The thing that gets pushed aside with “school reformers” is the link between poverty and lower grades. I never fully understood this country’s contempt for the poor until now. You truly have to experience it as a poor person to understand. You’re worse than criminals because at least criminals get three hots and a cot. What does Congress do? Cut funding to the Housing and Urban Development and cut food stamps.
And I found this excellent post by Joanne Barkan on the fallacy of “school reform” by Gates, Broad, et al. It is sickening how Gates has manipulated data, ignored poverty, and is stealthily racist when you view the public schools that closed being heavily minority. Gates shoveled millions upon millions towards this boondoggle when instead he could have paid taxes so that those schools would be well-funded and able to have smaller class size so that teachers could help those that had more difficulty learning, or it could have helped the poor kids get nutritious meals cooked from scratch….the simple solutions that would have the greatest impact.
From the website:
In November 2008, Bill and Melinda gathered about one hundred prominent figures in education at their home outside Seattle to announce that the small schools project hadn’t produced strong results. They didn’t mention that, instead, it had produced many gut-wrenching sagas of school disruption, conflict, students and teachers jumping ship en masse, and plummeting attendance, test scores, and graduation rates. No matter, the power couple had a new plan: performance-based teacher pay, data collection, national standards and tests, and school “turnaround” (the term of art for firing the staff of a low-performing school and hiring a new one, replacing the school with a charter, or shutting down the school and sending the kids elsewhere).
Sickening, isn’t it??
States were desperate for funds (in the end, thirty-four applied in the two rounds of the contest).
Enter the Gates Foundation. It reviewed the prospects for reform in every state, picked fifteen favorites, and, in July 2009, offered each up to $250,000 to hire consultants to write the application. Gates even prepared a list of recommended consulting firms.
That pretty much says it right there. States were desperate for funds –they had little choice.
In the same article, the Post broke the news that Bill Gates had “secretly bankrolled” Learn-NY, a group campaigning to overturn a term-limit law so that Michael Bloomberg could run for a third term as New York City mayor. Bloomberg’s main argument for deserving another term was that his education reform agenda (identical to the Gates-Broad agenda) was transforming city schools for the better. Gates put $4 million of his personal money into Learn-NY.
And this should be great cause of concern:
On October 7 and 8, 2010, the Columbia Journalism Review ran a two-part investigation by Robert Fortner into “the implications of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s increasingly large and complex web of media partnerships.” The report focused on the foundation’s grants to the PBS Newshour, ABC News, and the British newspaper the Guardian for reporting on global health.
Both Gates and Broad funded “NBC News Education Nation,” a week of public events and programming on education reform that began on September 27, 2010. The programs aired on NBC News shows such as “Nightly News” and “Today” and on the MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo TV networks.
Gates and Broad also sponsored the documentary film Waiting for Superman
As a vehicle for their partnership, the foundation and Viacom (with some additional funds from the AT&T Foundation) set up a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization called the Get Schooled Foundation.
There is a reason that Ronald Reagan’s and Bill Clinton’s FCC* allowed more consolidation of the media–the press has always been part of the Fourth Estate that kept Congress and the President in check. If the media was weakened with consolidation, it concentrated ownership which in turn shut off different opinions, viewpoints, and independent voices. It also stifled competition between media….ironic coming from people who often bring up “encouraging competition” as a reason for allowing bank deregulation, relaxing EPA rules, and repealing or relaxing antitrust regulation.
The corporate takeover of public schools got a foothold because the media was not doing its job of investigating what was going on and who was behind it….because they were being bankrolled by those very people they should have been investigating.
*The Federal Communications Commission is staffed by presidential appointees. The American public owns the airwaves, but those rights are being taken away from them by media consolidation.
The link between poverty and how well a child does in school broaches the subject of healthcare. Children who live in poor areas are more likely to be exposed to toxic environments. Heavy metals seriously impact one’s ability to learn, one’s ability to remember, and one’s ability towards impulse control–all of these impact a child’s education. In addition, as anyone who has read this blog knows, ADD is a problem when heavy metals are involved–totally frustrating a child who may get distracted and lose focus during the teacher’s instruction, missing important information.
Diane Ravitch has a blog on the Badass Teachers Association:
I didn’t know what they meant when I searched for G4s –it came up a security agency and had many links including Israel. However, when I searched for Gates and prisons, voila.
So I’m trying to wrap my brain around this, because Gates had invested in Monsanto, which purchased Blackwater/Xe…
…..so I’ve read several different sites that claim Monsanto did NOT buy Blackwater. Stay tuned…jury is still out.
Whether Monsanto owns Blackwater or not, it is still a reprehensible corporation, and owning prisons?
Yeah…this would not have been possible if we didn’t have state governments privatizing state services like prisons…
Do you get the theme here? Privatizing schools, privatizing prisons, cornering the biotech market and bullying farmers….
…but convicted of two other counts that could land him in prison for 130 years….which is life, in other words.
…for a political crony. Oh.My.God. (hat tip to Diane Ravitch)
Bennett denies the charge by a sentence I’m still trying to unravel…the system had to be changed to make the system valid…? Whaa….?
I hope, hope, hope this is the beginning of the end of corporate takeover of our public schools. …of Mitch Daniels out of Purdue and his crony Board of Trustees….
What a bunch of crooks!!
Oh, and THANK YOU TOM LOBIANCO for being a badass journalist. JOURNALIST!
I think that everyone who proclaims to know how to teach and more importantly, knows what we need to *cough* fix education should be required to teach for an entire school year. Absolutely.
…but then, the poor kids they would be in charge of would lose an entire school year of education…and they’d be worse off than before.
…because if you don’t see it, it’s not there, okay?
…and really, $380 on coffee per month while denying someone real food to live…? No shame.