is highly profitable, and it relieves the country of the necessity of building universal free public education.

The article goes into detail about the research on both sides of the issue, which is not reflected in the Times’ coverage.

Other articles in the New York Times have praised the “flipped classroom,” a favorite of Bill Gates, and edTech schools that Gates endorses.

I hope the Public Editor of the New York Times reads this timely and important critique of their coverage.

T.C. Weber, who blogs as Dad Gone Wild, writes about the latest problem in Nashville.

The pro-public school/anti-charter forces won a resounding victory at the elections recently. Their candidates won handily.

But then the new superintendent of schools stunned everyone by hiring as his chief of staff a woman who had been actively involved in the charter movement in Washington state and elsewhere. She scrubbed the charter stuff off her resume, but the Internet is forever, and she couldn’t hide her long history as a supporter of the very policies that Nashville voters had just decisively rejected.

Jana Carlisle was executive director of the Partnership for Learning, which advocated for charters in Washington State, even though voters had rejected them three times. The initiative was finally passed, by less than 1%, in 2012, after Bill Gates and his fellow billionaires poured nearly $20 million into their campaign, a sum that overwhelmed the League of Women Voters, PTAs, teachers’ unions, and the NAACP. Carlisle made a statement about implementation of the charter law soon after its passage. The statement (which I copied on my cellphone) has now been removed from the Internet. Here it is:

PFL: Testimony to state board on charter schools, accountability

On November 8, 2012, Jana Carlisle, executive director of the Partnership for Learning, testified at the State Board of Education’s meeting in Vancouver on public charter school implementation and the state’s new Accountability Index.

Her comments are as follows:

“Good Afternoon. My name is Dr. Jana Carlisle and I’m here representing the Washington Roundtable’s education foundation, the Partnership for Learning.

I’m here today to reinforce the importance of the State Board of Education’s role in providing guidance and oversight to local school boards wishing to become charter school authorizers, as well as to the smooth and quality functioning of the state’s public charter school application, approval, and annual review processes. The founding member organizations of the Washington Coalition for Public Charter Schools include the League of Education Voters, Stand for Children, Democrats for Education Reform, and the Partnership and Roundtable. Our groups are committed to supporting effective implementation of and leadership for public charter schools in Washington state. To do so, we are interested in collaborating with the State Board and its staff, the Commission, and a broad base of stakeholders that include parents, students, educators, and elected and agency leaders. As is the case with the SBE, our implementation conversations have already commenced. We are eager to work closely with you and the SBE staff during the coming months and years to ensure that the intent of the initiative – which includes giving priority to opening public charter schools that serve at-risk student populations or students from low-performing public schools – is realized.

Today you have also talked about what to include in the Accountability Index. The WRT and Partnership for Learning strongly believe that a performance-based accountability system is absolutely essential to ensure our state’s implementation of a 21st Century education system and to secure support for adequately funding basic education. We believe that Washington’s accountability system must include: 1) transparent and accessible district and school report cards that include scale scores and status updates on meeting the outcomes delineated below; 2) a statewide growth-based accountability index that establishes key school performance indicators, targets, and the line between success and failure; and 3) statewide capacity and authority for incenting and rewarding school innovation; for establishing timelines for progress to occur; and for supporting, intervening in, and taking over struggling schools.

We believe that a 21st Century statewide education system – and thus the index’s indicator – in Washington will result in the following:

1. Closing student achievement gaps among students in K-12 mathematics, English Language Arts, science, and social studies – based on actual performance and growth measures.
2. Increasing overall academic achievement for all student groups for K-12 mathematics, English Language Arts, science, and social studies – based on actual performance and growth measures.
3. Increasing the overall graduation rate of high school students – documented in terms of four- and five-year rates – and the college and career readiness graduation rate.
4. Reducing remedial rates in two-year colleges and in four-year universities.
5. Increasing four-year post-secondary participation within one year of students’ high school graduation.
6. Increasing two-year post-secondary participation within one year of students’ high school graduation.
7. Increasing two- and four-year post-secondary graduation rates.
8. Increasing participation rate in post-secondary STEM programs (this includes workforce training, industry certification, and/or credit bearing two- and four-year postsecondary coursework).”


You can also read about the work of the Partnership on the website of the rightwing PIE Network.

Look, if someone wants to work for the charter movement, that’s fine, that’s their right. But they shouldn’t apply to work in a district that rejects charters while scrubbing their resume to hide their sympathies. That’s not honest.

EduShyster interviewed author Megan Tompkins-Stange about her new book “Policy Patrons,” which reports on the five years she spent working inside the big foundations that fund corporate-style reform: Gates and Broad, who pursue top-down reforms, and Ford and Kellogg, which are likelier to be “field-oriented.”

EduShyster says at the outset that the book shows the foundations to be “heavy with hubris,” certain that they have all the right answers. The Gates Foundation was giddy with joy to see how closely their goals meshed with those of the Obama administration.

EduShyster says, “We overhear the Broad folks reveling in their success in New Orleans and the failure of the opt out movement, and Team Gates crowing over, well, everything. But both have ended up getting some comeuppance of late—Gates over the Common Core and Broad over Eli Broad’s charter expansion plan in Los Angeles.

Tompkins-Stange responds:

I think what we’re seeing, with Gates and Broad in particular, is that they started from the point of view that *If you apply capital to X problem then Y solution will happen.* For example, if you make a vaccine available, disease will be eradicated. But that worldview hasn’t translated well to education, and the challenge for them now is how do they change their culture and their values in order to better operate within this context? Because what they’ve done up to this point is based on a very strategic, very technical way of looking at the world. You’re starting to see a real normative concern emerging in the field about not including people in public education reform, and not having the voices of these underrepresented groups that are going to be affected. Maybe now that we’re having this national conversation about power, race and oppression, that’s coming to the fore more as a topic of discussion within foundations.

One point that comes through loud and clear is that Gates and Broad find democracy to be a “hindrance,” an obstacle to the strategic plans that they have concocted with minimal interaction with those who will be affected.

The Ugandan Parliament ordered the for-profit corporation Bridge International Academies to close its schools for failing to meet the nation’s standards. The linked report comes from Education International, which represents teachers’ unions around the world. Teachers’ unions think that children should be instructed by qualified teachers. Most children in Uganda cannot afford to enroll in a fee-paying school.

The Ugandan teachers’ union elected a member to Parliament, who championed their case against the for-profit schools.

In the latest turn in the saga between the Ugandan government and Bridge International Academies the country’s parliament has instructed management to close the schools until further notice. Bridge currently has 80 pre-primary and primary schools in Uganda run by American founders Jay Kimmelman and Shannon May.

According to Uganda’s Minister of Education, Janet Museveni, Bridge has the opportunity to reopen should they meet necessary standards. However, despite the order to cease operations, Bridge says it is business as usual.

Bridge, operating what are known as ‘low-fee,’ for profit schools in Uganda, Kenya, and most recently Liberia, is financially supported by the likes of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and education conglomerate Pearson Ltd. It is also receives funding from the World Bank and DfID-UK. Bridge’s business model, which depends on public money to operate fee charging schools run by unqualified teachers, faces a continuous barrage of criticism.

Although the company promotes ‘affordable’ education to some of the world’s poorest children, Bridge forces families to pay for inadequate scripted lessons read from tablets. Many children are left to learn in questionable environments, such as classrooms lacking proper materials, including desks, chairs and in some cases, toilets.

This is the response from Bridge:


Bridge International Academies statement on comments in Ugandan Parliament

Kampala, 9 August 2016: Bridge International Academies has expressed sincere concern over statements made in the Ugandan parliament this afternoon threatening to force 12,000 Bridge children out of school and 800 Ugandans out of work, by seeking the closure of Bridge International Academies. Bridge has been working in partnership with the Government of Uganda to ensure that all Ugandan children have access to a high quality education.

“We are waiting to receive the report referred to in Parliament and a copy of the Parliamentary Hansard to review the Ministry’s concerns”, says Michael Kaddu, Head of Corporate and Public Affairs for Bridge International Academies in Uganda. “We have been working closely with the Ministry to put the needs of the children first and come to a speedy resolution of any issues made known to us.”

“In the meantime, our academies are running as usual as we continue to work with the relevant educational authorities to uphold our commitment to our parents and communities to provide a world-class education to their children.”

“Bridge has been a great blessing to our community,” says Mrs Gertrude Kizza from the Nsumbi area of Nansana, the grandmother of two Bridge children and the LC1 of the Nsumbi community. “Prior to Bridge opening in Nsumbi, our children either had to travel a long distance to get to school or pay high fees for the local private schools. As a result, many children did not go to school. Since Bridge opened in February of this year, I have seen great changes in my grandchildren, who are now leaders in English and confidence.”
“As a Ugandan citizen I should have the right to give my grand-children a better future, which is why I sent them to Bridge”, says Mrs Kizza. “Now the government is taking away that right.”

Bridge now operates 63 nursery and primary schools across Uganda. Bridge teaches the Ugandan curriculum, using technology to prepare and support teachers, streamline administrative processes and monitor attendance and academic progress.

“I joined Bridge after teacher training college because I was excited by the idea of a school system were I would be prepared and supported to ensure children are learning”, says Patrick Mutegeki a teacher at Bridge International Academy in Nsumbi. “Working at Bridge has made me a better educator and has made me excited for the future of Ugandan children. Bridge pupils in Kenya had a 40% higher chance of passing the national primary exit exams than the national average, and have gone on to the best secondary schools in Kenya and the United States. I want those same opportunities for Ugandan children.”

Bridge International Academies is the 21st largest employer in Uganda, with close to 800 Ugandan employees and has already invested over UGX10bn in the Ugandan economy, with plans to invest another UGX25bn in the coming years.