Tuesday, May 24, 2011

More on how the Gates Foundation funds school performers

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.

Teach Plus Advisory Committee Members
• Margaret Boasberg, The Bridgespan Group [worked extensively on strategies to increase the philanthropy of high net worth individuals]
• Stacey Childress, Harvard Business School
• Rachel Curtis, Human Capital Strategies for Urban Schools [paid $2,000 a day for services on human capital for Chicago Public Schools when Arne Duncan was in charge]  more.

• Ben Fenton, New Leaders for New Schools [cofounder and chief strategy and knowledge officer; formerly at McKinsey & Co]
• Ethan Gray, The Mind Trust [After college, worked as a research assistant at Education Sector in Washington, DC; at Mind Trust he's in charge of "spreading entrepreneurship nationwide"]
• Ellen Guiney, Boston Plan for Excellence [Executive Director of BPE, which now focuses its efforts on "the use of formative assessments to help teachers tailor instruction to individual students, and increased data analysis to inform instructional decisions and professional development"
• Amanda Hillman, Teach for America
• Joanna Jacobson, Strategic Grant Partners
• Jason Kamras, District of Columbia Public Schools [2005 National Teacher of the Year, now director of human capital strategy for teachers in D.C. Public Schools, which includes enthusiastic support of "pay for performance"; former Teach for America corps member]
• Sandra Licon, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [Program Officer, Education Advocacy; office located in Washington D. C.
• John Luczak, Joyce Foundation [conservative foundation gives "innovation grants" to charter schools; previously worked at US Department of Education]
• Julie Mikuta, New Schools Venture Fund [partner focusing on the firm's human capital investment strategy as well as management assistance for a variety of portfolio ventures. She serves on the board of directors of Bellwether Education Partners, Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), KIPP DC, New Teacher Center (NTC), Pacific Charter School Development, and Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC); led trainings for school board and superintendent-teams of large urban districts at the Center for Reform of School Systems, through an initiative supported by The Broad Foundation; Vice President of Alumni Affairs for Teach For America]
• Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Carnegie Corporation [previously Project Director of System Transformation at the New York City Department of Education, working as part of Chancellor Joel Klein's team]
• Lynn Olson, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [one of participants in SMART OPTIONS: INVESTING THE RECOVERY FUNDS FOR STUDENT SUCCESS; former senior editor of Education Week and project editor of their Quality Counts report]
• Elizabeth Pauley, The Boston Foundation [former Teach for America corps member]
• Ari Rozman, The New Teacher Project
• Cara Delzer Stadlin, New Schools Venture Fund
• Mary Wells, Connect the Dots

NOTE: In "Michelle Rhee is 'Not Done Fighting' against public school teachers and unions,” Adam Neenan reported for Substance, Dec. 16, 2010, on one Teach Plus data-collecting strategy as they hosted a by-invitation-only discussion with educational entrepreneur Michelle Rhee.

The unnamed Washington Post blogger referred to by Dillon is, of course, Valerie Strauss. She revealed some of Gates Foundation shady funding in Gates spends millions to sway public on ed reform. She included hot links to important documents in this operation. You won’t want to miss the Confidential Letter.

Don’t you wonder why journalists are so reluctant to acknowledge the good work of other journalists? Why does Valerie Strauss remain unnamed?

In June 2006, Joshua Benton of the Dallas Morning News reported that within the Texas Education Agency, contracts often were not competitively bid but depended on whom one knew at the Gates Foundation.

Diane Ravitch was on target in a July 30, 2006 Los Angeles Times piece: "In light of the size of the foundation's endowment, Bill Gates is now the nation's superintendent of schools. He can support whatever he wants, based on any theory or philosophy that appeals to him." This was positioned as an opinion piece and there was no follow-up from the education press.

Nor was there any media mention of my heavily documented piece in Extra!, September 2010, "'Race to the Top' and the Bill Gates Connection: Who gets to speak about what schools need?"
Read more of this excellent piece at http://susanohanian.org/show_research.php?id=419

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