Monday, May 23, 2011

Susan Ohanian on Behind Grassroots School Advocacy

A little while ago, I mentioned several other Education Bloggers had, like Sandra  in Brevard  figured out what was going on before the NTY published it's piece about the Gates/Obama education shenanigans..  I'm sure most are going to have something to say about the NYT  finally figuring out what they knew months ago..  As I see them post their reactions I'll publish some of them here.

Sue Ohanian isn't afraid to share her opinions, six months ago I'd have said she was nuts. She was that far ahead of everyone else... Sandra sent me an email telling me Sue had already posted her opinion so I took a look...  I hope the NYT, Obama and Gates all read it

All the News that's Fit to Print and What the New York Times Leaves Out
Susan Notes:

This is a supplement to Sam Dillon's front-page New York Times article Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates, May 22, 2011.

Mr. Gates is creating entirely new advocacy groups. The foundation is also paying Harvard-trained data specialists to work inside school districts, not only to crunch numbers but also to change practices. It is bankrolling many of the Washington analysts who interpret education issues for journalists and giving grants to some media organizations.
--Sam Dillon, The New York Times, front page, May 22, 2011

What Good News: Sam Dillon at the New York Times has discovered that "local teachers who favor school reform" are actually operatives for a national organization, Teach Plus, financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

What Bad News: For years, a number of us have been screaming about Gates buying up education policy but nobody would listen.

But let's celebrate what has happened. This story revealing Gates funding everything from the development (and evaluation) of Common Core Standards to the promotion of the public school-bashing "Waiting for 'Superman'" film was front-page news in the paper of record. And until this happened, the Gates' Foundation's wealth has put it beyond criticism--except by those of us marginalized as the lunatic fringe. In a spirit of collegiality, I offer a few notes to flesh out Dillon's account.

For starters, take a look at the way the Gates Foundation is commonly portrayed: Paul Hill's A Foundation Goes to School, in Education Next, Winter 2006.

Although the Hoover Institution publishes Education Next, the business office is at Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard Kennedy School. Paul Peterson, Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, is the editor-in-chief. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution is senior editor. Finn also lists himself as "public servant." The Next mission statement takes the high road, professing that the publication "partakes of no program, campaign, or ideology. It goes where the evidence points." That said, in February 2010 the Gates Foundation gave Next $224,030 to support their Charter Initiative.

On June 7, 2007, Bill Gates, at the time, the world’s richest man, received an honorary doctorate from Harvard.

Few Degrees of Separation
Gates operates in a small world of kissing kin. Everybody is inter-connected. Dillon doesn't mention that Monique Burns Thompson, President of Teach Plus, is a co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools. Before that, she was assistant brand manager at Quaker Oats. Heather Peske, National Director of Programs, was formerly Director of Teacher Quality at Education Trust. She launched her career in education as a Teach for America corps member.

There are plenty of Ivy League graduates on their Board of Advisors, which means:
1) They have the connections to make things happen; 2) They have both of Barack Obama's ears. Obama can't seem to say no to Ivy League pundits.


I hope everyone read Susan's entire blog.

I don't think anyone knows the full extent of Gates' influence buying and manipulation..  What we know and is already provable is that it's been considerable.

That should be grounds to put the Presidents Education Schemes on hold until we figure out what's going on.. 


  1. The National PTA and both teacher's unions are also recipients of Gates Foundation money.

    Ohanian also notes that the funding sources becomes a tax write off for the Foundations and the non-profits they create. Good for them. Bad for the taxpayer on two fronts - one a loss in tax revenues and taxpayers end up funding the unfunded unfundable mandates anyway.

    All Republican candidates for President, except Pawlenty, as I understood him, support the current education reform efforts.

  2. As of this moment I support a suspention of the current reform effort until it becomes very clear who did what and why... We know Bill Gates stands to make a fortune off the reforms,, More than enought to make up for the hundreds of millions he' spent promoting it..

    Duncan crafted the law to benefit Gates.. that's enough for a caution sign..

  3. I am fully onboard with Windows 7.0 and IE 9.0, but Mr. Gates is not known for doing anything that does not benefit MicroSoft. IE too closely resembles the early version of Netscape, Word is very close to Wordperfect, and Excell reminds me of Lotus 123. With arnie onboard it most likely benefits MS and the DOE. NOT the students.


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