Sunday, January 23, 2011

Follow Up to Data Mining

Posted for

Sandra in Brevard

The United Way is hosting community conversations to promote civil discourse on education reform across Florida, North Carolina, and Tennessee this month. This “listening tour” on teacher effectiveness is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. If the scheduled ones are inconvenient, the United Way offers a way to form a convenient one, call them and they will explain how. Looks to me as though a civil conversation on educational reform is happening right here at Grumpyelder's place where there is no need to leave any personal information or details that could be mined later by an algorithm.

Here’s some additional information:

Hillsborough County has a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

According to the Broad Foundation, Data Quality Control (DQC) begia assisting states in 2005 to build educational longitudinal data bases. The DQC website, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is listed as its founder.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a national venture philanthropy established by philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science and the arts. The Foundation funds the Broad Residency, which searches for individuals with MBA's and in industry for candidates to take rapid training to take on positions as superintendents and other managerial positions in our nation's school districts. The Broad Foundation subsidizes salaries once hired on. The Broad Center announced it's placed "the largest class of 42 early career executives into 28 public education systems, expanding for the first tie into state departments of education." One Broad Resident now works for Hillsborough County Public Schools.

The Broad Foundation received a $3.6 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to recruit and train as many as 18 Broad Residents over the next four years to provide management support to school districts and charter management organizations addressing the issue of teacher effectiveness. "Broad Residents will help school systems dramatically improve the recruitment, selection, training, placement and evaluation of teachers". The Gates Foundation grant is the first multi-million-dollar grant The Broad Residency has received from a funder other than The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation.


All Broad Residents have M.B.A.s or other advanced degrees. Seventy-four percent of this year’s class, selected from a candidate pool of more than 2,500 applicants, come from leading business and law schools such as Harvard University, Duke University or the University of Michigan. Participants have an average of 10 years of experience, typically from a Fortune 500 or other major company. Fifty-two percent are people of color. The Broad Residency continues to be far more selective—at 2 percent—than the highest-rated M.B.A. programs. The Broad Residency ( pays 50 percent of each Resident’s salary the first year, and 25 percent the second year, with the partner organization paying the balance, except where a Resident is already employed by that organization.

© SandraInBrevard, All Rights Reserved


  1. The Foundation funds the Broad Residency, which searches for individuals with MBA's and in industry for candidates to take rapid training to take on positions as superintendents and other managerial positions in our nation's school districts. The Broad Foundation subsidizes salaries once hired on.
    Wonder if we can get BP to train people for management jobs at the EPA, and once they get the jobs BP, can subsidize their salary.


  2. I do respect Bill Gates for his business success inspite of his dropping out. Most geniuses will succeed regardless of education. However I do not want him influencing curriculum in our public schools. As to Melinda Gates, she married well.

    If one persons personal philosophy is going to be stressed to our most vulnerable and receptive students, I would prefer it be the philosophy of George Will, Cal Thomas, or Laura Ingraham.

  3. Marine, you left out the Old Jarhead, I'm surprised.

    I'm not liking the idea of anyone's philosophy being used to indoctrinate our kids.. I'm also wondering how good a job our schools are doing if graduates can't handle the 2+X=4 sample problem Capt mentioned earlier.

  4. There's no evidence that any foundation is influencing what is taught in the schools or what books are used. That remains under the control of individual states. What is happening is related to improving student test scores. There are a couple of blogs yet to come on the topic of education reform, which I hope give a fuller picture.

    I've spent 8 months on this. I object to the lack of information on what will and will not be stored on data bases for a student's entire school career, the security and privacy failures as reported by the Fordham Law Center, the apparent lack of parental consent, and the relegating of parents and the public to the sidelines. While Gates and others are generously donating, the taxpayer remains the major "donor." I am unconvinced that these approaches are the appropriate ones, particularly when Florida has a huge deficit. Soon Florida legislators will be rolling out their bills for reform measures. Let's see what they come up with this year.

  5. Grumpy R. Lee Ermey is better than John Wayne, but a few might consider him an extremist.

  6. Charitable foundations for big business and billionaires is also good business.

    Even better when steer the foundation in a direction that will advance your business interests in the future.

    The Feds are paying Florida almost 10 mil to "test" the program. That means there is a cost attached.

    Gates is spending a ton of money to place people in management positions on local school boards. In the near future, these people will be in a position to make or strongly influence purchasing decisions.

    Then there's that;

    "provide several different reporting capabilities for use by a myriad of stakeholders"

    Who are these other stakeholders? What does it cost to become a stakeholder? What would Google, for example pay to be able to incorporate this data into their existing data base?

    We know that that the data will contain a personal identification mechanism. That makes it even more attractive to a Google, Amazon or hacker.

    Even if Bill and Melinda Gates have the most honorable intentions, (I'm Skeptical) the scheme looks like an open invitation for misuse.

  7. Great to see the debate here. I share others' concerns about whose voices are driving the reform efforts. To that end, my organization started a project two years ago that focuses on confidentially and anonymously gathering STUDENT input into what's working and not working in their schools. The project, YouthTruth, ( has surveyed more than 50,000 students attending 119 high schools around the country thus far. Our goal is to bring students' perspectives and input to bear on shaping school reform efforts locally at individual schools, at the district / network level, and also among education funders. In full disclosure, Gates is a major supporter and lead funder of this program.

  8. Since Valerie Threlfall was kind enough to drop by, and since this discussion isn't likely to end soon, I posted a hot link to her site.

    Just click on Youth Truth, directly above the Contributor List on the right.

  9. Home schooling is ever more attractive

  10. Been considering it ever since Sandra published the first Data Mining Blog

  11. Ms. Threlfal, Thank you for your disclaimer. I see your organization is involved in rigorous data collection and analysis of high school student views and asking schools for participation. I see the members of your advisory board and Their affiliation. I am somewhat surprised....not a single individual who has a track record working with teens is on board. I also note your organization is part of Effective Philanthropy, not just a non-profit that got money to fund a project. Unfortunately these efforts may be driven with good intentions, but if the experiment goes wrong who will end up cleaning this up, but taxpayers. Who is hurt along the way?


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