Friday, May 26, 2017

Hey, Big Spenders (that would be the Gates Foundation)

The Gates Foundation has this notice on their grants page:

Seattle Public Schools


April 2017
to ensure the K-12 team’s work in equity is grounded in the real experiences of teachers, we must engage them directly in our learning
$225
1
K-12, K-12 Education
United States
Seattle, Washington
http://www.seattleschools.org 


Now, my first thought is, "Is that a typo? Because $225 isn't going far.  But this is the Gates Foundation so how could that be?  

As well, notice of this grant has been on Twitter from national public education activist, Leonie Haimson, with this tweet:

Same time @gatesfoundation gave $2M @schoolzilla gave $225 to Seattle pubschls to "ground work" in teacher expernce  

It's too late in the day for me to ask the district but yes, I did ask the Board about this.

Speaking of the Gates Foundation, KUOW has a series, Local Wonder, that examines issues in Seattle of the "what's up with that?" nature that readers submit as questions.

One Anne Martens wrote in, asking about philanthropy in Seattle.

Turns out that she's not just a random listener posing a question. Martens is Senior Communications Officer, Community & Civic Engagement for the Gates Foundation.  (I can find no other Anne Martens in Seattle with that spelling so I feel confident on this one.)
My question is - did KUOW know who she is before they created a report to answer the question?

I would think the reporters who write this series would vet who submitted the question but I'm only a citizen reporter so what do I know? 

But if KUOW wants to give a big wet kiss to the Gates Foundation - as they often do in their reporting- you'd at least think they'd be open about it in this case as well. 

I queried their president and general manager,  Caryn G. Mathes, but no reply yet.  I also posted at their Facebook page.  No reply.  I also tweeted them.  No reply.

Just to note, I'm sure Ms Martens is also the same person who, during the charter law upheaval due to the Supreme Court's decision, told charter schools to stage a fake bake sale because the teachers had done so and received lots of news coverage.  

3 comments:

Sigh said...

KUOW looks REALLY bad. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation requires questions to be delivered in advance.

Last one standing said...

Hi Melissa, it's Anne Martens with the Gates Foundation, and KUOW does know where I work and we talked about the question in advance and whether it was ok to pose the question. We both decided that because we were simply posing the question and leaving it up to the listeners to vote on whether it was worth answering, as well as up to KUOW reporters to independently answer it, it was editorially independent and appropriate. The question is interesting and worth considering because of the many philanthropic endeavors here, and much of the story focused on Bagley Wright and the Pacific Northwest Ballet (do you hate them too?). Local Wonder chooses their questions based on a vote of the people (much like the public charter schools initiative) and that question won based on votes. Thanks for listening!

Melissa Westbrook said...


As for "much of the story was focused,"that's not the point of my thread and you know it, Anne.

As for do I "hate" Bagley Wright and PNB? Of course not. Again,not the point.

I don't "hate" the Gates Foundation because you reserve hate for really bad people and things and the Gates Foundation is neither. But they also don't get to run the world.

I note that ed reformers frequently resort to that kind of reductive rhetoric to get you to look away from the man behind the green curtain.

Thanks for reading!