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Friday, August 14, 2009

Gates Plays Favorites (and Well, It's His Money)

This excerpt from Education Weekly really needs no comment except guess who isn't on the list.

"The Seattle-based Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has hand-picked states to receive up to $250,000 each to hire consultants to help them fill out their applications. Those states are Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

They represent either states in which Gates is already invested—or which the foundation thinks are on the right path to school improvement.

Chris Williams, a foundation spokesman, said he would not comment on any Race to the Top work the foundation is doing in states.

But state officials have wasted no time in making use of the assistance. Kentucky, for one, is hiring the Bridgespan Group—a national nonprofit- and philanthropic-consulting firm—with its money from the Gates Foundation.

“That group will be a key component in our application, helping us structure it and get the appropriate information entered,” said Lisa Gross, a Kentucky education department spokeswoman. “We will be working very closely, in some cases on a daily basis, with ... Bridgespan.”

Also from the article:

"Merely filling out the award application will take each state 642 hours, according to the U.S. Department of Education, which included that estimate in its 35-page draft guidelines for the Race to the Top competition, published late last month in the Federal Register."

7 comments:

speducator said...

It's interesting to note that most of the states mentioned are right-to-work states.

taylor said...

To add some more information.... about half, 8 out of 15, ARE right to work states. Massachusetts, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, above the Mason-Dixon line, ARE NOT right-to-work state. So the unions are not the reason for getting or not getting the Gates funding.

Let's also note that all states that got the Gates funding, with the exception to Kentucky, have other public educational options through public charter schools. The purpose of charter schools is, for a limited time (the charter), to try different public education strategies to meet student needs that can be shared knowledge with school districts. The charters are not issued forever and charter schools become the R&D, research and development tools, for public schools.

Keep in mind that there are only 10 states, Washington State included, who do not allow public charter schools. Washington just missed out on big federal dollars because of the lack of public options, other accountability standards and measures (i.e.,no teeth to the WASL results) and R&D to traditional public schools.

So its not just the Gates, but the feds who have passed up our stellar system! Look we aren't being rewarded for our progressive views on public education... or lack there of. If public education is not a state priority (still) for our residents, then how can we expect others, the big money people, to be remotely interested in the investment.

Our state actions and lack of forward movement speaks volumes!

Josh Hayes said...

taylor says:

"The purpose of charter schools is, for a limited time (the charter), to try different public education strategies to meet student needs that can be shared knowledge with school districts."

I keep asking this question, and I still haven't heard an answer that makes sense.

Why are "charter schools" necessary to try different public education strategies? Why can't they just be experimental schools, or alternative schools, under the aegis of the existing public school system? In short, why are charter schools even necessary?

Clearly there's some code involved here that specifies how a charter school is really different from an alternative school, but nobody has ever been able to articulate that in my experience.

It's not that charter schools are the make or break factor in this funding effort -- clearly, CA and NY are intended to be excluded as well, and CA at least has charter schools.

MathTeacher42 said...

15 states times 642 hours = 9630 hours of work.

there are 1200 kids at my high school. 60% are really behind in basic basic basic math.

(1200*.6)/25 = 34 classrooms of kids lacking skills, 25 kids per class.

an extra adult in EACH classroom, times 180 classes a year

= 6120 hours of needed help IN MY HIGH SCHOOL.

Instead of help IN THE CLASSROOM, a bunch of EDU-PARASITES at think tanks, at state headquarters, at district headquarters, at who-knows-where DC agency ...

a bunch of paper pushing powerpoint making parasites are going to get about 10,000 hours of pay to push e-paper and real paper around!

disclaimer - if I was elected to ANYTHING tomorrow I'd start figuring out how to put ALL 6 figure AIG, Goldman, GM, Fredd, Fanny and Exxon execs in jail for ripping off the community. I am NOT some the-private-sector-is-magic loon.

the usa has the richest society, for the most, ever seen on earth, and our management classes are either stealing it for pyramids and pyramid schemes, or blowing it on more ridiculous powerpoint presentations.

bm.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Taylor, I'd love to see the data on how many charters when out of use on their own (and not via closures or money problems). I have never read anything about charters being R&D for public schools. And again, we in Seattle have alternative schools for R&D. The only thing they haven't done is opted their teachers out of the union but otherwise they are very charter-like (except for the ability to limit who attends them).

The Feds have chosen a route to make it so they punish (blackmail) states that don't have their requirements. When we in WA State didn't choose charters, we had no idea that somewhere down the line, we wouldn't get federal money because of it. And, it's not really a reason to change now.

Sahila said...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/arne-duncan-has-become-a_b_260563.html

see above story for information regarding who Arnie Duncan chooses to associate with....

It doesnt take a clairvoyant (LOL- self mockery!) to see what's coming down the pike. Do you want where this is leading for your kids?

If not, isnt it time we all got together and worked to change direction?

Sahila said...

http://www.register-pajaronian.com/V2_news_articles.php?heading=0&page=77&story_id=7575


Education Secretary Arne Duncan, the Gates and Broad Foundations and local lobby groups are pushing (SPS) for merit-pay for teachers in the current contract negotiations... see this opinion piece about the status of teachers and their fight to be regarded as professionals, the responsibilities they undertake daily on our society's behalf, and the lack of respect and pay they receive in return... If you agree with this opinion and you think its time for things to change - please take action! Call me on 206 297 7511 if you want to know what you can do...