Thursday, March 24, 2011

Gates spends millions to promote his view of school change

Gates spends millions to sway public ( and you) on ed reform
By Valerie Strauss - Washington Post 
The Bill and  Melinda Gates Foundation is spending at least $3.5 million to create a new organization whose aim is to win over the public and the media to its market-driven approach to school reform, according to the closely held grant proposal.
The organization is tentatively called “Teaching First,” and already has a chief executive officer: Yolie Flores, a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education, who has championed such issues as public school choice and teacher effectiveness. Flores did not immediately return phone calls for comment. A Gates foundation spokesman said she would take over the job fulltime when her board term is up in June.
The Gates proposal lays out a strategy to win public approval for the foundation’s investment of more than $335 million in teacher effectiveness programs in four school districts that involve controversial initiatives including linking teacher pay to student standardized test scores. Critics say this “value-added” model-based test scores is unfair measure of how well a teacher is doing because there are many factors that go into how well a student does on a test.
The plan includes campaigns to reach out to parents, teachers, students, business and civic and religious leaders, and to build “strong ties to local journalists, opinion elites, and local/state policymakers and their staffs.” The plan explains how the organization will ensure “frequent placement ... in local media coverage of issues related to teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers” in accordance with the Gates approach. 
Read the entire piece at  http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/gates-spends-millions-to-sway.html   See posts below. 


Does this sound like what Mayor Kevin Johnson and Michele Rhee are doing in Sacramento?
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