Archives for category: Gates Foundation, Bill Gates

Laura Chapman shares her research with us:

The Gates Foundation has also announced that the creation of a centralized federal database to track students from preK through college, the workforce and beyond is one of their top advocacy priorities for 2017.”

This not a trivial matter.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has set its sights on data continuity from cradle to the workplace. In an unusual move, it has announced its data-priorities for postsecondary education. This initiative is for a national and substantially privatized postsecondary data gathering system, one that even calls for a Congressional modification of the Higher Education Act.

This Gates initiative is designed to allow non-profit and for-profit tracking of data on individual students as they move from high school into postsecondary programs (higher education and vocational certificate training) and then into the workforce for one year following the student’s exit from a post-secondary program, then again at the five year mark from that exit, and again at the ten year mark. All of that data-mongering would be aided by data from US Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics (earnings, region and industry of employment, migration patterns and career pathways).

The biggest obstacle to this grandiose vision is the Higher Education Act (1974) which prohibits the government from creating a “student unit record system” with unique identifiers for individual students (e.g., SS numbers). Gates has been mustering support for a total by-pass of this federal privacy law. if this initiative succeeds, I believe it will also place in jeopardy current privacy laws bearing on elementary and secondary education records. Here is some background.

In August 2015, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP)—created and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation—first convened a working group of national postsecondary data experts “to discuss ways to move forward a set of emerging options for improving the quality of the data infrastructure in order to inform state and federal policy conversations.” The Gates Foundation is famous for setting up surrogate organizations like IHEP and soft selling the real agenda as if it is only a “conversation.”

The Gates Foundation is using IHEP as if it is a think tank. The Foundation commissioned IHEP to produce almost a dozen papers to pump up the “necessity” for a national postsecondary data system. Almost all of these papers offer reasons for changing the Higher Education Act which firmly prohibits the creation of “student unit record system.” Most of the papers are framed to suggest that the law needs to be changed in order to know how much a college degree is worth and how to achieve equity and greater efficiency in postsecondary education. All of the papers are here http://www.ihep.org/postsecdata/mapping-data-landscape/national-postsecondary-data-infrastructure)

The paper in the link below shows the intent to build a national “post-secondary” data ecosystem that would “include information held by the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Directory of New Hires , the Social Security Administration’s wage and earnings data, the Internal Revenue Service’s tuition and required fees and financial aid data, the US Department of Defense’s military recruiting data, and data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs “(p. 1). http://www.ihep.org/sites/default/files/uploads/postsecdata/docs/resources/linking_federal_data_systems-executive_summary.pdf

The paper in the link below specifically tries to make the “case” for changing federal law to allow for nationalized “student unit record system.” http://www.ihep.org/sites/default/files/uploads/postsecdata/docs/resources/building_a_student-level_data_system-executive_summary.pdf

The paper in the link below shows the intent to connect the proposed national post-secondary data system with state longitudinal data systems (present in all but three states), including high school transcripts for individual students. The proposed connection would require enhancing the “interoperability” of National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) data system with state longitudinal data systems. The NSC has records for over 252 million students—Transcripts, Reverse Transfers, Financial Aid, Credential Verifications–and research based on that information. The state longitudinal data systems have been funded by Gates (Data Quality Campaign) and USDE since 2005.

This is a major claim: “There is currently no facility to provide self-service access to aggregate NSC data beyond the established reports that are published and distributed free of charge by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (these include annual high school benchmarks for post-secondary access and progression, current term enrollments, annual retention, persistence and completion rates, as well as regular reports on student mobility and degrees awarded). There are also opportunities to further enhance the interoperability of NSC with state longitudinal data systems. These systems are currently able to link their high school graduates with subsequent postsecondary enrollments and progress, but they would realize far more powerful results and benefits by leveraging NSC’s ability to integrate more comprehensive data directly from school transcripts (Executive Summary, p. 2-3). http://www.ihep.org/sites/default/files/uploads/postsecdata/docs/resources/national_student_clearinghouse-executive_summary.pdf

I found no mention of the commercial ventures tied to the National Student Clearinghouse or the paper-thin privacy policy it has. That is a big deal when you look at the list of its “Partners” with “other industry and technology leaders.” Here are three of these, each harboring many others.

“Ellucian is the world’s leading provider of software, services and insight to higher education. Ellucian helps 2,400 institutions in 40 countries with various services. Ellician’s website also invites potential “strategic partners” to contact them the company if they can “complement and extend our core offerings.” “Alliance partners” of Ellucian are offered tiers of services and co-branding opportunities as outlined here http://www.ellucian.com/Collateral/Ellucian-Partner-Success-Program-Guide/

Hobsons helps more than 12 million students around the globe identify their strengths, explore careers, create academic plans, and find the right college match. Hobsons partners with more than 10,000 schools, colleges, and universities to better prepare students for success.

Hobsons, like Ellucian has many “strategic partnerships.” Here are a few: ACT Engages BenchPrep for an Enhanced Personalized ACT Online Prep Program; Gallup; Human Esources; RoadTrip Nation.com; Blackboard; Career Key®; ComEVO,LLC (Communication Evolved); The Common Application; Dell Boomi; EdMin; Experian® Data Quality; Front Rush; GeoLabs (based in UK, a call and marketing service for 65 higher ed institutions, including some in USA); iData Management for Higher Education; IntelliResponse; x2VOLpowered by intelliVOL; Kira Talent (a video admissions platform); mongoose (responds to inquiries with personalized “mass texts” — from a phone, tablet or computer); parchment (career and college planning resources with 13 “partners” able to tap K-12 data); PEARSON; Ruffalo Noel Levitz (software, and management services for higher education enrollment and fundraising); Sallie Mae® (publicly traded consumer bank with newly named loan management, servicing and asset recovery business, Navient Corporation); Teen Life® (Catholic ministry for high schools).

Oracle —multinational computer technology corporation allows hardware and software to work together — in the cloud and in the data center. Oracle enables its IT customers — 400,000 of them in more than 145 countries around the world to design and integrate databases. For example, Oracle Integration Cloud Service offers more than fifty pre-built adapters for apps including Ariba, Concur, LinkedIn, Salesforce, Slack, Twilio, Twitter and more. https://www.oracle.com/corporate/pressrelease/paas-cloud-momentum-091916.html

If this initiative from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation succeeds, it will also enable links to information in the Gates-funded “Data Quality Campaign” and USDE-funded Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems (SLDS) for pre-K to 12 education—data from all but three states. Anyone who thinks that student test scores and the student identifications attached to them are “secure” is probably mistaken.

Politico has publicized that the Gates Foundation, New America, the US Chamber of Commerce and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association – have called on the federal government to track students as they move through and beyond college.

Because the Higher Education Act prohibits the government from doing so through a “student unit record” system,” Gates has launched a pilot program at the University of Texas as if to say, this is possible and here is the proof. The details are not clear, but US Census data will be included in the pilot–earnings, region and industry of employment, migration patterns and career pathways for UT graduates from 2003 to the present.

Unbelievable, especially if you are familiar with the Gates-funded Data Quality Campaign that begins with health records of infants.

Whenever you listen to the rhetoric of “reformers,” you must always bear in mind that what they mean is actually the opposite of what they say. “Reform,” for example, does not mean that they want to improve public schools; it means “privatization” and the elimination of public schools.

Emily Talmade, teacher-blogger in Maine, says that we must be wary of the new reform focus on “social emotional learning.” They do not mean that teachers and parents should pay attention to children’s ability to work and play well with others, or to their feelings of adequacy and self-worth.

Behind the new buzzwords is a renewed effort to push competency based education (CBE) and computer-based teaching and assessment. The leaders of the new reform movement hail from the tech sector–Gates, Zuckerberg, Reed Hastings, Pearson, and more–and they see a future of computer-driven education, teaching and testing at all times, measuring and ranking students.

Can they be stopped? Emily doesn’t say how, but the answer lies with local school boards who are informed and who refuse to jump on their bandwagon. Maybe that is why ALEC is so determined to strip power from local school boards and transfer it to governors and state control. After all, it is easier to buy 50 governors than to persuade nearly 15,000 local school boards. The answer also lies with informed parents. Be aware of what your state is doing; refuse to allow your child to be subject to data mining and CBE. Opt out. Send a message: Not with my child.

In 2012, Bill Gates and friends spent close to $20 million to win a referendum allowing charter schools, after losing the previous three such referenda. To their chagrin, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that charter schools are not public schools because they do not answer to elected school boards. Thus, they are not entitled to receive public funding intended for public schools. This made Gates and friends really angry.

Now, Peter Greene tells us what Gates and friends are doing about the mess. They are spending another load of money to oust judges on the State Supreme Court, to punish them for daring to deny public funding to privately managed charter schools. They are literally trying to buy control of Washington’s highest court.

So here’s Chief Justice Barbara Madsen, the author of the 2015 decision that ruled Washington’s charter law unconstitutional. She is being opposed by Greg Zempel who doesn’t like how capricious and random the court’s decisions are. Zempel has been backed by a pile of money from Stand for Children, an Oregon reformster group that has funneled money to his campaign from Connie Ballmer, wife of former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer; Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix; and Vulcan Inc., owned by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Vulcan and Ballmer were big financial backers of the charter law that was struck down.

Also facing reformster-backed challenge is Justice Charlie Wiggins (who is nothing if not a snappy dresser). Charteristas must sense a vulnerability because as we come down to the wire, they have pumped almost a million dollars into the campaign of Federal Way Municipal Court Judge Dave Larson. Vulcan tossed in $300K and Gates threw in $200K of his own. Meanwhile, one more fly-by-night PAC, Judicial Integrity Washington has dropped $350K on a tv ad smear campaign against Wiggins featuring ads that other members of the legal community likened to the infamous Willie Horton ads used against Dukakis way back in the– well, shut up, kid. Some of us remember that.

Parent activist Dora Taylor in Seattle writes that Bill Gates is so eager to gain control of the Washington State Supreme Court that he is backing a climate-change denier for a seat on the state’s highest court.

So we know that billionaires can buy legislators; they do that all the time. Now will they be able to buy Washington’s highest court, which had the nerve to stand up for public education as defined in the state constitution?

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

II

“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

III

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

IV

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

V

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

VI

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: http://www.thenewstribune.com/news/politics-government/article106406507.html#storylink=cpy

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.