Gates funded “independent” media cheers Gates plan to privatize public education in Liberia

In stunning expose written by Adam Johnson of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), it becomes undeniably clear that Bill Gates has reached the point where his billions not only fund the myriad of corporate education reform initiatives that are sweeping the country and the world, but his investment in the media taints much of the coverage of these developments.

In an article entitled, This Guardian Piece Touting Bill Gates’ Education Investment Brought to You by Bill Gates, FAIR’s Adam Johnson explains;

The Guardian (8/31/16) published a broadly positive report on Liberian education, which is handing over the reins of 120 primary schools to a consortium of private education companies and NGOs in a pilot program exploring privatization of the West African nation’s schools. One passage in particular was especially glowing:

The deputy minister [of Education], Aagon Tingba, is reading The Bee Eater, a biography of Michele Rhee, a polarizing educational reformist and former chancellor of Washington, DC, public schools.

“She changed the lives of children in Washington, but people complained her methods were controversial. But she made a difference. So why can’t we do that here?”

What the piece failed to note—other than the fact that Rhee’s tenure left DC’s schools “worse by almost every conceivable measure” (Truthout, 10/23/13)—is that multi-billionaire Bill Gates is both the major investor of the company administering the Liberian education overhaul and the principal of the Gates Foundation, sponsor of the Guardian’s Global Development vertical, where the story appeared.

The story clearly labels the Gates Foundation as its sponsor. What it never mentioned is that Bill Gates is a major investor of the firm at the heart of the story, Bridge Academies International, having pitched in, along with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg and eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar, $100 million for the “education startup.”

Making the conflict more glaring is the fact that this is a personal, for-profit investment for Gates, not a charitable donation.

The Guardian claims its Global Development vertical, launched in 2011, is “editorially independent of any sponsorship.” According to its most recent tax filings in 2014, the Gates Foundation has an on-going $5.69 million grant to Guardian News Media Limited.

This is hardly the first time that the Gates subsidized coverage of himself has led to a positive news angle.  Adam Johnson adds,

The Guardian has run other puff pieces on the Gates Foundation in this vertical, such as “Gates Foundation Annual Letter: What Do You Think of Their Vision?” (1/22/15), which is basically an investment letter, along with “Melinda Gates Hits Out at ‘War on Women’ on Eve of Summit” (7/7/12) and “Bill Gates: Digital Learning Will Revolutionize Education in Global South” (1/22/15).

Johnson goes on to point out that,

FAIR has written for years about how Gates’ investment tentacles influence the media. He’s done softball interviews pushing common core with ABC (3/18/14), helped bankroll charter school reporting at the LA Times(8/24/15), funded the talking heads behind Race to the Top (9/1/10).

The Gates Foundation gives grants in the hundreds of thousands and often millions to such media organizations as NBCUniversal, Al Jazeera, BBC, Viacom (CBS) and Participant Media (the producer of pro-charter school documentary Waiting for Superman). Both Gates and the Gates Foundation are sizable shareholders in Comcast, which is the primary investor in Buzzfeed and Vox, as well the parent corporation of MSNBC and NBC News–the latter of which teamed up with Gates and other noted education experts like Exxon and University of Phoenix Online for the week-long charter school commercial “Education Week”.

And Johnson properly concludes;

In the case of the Guardian, Gates effectively owns an entire vertical, so when one of his investments is written up, one doesn’t notice the conflict of interest—like a fish doesn’t notice water. Because his influence is everywhere, it appears to be nowhere.

You can read and comment on Adam Johnson’s entire piece at: http://fair.org/home/this-guardian-piece-touting-bill-gates-education-investment-brought-to-you-by-bill-gates/

FYI – The following is background about Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting;

FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. As an anti-censorship organization, we expose neglected news stories and defend working journalists when they are muzzled. As a progressive group, FAIR believes that structural reform is ultimately needed to break up the dominant media conglomerates, establish independent public broadcasting and promote strong non-profit sources of information.

You can contribute to FAIR via the following link: https://www.cambeywest.com/subscribe2/?p=EXT&f=donate

Selling the Common Core – Bill and Melinda Gates’ Audacious Plan to Control Public Education  

“If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none…Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy…” – Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)

February 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the National Association of State Boards of Education – “to build the capacity of State Boards of Education to better position them to achieve full implementation of the Common Core standards.”

April 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) – “to assist teachers in understanding and implementing the Common Core State Standards.”

June 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the Council of Chief State School Officers – “to support the Common Core State Standards work.”

June 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) – “to promote education policy reform at the state and federal level…”

June 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the National Urban League Inc. – “to promote national and state advocacy, engagement and education reform efforts throughout the National Urban League affiliate movement…”

November 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the Military Child Education Coalition – “to develop and execute an advocacy campaign in support of the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in multiple states by leveraging the voices and actions of its network of military families and uniform leadership.”

November 2011:  A Gates Foundation grant to the New Venture Fund – “to support efforts to better engage and mobilize public support for educational policy and advocacy goals, especially around common core standards and effective teaching reforms within and among the faith community and faith leaders .”

The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people. – Tom Clancy

Enter Bill and Melinda Gates et.al.

Led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation (Owners of Wal-Mart) and the Eli Broad Foundation, along with the “Irrational Exuberance” of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the Common Core and Common Core testing system have rocketed from an untested conceptual notion of education reform to the untested national standards and systems that are rapidly undermining public education in the United States.

In a June 2014 article entitled, “How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution,” The Washington Post examined what it called, “the swiftest and most remarkable shifts in education policy in U.S. history.”

Today, while much of the discussion about “Education Reform” revolves around the diversion of scarce public funds to privately owned and practically unaccountable charter schools and the debate about whether the Common Core Standards are useful or appropriate and whether the unfair and discriminatory Common Core testing scam can be derailed, there is a growing realization that the rise of the Common Core is one of the biggest public relations snow jobs in American history.

And like the Common Core itself, much of the credit for the “Selling of the Common Core” goes to Bill and Melinda Gates and their Gates Foundation which has successfully bought up key constituencies and advocacy groups across the political spectrum.

Earlier this year (May 2015), the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss reported that, “Gates Foundation pours millions more into Common Core.”   Strauss wrote;

Bill Gates famously spent hundreds of millions of dollars to develop, implement and promote the now controversial Common Core State Standards. He hasn’t stopped giving.

In the last seven months, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has poured more than $10 million into implementation and parent support for the Core… [Including] $3.7 million to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to support the Core at a time when it has come under increasing attack across the country, for both educational and political reasons.

[…]

Opposition to the Core has grown stronger this year with the rise of the opt-out movement, in which hundreds of thousands of parents around the country are opting their children out of Core-aligned standardized testing.  The attacks on the Core — which include moves by some states to repeal them and create new standards — have alarmed supporters, some of whom have been pushing back against the criticism. That explains a letter that a nonprofit group called Children Now just released, disseminated via e-mail that had a subject line that says, “At critical juncture 500 California organizations affirm support for Common Core.” Not so incidentally, Children Now has received at least $2 million from the Gates Foundation since 2011.

Money to assist the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Children Now, the Pro-Common Core advocacy group, promote Gates’ Education Reform and Common Core agenda is just the tip of a much bigger effort by Gates and the Corporate Education Reform Industry to control the debate about public education in the United States and dismiss, trivialize and silence opponents of the Common Core and the public school privatization mania that is sweeping the country.

The following are just some of the grants that the Gates Foundation has handed out in recent years to help ensure that a “positive” Common Core message is fed to the nation’s parents, children, teachers, policymakers and taxpayers;  

 

ORGANIZATION YEAR AMOUNT
National Association of State Boards of Education  2009 $450,000
     
Alliance for Excellent Education Inc.                         2009 $551,000
  2010 $3,200,000
  2013 $425,000
     
Council of State Governments 2010 $400,000
  1011 $370,000
     
Education Commission of the States  2010 $799,000
     
New Visions for Public Schools, Inc.  2010 $8,150,000
  2013 $80,000
     
National Governors Association  2010 $1,294,000
  2013 $750,000
     
National Association of State Boards of Education  2011 $1,078,000
  2013 $80,000
 
   
American Federation of Teachers  2011 $1,000,000
  2012 $4,400,000
     
Military Child Education Coalition 2011 $150,000
  2013 $564,000
     
NAACP 2011 $1,006,000
     
National Urban League Inc. 2011 $2,899,000
     
Council of Chief State School Officers  2011 $9,389,000
  2012 $1,100,000
  2013 $800,000
  2013 $4,000,000
  2013 $1,959,000
     
Council of Great City Schools  2011 $5,511,000
  2013 $2,000,000
     
Americas Promise-The Alliance For Youth  2011 $500,000
  2013 $100,000
     
New Venture Fund  2011 $378,000
  2013 $1,150,000
  2014 $12,750,000
     
Hunt Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy  2011 $501,000
  2012 $45,000
  2013 $100,000
  2013 $500,000
  2013 $1,749,000
     
Children Now 2011 $900,000
  2014 $475,000
  2015 $700,000
  2015 $150,000
     
Student Achievement Partners Inc.  2012 $4,043,000
     
National Education Association  2012 $100,000
  2013 $3,883,000
  2013 $502,000
  2014 $100,000
     
PTA (National Congress of Parents and Teachers) 2013 $660,000
     
Council for a Strong America 2013 $2,200,000
     
National Catholic Educational Association 2013 $100,000
     
Foundation for Excellence in Education Inc. 2013 $2,000,000
     
Center for American Progress 2013 $550,000
     
National Conference of State Legislatures 2013 $557,000
     
U.S. Chamber of Commerce 2013 $1,911,000
  2015 $3,701,000
     
Partnership for Learning 2013 $750,000
     
United Way 2014 $1,213,000
     
Ed Week – Editorial Projects in Education Inc. 2014 $750,000
     
Children Now 2011 $900,000
  2014 $475,000
  2015 $700,000
  2015 $150,000
     
Leadership Educational Achievement Inc. 2014 $225,000
     
Silicon Valley Education Foundation 2014 $750,000
     
Stand for Children  2014 $2,551,000
     
The Match Foundation, Inc. 2014 $341,000
     
Learning First Alliance 2014 $366,000
     
Consortium for Educational Change 2014 $7,500,000
     
George W. Bush Institute 2014 $120,000
     
The Get Schooled Foundation 2015 $1,576,000
     
Parent Institute for Quality Education, Inc. 2015 $307,000
     
GreatSchools, Inc. 2015 $800,000
     
WestEd 2015 $4,095,000

And the list goes on and on…

For as Doors lead singer Jim Morrison said,

Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” 

Money Talks – By Ann Policelli Cronin at Real Learning Blog

Ann Policelli Cronin is an education advocate and fellow blogger.  Many of her commentary pieces have been featured here at Wait, What? and in other Connecticut media outlets.  Ann is a Connecticut educator who taught middle and high school English and was named  Connecticut Outstanding English Teacher of the Year. She currently is a consultant in English education for school districts and university schools of education.  You can bookmark and read her blog at Real Learning CT.

In her piece entitled, Money Talks, Ann lays out the extremely troubling reality about how the wealthiest many in the world is undermining public education in the United States.  Ann Policelli writes,

At first, I felt empathy for Bill and Melinda Gates as they spoke about the Common Core in an interview with Gwen Ifill on the PBS NewsHour. I always feel for people who are talking publicly about something about which they know very little. I then reminded myself that these two people who know so little are actually in charge, almost single-handedly, of American education. That is profoundly wrong. Children and adolescents are entitled to the best education their society can provide. And in a democracy, it is unconscionable for the wealthy few to decide what that education will be.

You can watch the 9:54 minute interview with Bill and Melinda Gates here –  please click this link

1. Bill Gates says the Common Core sets high standards, but the Common Core Standards are not high. The Common Core Standards are judged to be harmful and developmentally inappropriate by the most respected early childhood professionals in the country. The math Common Core Standards prepare students for math at the community college level and do not equip students with the high school math to set them on the path for STEM careers. The Common Core English Standards require a pedagogy, popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s but now discredited. The National Council of Teachers of English did not endorse the Common Core. The Common Core is the antithesis of what we know, from John Dewey and many others who have studied the learning process, about how human beings learn because those standards do not teach students to create meaning and construct knowledge.

2. Bill Gates said that the Common Core Standards “have gotten the K-12 progression down”, but the Common Core Standards have not done that. The standards are not based on the cognitive, social, and psychological development of children and adolescents and do not address how children and adolescents learn. Both are required for a K-12 progression.

3. Bill Gates said the Common Core Standards will help students who move from one state to another state, but those standards do not help those students. Standards are not curriculum. Just because using adverbial clauses is part of a Grade 9-10 standard does not mean that it will be taught on the same day or even the same year in Florida and in Massachusetts. There are 188 skills for 9th and 10th graders and no schedule for when they are taught within those two years. To have uniformity of instruction, there would have to be a national curriculum with daily, scripted lessons used in every state at the same time. And that is against the law.

4. Melinda Gates said the Common Core Standards eliminate the need for remediation at the community college level, but the Common Core Standards do not eliminate the need for remediation.  Standards alone never create achievement even when achievement is based on the low bar of standardized tests. According to the Brookings Institute,” the CCSS (Common Core) will have little or no effect on student achievement”. The Brookings Institute report provides data that demonstrates that students in states that adopted the Common Core Standards did not do any better than students in states that did not adopt the Common Core, according to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the largest and most respected national assessment of what U.S. students know and can do.

5. Melinda Gates said that the Common Core Standards were approved by the governors and state commissioners of education, but no governor or state commissioner approved the Common Core Standards. Governors and commissioners voted to adopt a set of standards a year before the Common Core committee convened to write the standards. They had no idea what those standards would be so it is not true to say that governors and commissioners decided that the Common Core Standards were better, higher, or lovelier than the standards the states already had.

6. Melinda Gates said the governors and commissioners of education voted for the Common Core Standards because they knew it was the right thing to do, but doing the right thing was not their goal. They voted for undetermined standards in order to avoid financial sanctions from the federal government for not having 100% proficiency (an impossible goal) as specified by No Child Left Behind.

7. Melissa Gates said teachers believe in the Common Core, but teachers increasingly oppose the Common Core. In fact, the more teachers work with the Common Core, the less they like it, the less they think it’s the right thing.

8. Melinda Gates said teaching the Common Core makes teachers “step up their game”, but teaching the Common Core requires very little of teachers.Teaching the Common Core drains the life out of teachers. Teachers do not need to think critically, plan thoughtfully, and design assessments to evaluate their students’ growth and achievement. Teaching the Common Core also does not give teachers those rewarding moments in which they see their students in love with learning and motivated to stretch themselves as far as they can because the learning environment is so inviting.

9. Bill and Melinda Gates equate assessments of learning with standardized tests. The two are not the same. Not even close. Every educator knows the difference between real achievement and standardized test scores. Bill and Melinda Gates must know that too because they send their children to a private school which neither teaches the Common Core nor assesses students with standardized tests.

10. Bill and Melinda Gates said the best part of their work in education was seeing great teachers at work, but they didn’t ask one teacher to be part of creating standards for K-12 education. How great do they really think teachers are? I would bet, in their work of fighting ebola and finding cures for AIDS, they asked medical people to play key roles. Teachers, K-12 curriculum directors, college professors, and researchers who are knowledgeable about how children and adolescents learn could have created excellent standards for education, but Bill and Melinda Gates didn’t ask them.

Bottom line: Money talks. Even when it doesn’t know what it’s talking about.

Gates Foundation and Scholastic Corporation report that teachers love the Common Core!

Teachers, parents and public school advocates may want to play the YouTube video of Bobby McFerrin – Don’t Worry Be Happy song while reading this blog post.

The USA Today headline reads, “Survey: Common Core standards working well.”

In other words, the USA Today and other “main stream media outlets” are telling the Common Core naysayers to sit down and shut up with all this anti-common core mush.

How do we know the Common Core standards are working well?

Because the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the driving force behind the Common Core and its unfair, inappropriate and expensive Common Core Testing Scheme, along with one of the companies that will profit most from the implementation of the Common Core, have a new public opinion survey showing that public school teachers love the Common Core.

The highlights of the Gates Foundation/Scholastic Corporation survey show the following…

  • As of July 2014, nearly two-thirds of public school teachers report that the implementation of the Common Core is “mostly or fully complete” (65%, up 19 points from 2013), and teachers increasingly agree that the implementation of the Common Core is “going well in their schools” (68%, up six points from 2013).
  • In addition, more public school teachers report feeling prepared to teach to the Common Core, with 79 percent of teachers saying they are “very” or “somewhat” prepared (up eight points from 2013), even as more agree that implementation is challenging (81%, up eight points from 2013).
  • According to the survey, among the challenges that teachers continue to face is “critical resources they need to ensure successful implementation,” with more than eight in ten teachers citing Common Core–aligned instructional materials (86%) and quality professional development (84%), and many teachers wanting additional planning time (78%) as well as opportunities to collaborate with other teachers (78%).  In other words, school districts need to invest in more computers, more common core software and more common core-aligned instructional materials.
  • Finally, an incredible seven in ten (68%) public school teachers report that they are “enthusiastic about Common Core implementation in their classrooms,” although slightly fewer agree this year over last (down five points from 2013).

So where did this wonderful, albeit unbelievable, survey come from?

According to the press release issued by the Scholastic Corporation,

NEW YORK, NY – October 3, 2014 – Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation today released results from a survey of more than 1,600 of America’s pre-K–12 public school teachers who are in the more than 40 states where the Common Core State Standards are being implemented. Focused on how the new standards are affecting teachers’ students and classrooms, the survey found that over the past year the majority of teachers have remained optimistic that the Common Core will lead to greater levels of student achievement and that many are observing positive changes in their classrooms despite some challenges in implementation. This survey, which was conducted in July 2014, is a follow-up with the teachers who responded in July 2013 to the comprehensive survey that comprised Primary Sources: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change

The actual internet survey being reported about today was conducted by YouGov, an on-line multi-national polling company that is headquartered in England and run by a group of businessmen that are primarily associated with Britain’s Conservative Party.

YouGov’s former Chief Executive Office won a seat in Parliament as a Conservative member in 2010 and the company’s current CEO ran as a Conservative Party candidate for Parliament in 1997.  The company’s chairman is a successful media entrepreneur, while YouGov’s president is a well know political commentator in England.

This year’s Gates Foundation/Scholastic Corporation Survey was another in a series of opinion research projects aimed to building government, business and public support for the Common Core and its related standardized testing program.

According to the Scholastic Corporation, “The first edition, which was fielded in 2009 and surveyed more than 40,000 teachers, is widely considered the largest-ever survey of America’s teachers. The following second and third editions were fielded in 2011 and 2013, respectively. The third survey asked 20,000 teachers their views on the many changes occurring in America’s classroom. Acknowledging the fast pace of these changes, the 2014 Update shows the impact of one year on teachers’ views on the Common Core State Standards.”

It is unclear how the 40,000 or 20,000 teachers were selected to participate in the various on-line studies, although see below for how YouGov generally recruits participants.  You can find the report on the 2013 Gates Foundation/Scholastic Corporation survey at:  http://www.scholastic.com/primarysources/2013preview/PrimarySourcesCCSS.pdf and the most 2014 press release on the new study at: http://mediaroom.scholastic.com/press-release/survey-provides-first-hand-look-how-one-year-has-affected-teachers-views-common-core

This year’s survey apparently used a similar on-line questionnaire, this time polling 1,676 pre-K–12 full-time public school classroom teachers.

According to the report released with the survey, “All Common Core State Standards implementation states, plus the District of Columbia, are included in this research with the exception of Delaware. The states not included are Alaska, Nebraska, Virginia, Texas, South Carolina and Indiana. The sample is balanced on population characteristics including grade(s) taught, years of teaching experience, gender and urbanity, as was the case in each edition of Primary Sources.”

Putting aside the broader questions about the selection of participants, the methodology, including the impact of internet based self-selection and the impact that weighting can have on the results, it is important to note that the “2014 Common Core Update…fielded online by YouGov, includes teachers who participate in Primary Sources, Third Edition: America’s Teachers on Teaching in an Era of Change, which was fielded in July 2013.”

This means that the survey was simply a sub-set of teachers who had already shown their support for the Common Core in the 2013 survey.

Some readers may recognize the YouGov name.  The company generally recruits people,

who like to express and share their opinions, and earn points along the way…As a panel member you will receive regular email invitations for new surveys. Every survey you complete earns points that when accumulated can be redeemed for rewards such as movie ticketsgift cards, and other prizes. You will also receive surveys that don’t have points but enter you in a monthly prize draw…All YouGov surveys are completed online and filled out at a time that is convenient for you. Redeem Points for Rewards… Join Today and Receive Our 2000 Points Welcome Bonus.

So there you have it.

Thanks to the Gates Foundation and the Scholastic Corporation we now know that the implementation of the Common Core standards are going great and that an incredible seven in ten public school teachers report that they are “enthusiastic about Common Core implementation in their classrooms.”

Don’t worry, be happy!

Corporate America has everything under control.

Another MUST READ column on Jumoke/FUSE by Sarah Darer Littman

Sarah Darer Littman is an award-winning columnist and novelist of books for teens.  She is also one of the most important voices on behalf of public education in Connecticut.

This week Sarah Darer Littman’s commentary piece on  CTNewsJunkie is a key addition to the discussion about the impact the corporate education reform industry is having in Connecticut and how key players in the Malloy administration, the City of Hartford and various pro-education reform entities are undermining Connecticut’s public education system.

In a piece entitled, “Don’t Let Foundation Money Be A Trojan Horse,” Sarah Darer Littman writes,

“…I read the Hartford Courant report on the discovery that computers and equipment are missing from the Jumoke Academy at Milner…

[…]

Last year, Hartford received a “gift” in the form of a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Hartford is a city where the Board of Education is under mayoral control — a situation the corporate education reformers in this state (and many forces from outside the state) tried extremely hard and spent a lot of money to try to replicate, unsuccessfully, in Bridgeport in 2012

This means that Mayor Pedro Segarra appoints five members of the Hartford Board of Education, and four are elected by the people of Hartford. However, according to its bylaws , the Board is meant to act as a whole.

But that’s not what happened in the case of the $5 million grant announced back in December 2012.

On June 29, 2012, staff members of the Gates Foundation came to Hartford for a meeting. According to a memo former Hartford Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto sent to the Board on October 12, 2012  — which was the first time the wider board knew of the meeting — “Participants included Board of Education Chair Matthew Poland, Mayor Segarra, Hartford Public Schools, Achievement First and Jumoke Academy senior staff members, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Connecticut Council for Education Reform, ConnCAN, and other corporate, community and philanthropic partners.”

[…]

What’s really disturbing is that by funneling a grant through another foundation, a private foundation was able to impose public policy behind closed doors, and what’s more, impose policy that required taxpayer money — all without transparency or accountability.

I had to file a Freedom of Information request in order to get a copy of the paperwork on the Gates grant and what I received was only the partial information, because as Connecticut taxpayers will have learned from the Jumoke/FUSE fiasco, while charter schools consistently argue they are “public” when it comes to accepting money from the state, they are quick to claim that they are private institutions  when it comes to transparency and accountability.

But what is clear from the grant paperwork is that Hartford Public Schools committed to giving more schools to Achievement First and Jumoke Academy/Fuse, a commitment made by just some members of the Board of Education in applying for the grant, which appears to be a clear abrogation of the bylaws. Further, as a result of the commitment made by those board members, financial costs would accrue to Hartford Public Schools that were not covered by the grant — for example, the technology to administer the NWEA map tests, something I wrote about back in December 2012, just after the grant was announced.

One of the Gates Foundation grant’s four initiatives was to “Build the district’s capacity to retain quality school leaders through the transformation of low-performing schools, replicating Jumoke Academy’s successful model of a holistic education approach.”

And the stunning, disturbing and incredible story gets worse…. Much, much worse…

The entire “MUST READ” article can be found at: http://www.ctnewsjunkie.com/archives/entry/op-ed_dont_let_foundation_money_be_a_trojan_horse/

Sarah DarerLittman ends her piece with the observation,

That’s why we need transparency and accountability in our state, not backroom deals structured to avoid the public eye, but which still impact the public purse.

Editor’s Note:

While Sarah is absolutely right about the need for greater transparency and accountability, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that various players within the Malloy administration and the City of Hartford violated the spirit and the letter of Connecticut law.  While great transparency and accountability is vitally important, when it comes to the Jumoke/FUSE issue, indictments and convictions are also in order.

But please take the time to read the commentary piece – Don’t Let Foundation Money Be A Trojan Horse.

PBS/WNET took money for pension coverage, now check out the Gates Foundation and the Common Core

David Sirota’s recent series of investigative articles about the extraordinary conflict of interest displayed by the Public Broadcasting Service and WNET has sent shock-waves through across the country.

Sirota’s articles include;

The Wolf of Sesame Street responds to Pando – much bark, no bite, still stonewalling

The Wolf of Sesame Street: Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS’s news division

Why won’t PBS release details of its $3.5m deal with a billionaire? Here’s a possible answer.

BREAKING: PBS to return John Arnold’s $3.5 million, following Pando exposé

How PBS is becoming the Plutocratic Broadcasting Service

The articles revealed that the Public Broadcasting Service accepted $3.5 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation to pay for a series called The Pension Peril.  John Arnold being the billionaire, former Enron trader.

The PBS series appeared to be slanted in such a way as to represent the conservative, anti-public employee sentiment of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.

After Sirota’s story broke, PBS announced that it would return the money and hold off running any more episodes of the pension series.

Diane Ravitch and Jan Resseger, two of the country’s leading pro-public education advocates blogged about the story.  (Wait What? readers had a chance to read Resseger’s piece cross-posted at UPDATE: PBS sells out to Corporate Education Reform Industry?).

In a post today entitled, More on Conflicts of Interest When Philanthropists Sponsor the News, Jan Resseger observes:

“Attacks on public pensions are central to the corporate school deform agenda to lower salaries and reduce due process for teachers.  This is all part of the attack on teachers unions.  After all, if we economize by paying teachers less, have an easier time getting rid of those expensive older teachers, and deny teachers things like fringe benefits including pensions, we can all pay less taxes.

Make no mistake, this is central to the attack on the price we pay for being the civilized society we like to believe we are.”

But the relationship between the corporate education reform industry and elements of the public broadcasting community go much deeper than the Laura and John Arnold Foundation’s $3.5 million pay to play maneuver with PBS on pensions.

While the news about PBS and the pension series debacle is shocking, the relationship between public broadcasting and the Gates Foundation funded Common Core mouth piece known as The Teaching Chanel (Tch) is even more troubling.

Thanks to an email from a Wait, What? reader named Susan this morning and the earlier investigative work of Susan Ohanian; we can see that the corporate education reform industry’s manipulation of public broadcasting goes much, much deeper than the pension issue.

The Teaching Channel is one of the most vocal proponents of the Common Core.

According to its website, The Teaching Channel is “A video showcase—on the Internet and TV—of inspiring and effective teaching practices in America’s schools.”

“Teaching Channel Presents” is the title of the weekly broadcast television show that airs on public television stations across the nation. The series was created in 2011 and bills itself as “an unprecedented series that opens up classroom doors and showcases inspiring teaching across America.”

WNET Thirteen appears to be the lead station when it comes to airing “Teaching Channel Presents” on public television.

So who is the Teaching Channel?

The Teaching Channel’s Board of Directors is made up of Steve Arnold (Co-Founder and Venture Partner, Polaris Venture Partners),  Louise Henry Bryson (former chair of the J. Paul Getty Trust),  Lisa Gersh (former President and Chief Executive Officer of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc.), Ted Mitchell (President and CEO, NewSchools Venture Fund) and Vicki Phillips (Director of Education, College Ready, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

Over the past three years, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has given the Teaching Channel over $20.2 million dollars.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is Teaching Channel’s primary funder.

In fact, in a bizarre twist, while the Teaching Channel reported to the IRS on their annual 990 report that they had received a total of $11.7 million in donations in 2011 and 2012, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reported that they gave the Teaching Channel a total of $12.9 million during that time period.

Regardless, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is not only the single most important player behind the development and implementation of the Common Core, but along with the Walton Foundation and the Broad Foundation, Gates is among the most important funders of the entire corporate education reform industry.

And the relationship with public broadcasting?

The Teaching Channel’s 2012 IRS 990 filing reveals a $370,091 payment to none-other-than PBS’s WNET in New York.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

You can read Susan Ohanian’s October 3, 2012 piece about the Teaching Channel and the Gates Foundation in her article entitled, Gates Foundation Money at Work.