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Foundations: What If It Were Koch Or Soros Doing The Funding?

image from www.olympicforest.org Longtime readers of this blog already know about and care or don't care about the Gates Foundation's enhanced role in what's politely called advocacy work, but what about the role of independent and mainstream blogs in mainstream news reporting, and what about the use of the tax code to further political goals?  Sam Dillon's NYT article on the Gates Foundation's much-expanded advocacy work (Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy), along with the figures and annotations accompanying the 990 form notes that a revealing Gates Foundation memo appeared on Valerie Strauss's Washington Post blog and quotes Ken Libby, the 990-loving blogger who first uncovered the mis-spending within Green Dot, as well.  That's one glimmer of hope, I'd say (unless of course it turns out that they're getting Gates money).   As for the underlying issue at hand -- are Gates and these groups violating their IRS tax restrictions -- you might want to check out this Steve Krigman article on the recent brouhaha (When "educating" is the same as propaganda) and imagine it's the Koch brothers or Soros doing the giving. Image via.

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We already beat you to imagining a School Board by its funding. Check out our logo and not official letters from notyetLAUSD on our blog. Yes we are nascent, contradictory, and terrible at grammar. We are the teen angst offspring of reform.

an interesting comment cross-posted from my other blog:

Sam Dillion's NYT piece on the Gates connection is a very good example
of investigative journalism. But, I must say what Bill Gates is doing
is little different than the most powerful amongst us have done in
America since the turn of the century. Bill Gates like the robber
Barons of the past have a direct interest in creating or re-creating a
productive and low cost work force. Mr. Gates is also not bad person,
his intentions are consistent with the basic values of our nation which
are driven by our competitive market economy, he wants public sector
education to be in sync with our nation's economy.

If there are some people, like me for instance and Mr. Dillion
possibly, who have some real qualms over Mr. Gates power in the field
of public education, then we really have a larger issue. We have qualms
over how the foundations of our economic system dictate public policy,
effectively we question what is the moral fiber of American capitalism.
Very dangerous thoughts indeed.

Mr. Gates like the Foundation for Educational Choice, which is the
leading supporter of private school vouchers in the nation, is deeply
influenced by Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman's arguments over
the relationship between economic competition and what Dr. Freidman
called liberty. As Friedman put it: ?It is only the tyranny of the
status quo that leads us to take it for granted that in schooling,
government monopoly is the best way for the government to achieve its
objective.? Friedman in the 1960s and 1970s was seen by many as a
free market extremist has now ideologically become very mainstream.

Mr. Gates is part and parcel of a core ideology of our nation. This is
why in terms of philanthropic work Mr. Gates is very similar to Mr.
Broad, and is also very similar to the Walton Family Foundation who the
poster before me cited. Effectively all of the wealthy supporters of
educational improvement are largely on the same page with very limited
disagreements. They have a largely consistent ideology.

There is great fear amongst many educators to take the next step and
look at the larger picture, because after all the vast majority of
educators in the nation most likely voted for President Obama whose
Department of Education has worked closely with the Gates Foundation
funded groups on its Blueprint for Reform the Reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act and Race to the Top. To put it
and forthrightly like Karl Marx did in the 1840s the ruling ideas are
the ideas of the ruling class. Marx was by the way at that time not
attacking capitalists, but describing their ascendency over royal
rulers that were obstructing the creation of a full blown modern market
economy.

Whereas, those supporting a more or less traditional public education
system not driven by competition among schools, and teachers for
students based on the product they deliver are ideologically
fragmented. Most opponents to the Gates takeover of public education
policy are fearful of becoming seen as opponents of the extension of
the ideology of the market to public education because it may put them
in opposition to the core ideology of our nation and the freedom and
liberty that Dr. Friedman espoused. I think Sam Dillion is too fearful
of going too far with his critique and he went as far as he could in
the article.

Rod Estvan

Such a great blog i find many new things in it thanks for the post

For me a big part of the problem of "reform" is that by encouraging turnarounds and school closings, they caused the firing of many teachers who had good performance ratings. I wish that advocates like Gates and others would put their influence into improving the teacher evaluation process, and then making sure that those who have good ratings are not fired.

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