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Bill Gates Thinks Green Energy Zealots Are ‘Dangerous’

Bill Gates offered some surprisingly critical comments about environmental activists who believe the proliferation of renewable energy is the only answer to climate change.

Gates is no stranger to environmental activism. The founder of Microsoft — and a man worth almost $100 billion — has used his wealth to propel a number of climate change initiatives. He currently leads a coalition of billionaires who are investing in clean energy technologies. The philanthropy organization he founded, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is focusing on the adaptation to climate change.

Gates has also invested in the development of advanced nuclear reactors, and a company, Carbon Engineering, that uses technology to capture carbon right out of the sky.

“It’s very American to invent things to help the entire world. We’re always on the front of new science and new product development. So it would be tragic if this was the first time the U.S. didn’t play that role,” Gates said Sunday in an interview with Axios on HBO. It was a wide-ranging conversation that covered his work on global warming.

While he has devoted an enormous amount of money and personal time to helping curb carbon emissions, Gates isn’t afraid to level criticism at environmental activists. The billionaire philanthropist told Axios that people who believe solar and wind development is the sole solution to stopping climate change are just as bad as people who block progress.

“That general impression that ‘Oh, it’s just about solar and wind,’ that I think is as dangerous to us as the fact that in one country, the U.S., there’s a faction that associates with ‘Hey, let’s not make any trade-offs to go in and solve this problem,’” he said.

Gates pointed out at the generation industry is just one of many sectors that releases carbon emissions, and that combating climate change takes a multi-faceted approach.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a news conference as the foundation teams up with the Japan Sports Agency and Tokyo 2020 to promote the Sustainable Development Goals in conjunction with the Olympics, in Tokyo

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a news conference as the foundation teams up with the Japan Sports Agency and Tokyo 2020 to promote the Sustainable Development Goals in conjunction with the Olympics, in Tokyo, Japan, Nov. 9, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

“A lot of people think, OK, renewable energy, wind and solar, has gotten a lot cheaper, isn’t that it?” Gates explained. “Well, electricity is only a quarter of the problem. In fact, we’ve got to solve the entire 100 percent. You know, unless somebody has the pie in their mind that, OK, electricity’s 25 percent, agriculture’s 24 percent, transport’s 14 percent, unless they start with that, we’re not really talking about the same problem.”

Gates’ comments come when wind and solar proponents are increasingly pushing state governments to increase their renewable energy standards. Numerous efforts — much of them funded by billionaire activist Tom Steyer — have sought to increase the renewable energy mandates in varying states.

COLUMN BY

Jason Hopkins

Energy Investigator. Follow Jason on Twitter

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Exposed: A Key Element of the Wind Energy Fraud

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Changing Minds

Two of the finest institutions of higher education in the United States, Columbia and Cornell, have been identified as leading the list of “most anti-Semitic,” as they continue to host Jew hatred events on campus.  By the time our students enter this new phase in their education, they have been well primed for the venomous climate, having been molded into frustrated, resentful, disrespectful, demanding, angry young adults, ill prepared for anything, unable to accept responsibility, and ripe to lash out at others. These young people have already been activated and prepared to join any group that uses “social justice” language, whether warranted or not.

The K-12 classes provide the first toxic element.  Education is being restructured according to a radical political ideology promoted by the White House, Bill and Melinda Gates, and other supporters of a federal takeover of education. The purpose is to produce workers for a Global Economy (aka Agenda 21).  The major players are Valerie Jarrett’s mother, Barbara Taylor Bowman, a member of the Muslim Sisterhood; native-born terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn Ayers (Weather Underground) who support a radical network to defeat America; and Secretary of Education (ret.) Arne Duncan, who promoted the Common Core Standards, with its drastic, untried curriculum overhaul that has lowered school standards to ensure that no child is left behind or excels at the expense of others. This is accompanied by the disturbing data mining that profiles the children (into adulthood) and their families. 

Classical literature, known to improve vocabulary and foster creative expression, thinking, speaking, and writing skills, has been jettisoned in favor of dry, uninspiring informational texts and Dystopian, sexualized, disheartening novels for children whose pre-frontal cortex is insufficiently developed to cope with the dark situations and mature content. The result is depression. Mary Calamia, licensed clinical social worker and psychotherapist in Stony Brook, NY, has reported that children have come to hate school, cry, wet the bed, experience insomnia, and engage in self-mutilation – an increase of 200 to 300 percent more children with serious trauma than before the new curriculum’s introduction.

Math problems once solved in a few steps now require a convoluted system. Karen Lamoreaux, mother of three and member of Arkansas Against Common Core, presented a simple 4th grade division problem to the Board of Education that one could solve in two steps, but now requires 108 steps to completion.  In New York, principals have reported that some students are severely stressed and even vomit during testing.

History has become another endangered learning experience. A popular textbook is Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States,” which focuses on “the exploitation of the majority by an elite minority,” designed to inspire a “quiet revolution.”  Historians heavily criticize the book’s concentration on slavery, racism, and colonialism while omitting America’s enormous achievements for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,. Students do not learn America’s founding documents – The Declaration of Independence, The Articles of Confederation, the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, or the Ten Commandments.  A new vocabulary is in use to give new meaning to old ideas, including “framers” for “founders,” indicating a flexible and distorted view of our history and heritage, and a turn to global governance. 

True history has been replaced with a counterfeit version, introducing the second toxic element. History Alive, another oft-used textbook, contains multiple chapters on Islam (whitewashed of its 1400 years of ongoing bloodshed and conquest), without equal time for Judaism and Christianity. Such studies may also include unscheduled trips to mosques, simulating a hajj to Mecca, girls’ donning traditional Muslim clothing, learning Arabic calligraphy, memorizing the Five Pillars of Islam and the Shahada, the testimony required to become Muslim. And, as if these approaches were insufficient, political indoctrination is included, using the Palestinian narrative to vilify the State of Israel and world Jewry.

To whom do we owe this new development? America’s educational institutions receive significant donations to create Middle Eastern and political science study programs that ensure the installation of anti-American professors. The students are besieged by Islamic and leftist indoctrination that demonize Israel, Jewish and American history, and disallows opposing views. The hate agenda is presented as scholarly and the West is blamed for Islam’s self-imposed or invented ills. Scheduled anti-Israel events are designed to promote the narrative of Israeli colonialism, and to delegitimize and erode support for Israel by advocating a boycott-divestment-sanctions (BDS) effort.

The propaganda campaign is global, well-financed and well-organized but the biggest focus is college campuses, where Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) and the Muslim Student Union use the rhetoric of social justice and human rights, historic Palestine, genocide, apartheid and oppression, to motivate the boycott movement and support the Islamic ideology of conquest. Jewish children are harassed and harmed. Our colleges are becoming breeding grounds for future jihadists who are turned against Israel and will one day soon turn against America.

The groups within the colleges are well-funded arms of the Muslim Brotherhood,  menacingly delivering their accusations and claims of apartheid, maltreatment of women, death to homosexuals, etc against the Jewish state, when, in fact, these are descriptive of the Muslim cultures. Islam allows homosexuality and pedophilia – sexual pleasure with pre-pubescent boys and infants, kidnapping for sexual slavery, polygamy, wife beating, stoning women, disfiguring their daughters with FGM and acid, chopping off hands and feet, death for apostasy, murder of Jewish and Christian civilians – and, quite recently, beheading a 15-year-old Iraqi boy for listening to pop music.  With the complicity of liberal instructors, a crisis is being nurtured for the purpose of acquiring power, diminishing freedom of speech, and promoting an increase of immigrating non-integrating Muslims who, throughhijra, will transform our Western countries. 

The situation has become so critical that schools are providing “safe spaces.” This is a concept not unlike “sacred space,” from Sharia, which Islam has established as an aggressive territorial system that holds all land on earth as given by Allah to Muhammad in perpetuity.  Kent State University invites students and community to a safe environment for ongoing interaction and conversation on diverse subjects.  The University of California Berkeley has adopted a policy requiring all “Caucasian” students to purchase mandatory Free Speech Insurance at $1,000 per semester “to cover the cost of therapy and rehabilitation of victims of unregulated, freely expressed Caucasian ideas.” Thus the schools encourage a mentality of victimization, anger and vengeance along with feelings of shame and White guilt.

This is social engineering, a force that is being cynically employed to restructure the soul of an entire generation of young people and render it vulnerable to the globalist one world order, in which none of the traditional values will have survived. With value and context stripped from books, a generation is being denied the aptitude to discern fact from fiction or right from wrong. Thus deprived of the ability to think critically, they are ripe for joining any number of hate groups on campus, the Occupy movements, Black Lives Matter, and those that favor a Palestinian state to the destruction of Israel. But, most significantly, they become easily malleable by and for the ruling class.

The pathway to the final destination goes by the Orwellian term, Agenda 21, the schema that indoctrinates to retrofit our children for future global citizenship, to overtake properties and communities, and to transform America with the enticing promise of social and economic development in a competitive (not free) marketplace. The all-powerful government will determine the equitable distribution of the fruits of all labor, meaning the successful countries will distribute its profits to third world countries until there is nothing left to share – except, perhaps, destitution and illness.  Only then will the elite bask in a society in which thinking has been obliterated and every spark of creativity trampled into the dust.

We are standing at a crucial time in history and working against the clock.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why Have Universities Been Overtaken by Mob Rule?

RELATED VIDEO: Ann Corcoran on Refugee Resettlement

Florida: Hillsborough County Schools Loses Both Gates Money and Financial Reserves

In November 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Hillsborough County (Florida) Public Schools a $100 million grant as part of its “Empowering Effective Teachers” effort:

Hillsborough County Public Schools

Date: November 2009
Purpose: to support Hillsborough County as part of a cohort of Intensive Partnership Sites to improve teacher effectiveness to transform outcomes for low-income, minority students
Amount: $100,000,000
Term: 80
Topic: College-Ready
Regions Served: GLOBAL|NORTH AMERICA
Program: United States
Grantee Location: Tampa, Florida
Grantee Website: http://www.sdhc.k12.fl.us/

The grant was to be paid in 80 installments; if such installments were monthly, then the grant would be paid over roughly seven years, with the final payment made at the end of the 2015-16 school year.

Of course, Gates had some ideas about how this “teacher effectiveness” business should work. The report linked above has as its second sentence, “A teacher’s effectiveness has more impact on student learning than any other factor under the control of school systems, including class size, school size, and the quality of after-school programs.” When pro-corporate-reform organizations toss around such statements, they never seem to follow it with the fact that factors external to the classroom hold far more sway that does the teacher. (In analyzing the proportion of teacher influence captured via value-added modeling– VAM– the American Statistical Association notes that teacher influence accounts for between 1 and 14 percent of variance in student test scores. Thus, between 86 and 99 percent of a student’s test score is out of the teacher’s control.)

Nevertheless, ignoring that the teacher controls so little of student outcomes in the form of market-driven-reform-loving test scores, in its efforts to try to purchase higher student test scores, the Gates Foundation offered ten school districts nationwide the multi-million-dollar-funded opportunity to prove that teachers could indeed be cajoled into producing better “student achievement” (i.e., ever-higher test scores) when such teachers were measured by their students’ test scores and offered more money for “raising” said scores.

As a 2009 winner of an Empowering Effective Teachers grant, Hillsborough was thrilled (“We’ll be a national model!”). A December 21, 2015 archive of Hillsborough schools’ “Empowering Teachers” webpage includes a number of enthusiastic responses regarding the newly-acquired, $100 million Gates grant. Front and center in these celebratory public statements is then-Hillsborough superintendent, MaryEllen Elia (Then-Governor Charlie Crist: “I commend Superintendent MaryEllen Elia and the Hillsborough County School District for their enthusiasm and commitment to working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation during the next seven years to improve student academic performance through rewarding high quality teachers both professionally and monetarily. The foundation’s generous grant award of $100 million will greatly enhance the work the district has already done in this area.”)

However, part of the Hillsborough-Gates agreement involved Hillsborough’s ponying up money of its own– which ended up eating into the Hillsborough schools’ reserves and threatening its bond rating. As reported in the August 04, 2015, Tampa Bay Tribune, the Empowering Effective Teachers initiative is not the only financial stressor affecting the Hillsborough bond rating, but it is nevertheless noteworthy:

In 2013, the school district was heading into the fourth year of a seven-year grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help raise the bar among its teaching staff — a major factor, the foundation maintains, in student success.

Under its partnership with the foundation, the district needed a new salary schedule that tied raises more closely to a new system of evaluations — a change adopted statewide soon afterward.

Teachers in their first, second or third year on the job automatically switched to the new scale, which ties raises to evaluations, and those on their fourth year or higher chose whether to move to the new scale or stay on the old one. Because those changes were made mid-year, after the school board receives its yearly budget presentation, the school board never saw the financial effect of moving thousands of teachers to a new pay schedule, [new Superintendent Jeff] Eakins said.

About 10,000 school district employees moved to the new schedule, which meant their paychecks increased from $5,000 to $15,000 that year. The new scale averaged out to a 4 percent raise for each teacher. Last June, the school district used money in the reserve fund to make payroll several times near the end of the school year, Eakins said.

Yes, Hillsborough has a new superintendent. In January 2015, Elia was terminated via a school board vote of 4-3. The drain on Hillsborough’s reserves– down from $360 million to $152 million in about the past five years– happened on Elia’s watch– and allegedly without the knowledge (much less the approval) of the Hillsborough school board:

“The school board had no idea,” chairwoman Susan Valdes said. “We instructed the former superintendent not to touch the fund balance.”

Elia, selected by her peers as one of the top four superintendents in the country, was hired as commissioner of education for the state of New York. Her office said Tuesday she is traveling and could not be reached.

Elia is now in New York, where she runs the risk of jeopardizing her position with parents in New York’s growing opt-out movement. Elia publicly called opting out of standardized testing “unreasonable” and asserted that teacher encouragement of opting out is “unethical.”

But back to Hillsborough and its “Empowering Effective Teachers” Gates grant:

The August 04, 2015, Tampa Tribune article notes, “Next year is the final year of the $100 million Gates Foundation grant, called ‘Empowering Effective Teachers.’” Thus, it appears that Hillsborough believes Gates will follow through on its entire $100 million commitment during the full term of the grant.

Alas, it is not to be.

On September 21, 2015, the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Gates Foundation has only paid $80 million of the $100 million.

The Gates Foundation maintains that it did not agree for certain to fund the entire $100 million:

…Records indicate the relationship between Gates and the district has had some bumps.

Late in the process, the foundation rejected several of the district’s funding requests for Empowering Effective Teachers, which involves evaluating teachers using specially trained peers and bumping their pay with the idea that it would boost student performance.

“Each of the proposals were robustly outlined and presented,” a district report said.

But Gates officials responded by pointing to language in the original agreement saying the foundation had promised “up to” $100 million, not necessarily the whole amount, according to the report.

The district picked up the unpaid costs.

It is not unusual for a nonprofit like the Gates Foundation to require reports of how the grant project is proceeding in order to decide to continue to fund a project. However, a notable issue in this case appears to be “a change in Gates’ philosophy”:

Much of the disagreement [about funding the entire $100 million] amounted to a change in Gates’ philosophy, Brown said. “After a few years of research,” she said, “they believed there was not enough of a connection between performance bonuses and greater student achievement.” …

Gates spokeswoman Mary Beth Lambert said that while the decision on bonus pay is final, the two sides could agree on another funding opportunity later in the year. “It’s an ongoing conversation,” she said. “The door is still open.” [Emphasis added.]

So. The winds have changed. Gates no longer believes in a pay for performance. But there is another notable issue, and it concerns the original terms of the Hillsborough-Gates agreement– terms that Hillsborough schools did not follow through on: Mass firing of teachers, and no pay at all for seniority. As the September 21, 2015, Tampa Bay Times reports:

Since 2009, key components of the Gates program have changed.

The original proposal and a 2010 timeline called for the district to fire 5 percent of its teachers each year for poor performance. That would amount to more than 700 teachers. The thinking was they would be replaced by teachers who earned entry level wages, freeing up money to pay the bonuses for those at the top.

But the mass firings never happened. While an undetermined number of teachers resign out of dissatisfaction or fear that they will be fired, only a handful of terminations happen because of bad evaluations.

Also, while the initial proposal sought to pay teachers based on performance instead of seniority, the actual pay plan does both. Teachers receive pay bumps at three-year intervals and, if they score highly in the ratings system, they get bonus pay.

Evaluators were supposed to serve two-year stints, then cycle back to the classroom. Instead, many stay three and four years.

What strikes me is that Elia and others were so enthusiastic about a grant “opportunity” that would require firing five percent of teachers each year.  (Read Elia’s et al. enthusiastic May and August 2009 letters to all employees here.)

Elia’s cheerleading about a Gates grant requiring constant churn via teacher firings reminds me of something Shirley Jackson would have written in one of her short stories.

As Hillsborough faces the issue of $20 million less from Gates for a grant that initially agreed to fire five percent of teachers per year, Elia is in New York, where the cowering Board of Regents on September 16, 2015, approved Governor Andrew Cuomo’s push to increase teacher evaluation based on test scores to as much as 50 percent— and where numbers of students opting out could well serve as a catalyst for– dare I write it– *empowering* teachers.

However, it is not likely that Gates will take any interest in funding any parent, student, or teacher empowerment that works by defying standardized testing.

Go figure.

Al-Qaeda hit list: Gates, Bloomberg, Buffett, Adelson, Koch brothers

Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, the Koch brothers, Larry Ellison, Sheldon Adelson: none of them have done a thing to “provoke” this. They are not part of the U.S. government or military. They did not draw cartoons of Muhammad. Yet all too many people in the U.S. still believe that if they just do nothing to offend the Muslims, they will be spared. In reality, the jihadis are targeting everyone, without exception, and it is never justified to live on one’s knees.

assassination-jihad-al-qaeda

“Al Qaeda Mag Urges Attack on Koch Brothers, Buffett, Bloomberg,” by Robert Windrem and Tracy Connor, NBC News, September 9, 2015:

A notorious al Qaeda magazine is encouraging lone-wolf terrorist attacks on U.S. economic leaders, including Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and Warren Buffett.

The list in Inspire magazine also included industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch, internet entrepreneur Larry Ellison, and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. A prominent economist was also on the list but asked that his name be withheld. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke was named, though not Janet Yellen, who succeeded him.

Also pictured was Jim Walton, one of the heirs to the Wal-Mart fortune, although he was misidentified in the caption as his late father, Sam Walton. Several other names on the list were misspelled.

The slickly produced magazine article begins with a photo illustration showing blood-spattered pictures of several of the leaders next to a dripping gun. Its stated goal is to derail the “revival of the America Economy.”

The article says the “economic personalities” and “wealthy entrepreneurs” can get off the list by withdrawing their money from U.S. banks, investing their wealth outside American soil, and denouncing support for Israel….

Inspire magazine is published online by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and was once edited by American-raised jihadi Samir Khan, who was killed in 2011 drone attack along with cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

It’s best known for an article titled, “How To Make A Bomb in the Kitchen of Your Mom,” which provided a recipe for explosives….

RELATED ARTICLE: Canada teen jihadi: “I understand Islam better than you”

Do you hear that giant sucking sound? Oh, no! Its another Green Project!

Popular Mechanics has an article about a company named Carbon Engineering that is sucking CO2 out of the air. By doing so Carbon Engineering is contributing to the death of plant life globally. Strong statement? Well read on.

Tim Radford, from the Climate News Network, in 2013 reported:

Australian scientists have solved one piece of the climate puzzle. They have confirmed the long-debated fertilization effect.

Plants build their tissues by using photosynthesis to take carbon from the air around them. So more carbon dioxide should mean more vigorous plant growth – though until now this has been very difficult to prove.

Randall Donohue of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization in Canberra, Australia, and his colleagues developed a mathematical model to predict the extent of this carbon dioxide fertilization effect. Between 1982 and 2010, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere increased by 14 percent. So, their model suggested, foliage worldwide should have increased by between 5 and 10 percent.

[ … ]

The team averaged the greenness of each location over three year periods, and then grouped the greenness data from different locations according to known records of rainfall. They also looked at variations in foliage over a 20 year period. In the end, they teased out the carbon dioxide fertilization effect from all other influences and calculated that this could account for an 11 percent increase in global foliage since 1982.

So if you take CO2 out of the atmosphere you will reduce foliage and plant growth. Well that doesn’t seem to bother John Wenz from Popular Mechanics.

Popular Mechanics’ John Wenz writes:

Carbon Engineering has an ambitious plan to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into fuel. The company is aiming the facility at areas where reforestation isn’t an option, such as deserts.

Air flows in through the series of fans you see in the picture, which feed into a carbon dioxide rich solution, helping pluck carbon compounds from the air. That solution is then purified, at which point Carbon Engineering extracts  the carbon dioxide for reuse or disposal in underground facilities. The solution is re-purified in the process, enabling it to be reused.

The technology is based on the same way that trees capture CO2 and release oxygen. It’s another take on the idea of an artificial tree, one of the potential geoengineering solutions that has been around for years, proposing to fight climate change by hacking the planet.

Words that Wenz uses are problematic at best. Wenz’s “ambitious plan” is really a waste of money that will harm foliage. The company Carbon Engineering is funded in part by the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). Geoengineering is a Bill Gates initiative to cool the planet, the problem is the planet is already cooling.

So to save the planet it is necessary to defoliate it. Too bad for the environmentalists, who won’t have any more trees to hug as the CO2 gets sucked out of the atmosphere by Carbon Engineering.

Killing plants to produce fuel is as immoral as using food (corn Ethanol) to produce fuel. Both harm mankind.

Seattle Times’ Gates-funded Education Lab Blog Experiment

Bill Gates lives in Seattle.

His money buys experiments there, too.

In October 2013, the Seattle Times announced that it had “sought” a grant from the Gates Foundation for a year-long “project” in partnership with Solutions Journalism Network– a blog called the “Education Lab”:

Education Lab, a partnership between The Seattle Times and Solutions Journalism Network, will explore promising programs and innovations inside early-education programs, K-12 schools and colleges that are addressing some of the biggest challenges facing public education.

The yearlong project is funded by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

As part of a “Q and A” on the grant money and the project, Seattle Times offers the following:

The project has received $530,000 in foundation funding — $450,000 from the Gates Foundation and $80,000 from the Knight Foundation, a foundation that supports journalism excellence and media innovation.

The Seattle Times will receive $426,000 during an 18-month period. The bulk of its funding will pay for the salaries of two education reporters, allowing us to expand our education team; an editor and photographer primarily dedicated to the project; and a newly hired community-engagement editor. The funds will also be used for community outreach and public forums, creation of a blog and design and data work. …

The Seattle Times would neither seek nor accept a grant that did not give us full editorial control over what is published. Generally, when a grant is made, there is agreement on a specific project or a broad area of reporting it will support. … The foundation had no role in deciding which stories we choose to pursue or how we report those stories. It also does not review stories before publication. … 

Beyond agreeing to fund the project, the foundations have not asked for and will not have any input into the reporting of stories or into any of the content that will emerge from the project. The foundations will not be aware of specific stories we are working on or review them before publication. …

There will be no direct relationship between the foundation’s education advocacy and the reporting for Education Lab. It is possible the project will analyze and report on efforts that the Gates Foundation supports and those it does not. In determining the focus of the reporting in the project, the support of the Gates Foundation, or lack thereof, will play no role. Throughout the duration of the project, we will be transparent about funding for Education Lab. …

For this project, the [Gates] foundation has a strong desire to test and learn whether this solutions-oriented approach would help promote deeper engagement on a complex topic like education. [Emphasis added.]

The Seattle Times sure is making an effort to convince those in Bill Gates’ home town that this is not just another Gates overreach.

Or is it?

In offering the above information up front, Seattle Times notes that it is being “transparent with readers about the source of the money.”

That’s $450,000 directly from Gates to the Seattle Times, right?

Not according to the Gates Grants search engine, which indicates no grant paid to the Seattle Times on or around October 2013 in the amount of $450,000. The search engine also indicates no $450,000 grant paid to either Solutions Journalism Network or Education Lab.

However…

…the Gates grants search engine does include this this July 2013 grant for $700,000, paid to New Ventures Fund of Washington, DC, for “communications” and “strategic partnerships”– specific to education journalism in the Seattle Times:

New Venture Fund

Date: July 2013 
Purpose: to test solutions-oriented education journalism that leads to problem-solving and positive outcomes with the Seattle Times 
Amount: $700,000 
Term: 18 
Topic: Communications, Strategic Partnerships 
Program: Communications 
Grantee Location: Washington, District of Columbia 
Grantee Website: http://www.newventurefund.org

It seems that someone is not being “completely transparent,” after all.

Looks like Education Lab goes beyond being a Seattle Times idea. Looks like it is another Gates “strategic” education experiment.

Here is what New Venture Fund offers as its mission:

The New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) public charity, supports innovative and effective public interest projects. NVF was established in 2006 in response to demand from leading philanthropists for an efficient, cost-effective, and time-saving platform to launch and operate charitable projects. We execute a range of donor-driven public interest projects in conservation, global health, public policy, international development, education, disaster recovery, and the arts. More than half of the 50 largest US grantmaking foundations have funded projects hosted at NVF, including 8 of the top 10. 

NVF is overseen by an independent board of directors that has extensive experience in philanthropy and nonprofit management. NVF is managed under an administrative agreement with Arabella Advisors, a leading national philanthropy services firm that helps philanthropists and investors find innovative ways to achieve greater good with their resources. NVF has collaborated with Arabella on successful projects for many of philanthropy’s leading players and institutions, and the two organizations share a commitment to evaluation and measuring impact. [Emphasis added.]

Along the side bar of the Education Lab funding Q and A page, I noticed a number ofSeattle Times stories focusing on test scores (see here and here and here and here). And here, the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) are mentioned, and it seems that parents are fine with CCSS “perhaps because test scores are going up.”

Based upon its sidebar of education stories, the Seattle Times sure is promoting a sunny perspective on test-driven education reform.

Now, according to the Seattle Times, this is their agenda, not a forced Gates agenda.

So that makes it okay… right?

Nevertheless…

Note that Bill Gates has really pushed usage of high stakes test scores. Though Gates is only a “neutral party” when it comes to issues of American education (tongue in cheek), and though he might be willing to delay their high-stakes usage (and by sheer coincidence, the federal government “comes up with the idea” two months after Gates does), Gates clearly intends to promote test-driven education for the masses.

So, for both Gates and the Seattle Times: high test scores are the ultimate determinant of education “success.”

Based upon the sidebar of Seattle Times stories on the Education Lab site, one reads that the Seattle Times also pushes the message that the best outcome for all students is college.

College. For. ALL.

I didn’t see any sidebar stories about students who become successes in jobs requiring specialized– dare I write it– non-college– training or apprenticeships.

If such stories exist, they are not featured on this sidebar.

The Seattle Times does offer some unique stories– like this one about a school transformed into a STEM school with a focus on hands-on projects. Even here, the “college is best” and “higher test scores means it’s valuable” messages lurk in the background of a “learning for learning’s sake” story.

Let us now turn our attention to Education Lab.

Here is the curiosity:

In contrast to the Seattle Times sidebar stories, the two Education Lab blog writers, Claudia Rowe and Linda Shaw, write stories that appear to critically question test-driven reform, as well as stories on special interest, education issues not part of the test-score-driven, education privatization agenda. (Click links to see archived stories by Rowe and Shaw.)

So, one sees this Education Lab blog with some rather refreshing education stories– and at the same time, one sees the primarily test-score-measure-of-success, Seattle Times education stories along the Education Lab sidebar.

Part of the experiment, perhaps?

We might soon find out. That “yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest” will expire in a couple of months.

Perhaps then, the Seattle Times, or the New Venture Fund, or Solutions Journalism Network, or the Gates Foundation will have the word for us on what this “project” means for American education.

Perhaps Bill will address the matter himself. Perhaps Melinda will do it.

You’ll have to forgive me if I appear skeptical of Gates involvement in American education ventures– and especially in the “measuring impact” of Gates-funded “positive outcomes.” Only last month, for my upcoming book on Common Core origins, I wrote a detailed chapter about what Gates promotes as his “neutral” involvement in American education and the reality of his repeatedly and actively promoting his personal view of what American education should look like.

Then again, this Gates “venture” is taking place in Seattle, where people are familiar with his games.

Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public EducationNOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.

Using a Bill Gates Grant to Sidestep Standardized Testing in University Admissions?

Billionaire Bill Gates believes in testing. However, it appears that he believes in “the market” even more. Consider Gates’ words to legislators in 2009:

When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better. [Emphasis added.]

Bill Gates has no background in K-12 classroom teaching. He has no background in assessment. He does have money, lots of money. It must be his money that allows him to even write a guest editorial in the April 2013 Washington Post to share his views on the *appropriate* role of student test scores in teacher evaluation. He assumes that student standardized test scores will work as a component of teacher evaluation. He also assumes that merit pay can and will work, if only “we” would be careful as “we” “drive the long-term improvement our schools need.”

We?

Bill Gates has no background in teaching. Instead, he views education through the lens of business. And if the tests are interfering with business, perhaps it is time to pull back on the testing in order to save Gates’ extensive CCSS investment. To this end, in June 2014, the Gates Foundation declared the need for a “moratorium”– not the end of testing, mind you, and not the end of CCSS– just a break from theconsequences of testing in order to take the heat off of CCSS:

The Gates Foundation is an ardent supporter of fair teacher feedback and evaluation systems that include measures of student gains. We don’t believe student assessments should ever be the sole measure of teaching performance, but evidence of a teacher’s impact on student learning should be part of a balanced evaluation that helps all teachers learn and improve.

At the same time, no evaluation system will work unless teachers believe it is fair and reliable, and it’s very hard to be fair in a time of transition. The standards need time to work. …

Including the assessment results in teacher evaluations even though they won’t count for two years also has benefits: First, the teachers can begin to use the assessments to inform their practice, and second, teachers can see how their performance looks using these measures and make sure it lines up with other measures of teaching practice. This is crucial in building teacher trust in the assessments.

In our view, allowing two years in which assessments will be administered and scored but not yet taken into account strikes the best balance between a commitment to teacher evaluations that measure student learning and a commitment to ensure that teachers will not be harmed as they complete the transition to the Common Core.

Protecting the Gates investment. Cutting mass education a deal.

The Gates Foundation published this position only five days after Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation to immediately replace CCSS with Oklahoma’s former state standards until new standards and assessments could be developed.

This is not good for Gates’ CCSS investment, which Gates hopes will bring American education “to scale” in order to benefit “the market.”

Gates does not restrict his business applications to K-12 education. He is willing to spend his billions on better business models for higher education, as well. Consider this January 2014 grant to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU):

Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities:

Date: January 2014 
Purpose: to support a cohort of public urban research universities to develop new business models that can increase access, improve success rates and find greater cost efficiencies and then use national association networks to scale promising practices 
Amount: $2,507,628

Much of this funding has been divided among seven universities in a seeming “innovations contest” to “improve success rates.” The seven recipients have one year to develop its “innovations”– with the intent that “successful” innovations will be “scaled” (efficiently reproduced).

Temple University was one of the recipients:

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU) and the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities (USU) announced today that Temple University is one of only seven universities nationwide selected to participate in an innovative, one-year project that seeks to transform the way higher education is delivered.

Temple will receive $225,000 as part of the Transformational Planning Grant project—an initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation—to research, develop and test new university business models that can increase access, improve student success rates and find greater cost efficiencies. …

APLU intends to use its national network to work to scale the most promising findings and practices of Temple and the six other grantees—California State University, Fresno; Florida International University; Georgia State University; Portland State University; the University of Akron; and the University of Illinois at Chicago—to help its more than 200 public university members across the country better meet the needs of their evolving student populations.

In an interesting turn of events, Temple University plans to use its Gates “better business of education” money to admit students without use of standardized test scores and instead incorporating “noncognitive approaches” to student success:

Temple’s Transformational Planning Grant will be used to develop new approaches for recruiting and evaluating prospective Temple students. The project will be piloted among students in Philadelphia area high schools whose potential may be overlooked by traditional measures of achievement, such as standardized testing. Temple also will analyze how these “non-cognitive” approaches—strategies that take into account factors such as a student’s grit, determination, self-assurance and self-advocacy—can be incorporated into the university’s academic policies, financial aid strategy, and advising and support services.

So, it seems that Gates might experience some “business model clashing” given the Gates preference for standardized testing as assumed “good for education business” and now a Gates grantee assuming that standardized testing could “overlook potential” in some students– which implies that standardized testing has limitations that make it suspect a component for any high-stakes decisions.

No seasoned teacher needs to be told that some students just don’t test well.

But Bill Gates is certainly no seasoned teacher. He is just a man with lots of money who gets to purchase his viewpoint. He believes that standardized tests should be “part” of “measuring” teacher effectiveness.

I wonder what Gates will do if via Temple University’s “innovation” he is faced with the news that forsaking standardized testing “promotes greater cost efficiencies” in the business of higher education.

Would he be willing to promote such a finding “to scale”?

RELATED ARTICLE: What National Group Is Funding the Pro-Common Core Lawsuit in Louisiana?

The Common Core Fight: What Went Wrong, What Went Right, What To Do Next

The Washington Post reported that within two years of an organizational meeting at Bill Gates’ Seattle headquarters, 45 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the Common Core State Standards. President Obama, whose administration was “populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates,” was “a major booster.” 

After legislative battles this year, 42 states and the District of Columbia remain in the vise of Common Core, the federal education dictates.

One of these states, Georgia, illustrates the incredible hurdles citizen-activists face in their fight against the united forces of big government and big business.  Senator William Ligon (R-Brunswick) was blocked in his efforts to pass a Common Core withdrawal bill by the Republican governor and Republican-dominated House.

Jane Robbins, senior fellow at the American Principles in Action, which supported Ligon’s bill, comments, “During the last hearing on the bill, we saw dozens of corporate and other well-funded lobbyists parade up to the podium to explain why their interests should trump those of Georgia families.”

I observed this parade, and the smear-campaign against citizen-activists concerned about educational quality and government overreach.  While teachers and parents spoke about developmentally inappropriate assignments, mind-boggling busy-work math, and ideological curricula, the pro-Common Core lobbyists, legislators, superintendents, principals, and teachers seemed to follow a script.  I heard the same phrases repeated – “state-led,” “critical thinking skills,” “locally controlled,” “standards, not curriculum,” and on.

And then I learned that they were following a script.

Dts_news_bill_gates_wikipedia

Bill Gates. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The script was linked in the June 7 Washington Post front-page article, “How Bill Gates pulled off the swift Common Core revolution” – published after legislatures had recessed.  These were “Talking Points” developed by the Council of Chief State School Officers, the supposedly independent organization behind Common Core.  CCSSO received over $11 million from the Gates Foundation in 2013.

That Bill Gates was “de facto organizer,” influencing states through donations to teachers unions and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was hardly a revelation.  In August 2013, blogger Mercedes Schneider reported, “the four organizations primarily responsible for CCSS–[National Governors Association], CCSSO, Achieve, and Student Achievement Partners – have taken $147.9 million from Bill Gates.”  Jane Robbins and others also made the charge long before the Washington Post’s exposé.

The Post reported that within two years of an organizational meeting at Gates’ Seattle headquarters, 45 states and the District of Columbia had adopted the standards. President Obama, whose administration was “populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates,” was “a major booster.”

In the Post interview, Gates denied that he had any self-interest, but the article noted, “In February, [Gates’ company] Microsoft announced that it was joining Pearson, the world’s largest educational publisher, to load Pearson’s Common Core classroom materials on Microsoft’s tablet, the Surface.”  This allowed Microsoft to compete for school district spending with rival company Apple, whose iPad dominates in classrooms.

According to a tape released by Glenn Beck last September, in 2009 Gates told the National Conference of State Legislators that he anticipated a “large uniform base of [Common Core] customers.”

More recently, Microsoft’s website warned schools to migrate to the new Microsoft Windows operating system.  Opponents had predicted that computer-administered Common Core tests would require expensive upgrades.

Still, Common Core promotional sites, such as the Georgia pro-Chamber of Commerce Republican blog, Peach Pundit, mocked the notion of “Obamacore” and called Gates’ profit-motive a “conspiracy theory.”

Editor-in-Chief Charlie Harper testified against the Common Core withdrawal bill, while directing the smear campaign through posts and comments. He also is executive director of the non-profit PolicyBEST.

In February, PolicyBEST Policy & Research Director – and Peach Pundit blogger – “Eric the Younger” called a rally in support of Ligon’s bill a “train wreck,” filled with “crazy talk”: “It’s [sic] attendees included Jane Robins [sic], Sen. Judson Hill, Sen. William Ligon, Ralph Hudgens’ wife, “and a few of the other usual suspects.”

He promoted a new coalition that included PolicyBEST, “Better Standards For A Better Georgia.”  The “diverse group . . . brought together through the Georgia Chamber” includes 100 Black Men, Georgia Association of Educational Leaders, Georgia Association of Educators, Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education, Georgia school board and school superintendents associations, Technical College System of Georgia, and the University System of Georgia.  In 2013, 100 Black Men received $583,531 from the Gates Foundation; Georgia Association of Educational Leaders received $179,015 in 2012.

Eric the Younger’s creativity only extends to name-calling, however.

Consider the CCSS “talking point”: “This has always been, and continues to be, a state-led and driven initiative. States voluntarily adopted and are currently implementing the standards. . .  .  These standards are in no way federally-mandated. . . .”

Eric the Younger dutifully wrote, “The Origins of the Common Core State Standards are here in Georgia with our former governor Sonny Perdue and State School Superintendent. . . .”

Elders, like “youngers,” also recited CCSSO’s script.  The U.S. Chamber’s President and CEO Thomas Donahue wrote in the Washington Post, “Common Core is a not curriculum, a federal program or a federal mandate.”

Peach Pundit continued its campaign of smearing and repeating with a February 10 Courier-Herald column.  After charging Common Core opponents with “a campaign of misinformation that at times borders on hysteria,” the writer essentially repeated a talking point: “Common Core is not a curriculum,” but “a set of benchmarks. . . .  The curriculum – what is taught and how – remains up to states and local school systems…”

Cited also was a June 2, 2010, press release announcing then-Governor Sonny Perdue’s release of Common Core state standards that featured a panel discussion with the CEO of the PTA and Leah Luke, 2010 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year.

Where did this idea come from?

The CCSSO toolkit recommends as key spokespeople “State Teachers of the Year,” “Award-winning school leaders and principals,” and “Heads of local PTAs.”

Nothing was left to chance in CCSSO’s well-orchestrated campaign that included strategies for “engaging” teachers, “stakeholders,” elected officials, etc. Provided were fill-in-the-blank “Scene-setting Op-ed,” “Letters to the Editor,” “Local Op-ed and Blog,” and “Teacher Communication Preferences Survey.” There were tips for pitching stories and providing background information to reporters.

Most reporters, indeed, repeated CCSSO’s “talking points.” Now an NBC reporter is on Gates’ payroll.

In spite of overwhelming odds, a couple states rejected Common Core this year, following changing public sentiment.  Pitfalls lie ahead, though.  What these are and tips for fighting them will be discussed next time in Part II.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on the Selous Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLES: 

North Carolina Governor Signs Bill to Revise Common Core
Common Core in Louisiana: Two Days, Two Lawsuits
A July 21, 2014, Update on Common Core, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced
American Federation of Teachers: “Remediating” Duncan and Retaining the “Corrupted” Common Core

Bill Gates and Localizing Common Core and Standardized Testing by Paul DiPerna

“Innovations that are guided by smallholder farmers, adapted to local circumstances, and sustainable for the economy and environment will be necessary to ensure food security in the future.” – Bill Gates

The Andrew Carnegie of our time—and as a native of Pittsburgh, I say that respectfully—may want to consider how that same approach can augment education reform. In 2014, the “de facto organizer” of the contentious Common Core State Standards Initiative is now a witness with the rest of us to the mounting challenges to that grand framework—and they’re emerging from local sources.

Indeed, in recent months, outcries have inspired Indiana, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Louisiana to depart (to varying degrees) from the Common Core, committing to “homegrown” state-based standards and/or tests. As the Hechinger Report and Education Week reported, of the original 45 states that signed up for one of the two big assessment regimes tied to Common Core, 36 states as of now are still participating.

Is that 20 percent drop in state participation the start of a larger reactionary theme to standards, testing, and accountability in education?

To find out, we asked a nationally representative sample of the general population (“American Adults”)—in the latest installment of the Friedman Foundation’s “Schooling in America Survey”—their attitudes and opinions about:

  • developing and implementing academic standards;
  • Common Core (with and without context);
  • standardized testing;
  • who (respondents believe) are accountable to tests; and who (respondents say) should be accountable to tests.

Just as Bill Gates has recognized in agriculture, our findings indicate that local ownership—exemplified by parental input/action and teachers’ roles —also matters enormously in education:

When it comes to developing and implementing academic standards, Americans believe teachers and school district officials should take the lead. Respondents suggest it may be preferable for parents to play a larger role in development rather than implementation. Government officials at the state and federal levels should take a backseat in both.



Interviews suggest a mixed message about the Common Core State Standards. 
Without any context, Americans say they oppose Common Core. However, when providing some context, support increases substantially while the opposition remains about the same.

  • Certain demographic groups set themselves apart either in their support of or opposition to Common Core. Groups most inclined to be supportive with the highest positive margins are: Midwest region (56 percent favor | +21 points), urbanites (60 percent favor | +26 points), Democrats (58 percent favor | +26 points), and African Americans (57 percent favor | +22 points).
  • The views on Common Core are more negative among school parents (44 percent favor | -5 points) and middle-income earners (43 percent favor | -5 points).

There is no mixed message about the most intense reactions to the Common Core items in the survey. Respondents who hold hardened views on Common Core are mostly likely to be negative rather than positive—with or without context.

  • The intensity (defined as the difference between “strongly favor” and “strongly oppose” responses) is negative against Common Core. Without any context and on first impression, 24 percent say they “strongly oppose” versus 11 percent who say they “strongly favor” (-13 points). Even with context, 25 percent say they “strongly oppose” versus 16 percent who say they “strongly favor” (-9 points). The intensity improves with further information but it still is considerably negative.
  • Intensities are more heavily negative than positive for most groups. Just four observed demographics have a positive intensity (and it is relatively mild): urbanites (+6 points), Democrats (+4 points), African Americans (+6 points), and Latinos (+3 points).
  • Intensity against Common Core is strongest among school parents (-21 points), small-town residents (-16 points), rural residents (-18 points), Republicans (-17 points), and middle-income earners (-17 points).

A plurality of Americans (36 percent) said the amount of time spent on standardized testing is “too high,” compared with 24 percent who said “too low.”
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  • Nearly half of high-income earners believe there is too much testing in America’s schools (49 percent too high vs. 15 percent too low). This group registers the highest level of resistance among observed demographics.
  • The groups inclined to say there is not enough standardized testing are low-income earners (24 percent too high vs. 31 percent too low), African Americans (21 percent too high vs. 34 percent too low), and Latinos (28 percent too high vs. 35 percent too low).
  • The most ambivalent groups on standardized testing are westerners (31 percent too high vs. 28 percent too low), urbanites (31 percent too high vs. 28 percent too low), and young adults (31 percent too high vs. 29 percent too low).

More than two out of five Americans (42 percent) believed students spend at least 16 days or more of the school year—roughly 10 percent of the year—on standardized testing activities.

Q21.jpg

  • This response—16 or more school days—is even higher among school parents (51 percent), middle-age Americans (50 percent), and high-income earners (53 percent).


The average American believes teachers are being held most accountable to test results today, more so than other school officials, and far surpassing the proportion who believe students are held accountable to tests.

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Americans appear to support some degree of test-based accountability and believe the focus should be on teachers, students, and school district officials.

Q23-Split-B.jpg

Common Core and standardized testing will remain flashpoints for policy debates in K-12 education. For now, when weighing the most adamant views on testing and Common Core, Americans are resistant and likely to be negative. Interestingly, the parents of school-age children appear to be the most negative toward Common Core and resistant to the current level of standardized testing.

Politicians, especially local ones, tend to respond to the most vocal constituents and grassroots groups. The implications of our polling suggest that Common Core—and standardized testing to a lesser degree—will continue to face loud local and state-level opposition for months to come.

We’ll find out this November and in early 2015, once legislatures convene, whether such upheavals threaten the future of standards-based reform.

It seems Bill Gates and his foundation are taking it seriously, as evidenced by their suggested moratorium on “high-stakes decisions based on tests aligned with the new (Common Core) standards.” Perhaps that signals Gates’ belief in the power and influence of local forces isn’t limited to farming. Regardless, our survey can provide some additional food for thought.

For more on what Americans think about other education-related topics, including how Common Core would affect their electoral considerations, read the full “2014 Schooling in America Survey: Perspectives on School Choice, Common Core, and Standardized Testing.”

ABOUT PAUL DIPERNA

Paul DiPerna is Research Director for the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice. He joined the Foundation in September 2006. Paul’s research interests include surveys and polling on K-12 education and school choice policies. He has developed and issued more than 20 state polls and other survey projects over the last four years. His other responsibilities include directing and managing all research projects commissioned by the foundation.

George Will Demolishes Arguments for Common Core in Under Two Minutes

“Conservative pundit George Will delivered a fierce attack on Common Core, characterizing the educational standards as a way for progressives to further promote their political views,” notes Katrina Trinko from The Foundry.

“This is a thin end of an enormous wedge of federal power that will be wielded for the constant progressive purpose of concentrating power in Washington so that it can impose continental solutions to problems nationwide,” Will said on Fox News’ “Special Report.” He also warned Americans that the federal standards posed a significant threat to local autonomy.

“The advocates of the Common Core say, if you like local control of your schools, you can keep it, period. If you like your local curriculum you can keep it, period, and people don’t believe them for very good reasons,” Will remarked.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/fmgadgKNz0I[/youtube]

Fordham Institute: Selling Common Core in States with Better Standards

This post is about the for-profit “reform”-promoting think tank, the Fordham Institute.

The Fordham Institute likes to grade.

Mind you, Fordham doesn’t bother to grade itself. But it does promote the grading of teacher training programs via an entity it birthed in 2001, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ), and it also promotes the grading of teachers using student test scores (see the final statement of this Fordham post for the clear endorsement for grading teachers using student test scores).

And, perhaps that for which Fordham is best known: It loves grading state standards andeven giving some states higher marks than the Common Core State Standards (CCSS)– and still promoting CCSS in statehouses across the country.

In promoting CCSS, Fordham is only doing what Bill Gates has paid it to do: “track state progress towards implementation of standards….”

Fordham takes its CCSS “tracking” seriously– to the point of manipulating states with standards that it graded as “superior” to CCSS into clinging to CCSS.

Recall that 2010 Fordham report in which Fordham graded all state standards as well as CCSS and compared all state standards to CCSS.

CCSS did not receive the highest marks, yet it is continuously pushed by Fordham in statehouses around the country (see here and here and here and here for examples).

Consider Indiana, which has been in the March and April 2014 news for its considering dropping CCSS– and subsequently “forming” “new” standards that just happen to closely resemble CCSS.

In 2010, Fordham graded Indiana’s English Language Arts (ELA) and math standards as superior to CCSS.

In January 2013, Fordham Institute Executive Vice President Mike Petrilli, who bills himself as “one of the nation’s most trusted education analysts.”

(His self-titling reminds me of “Dr.” Steve Perry, who bills himself as “America’s most trusted educator.” Read here to see why Perry lacks my trust.)

Petrilli might consider himself “trusted”; however, he uses such trust to exploit– his undeniable goal being to manipulate states into keeping CCSS– even if his own think tank graded a state’s standards as being better than CCSS.

Let’s “watch” Petrilli in action:

In January 2013, Petrilli testified in Indiana and offered these points to talk Indiana out of any return to their CCSS-superior standards and into retaining CCSS:

1. First, you have already invested time and money into implementing the new standards. They have momentum. Calling for a do-over would waste the millions of man hours already invested—and potentially cost the state of Indiana more money than proceeding with the Common Core. [Emphasis added.]

A great suggestion: Keep the deficient CCSS since you have spent money on it already.Never mind that Fordham did not advise Indiana not to sign onto CCSS in the first place since it rated Indiana’s standards as superior. There was no Petrilli plane trip to testify on that front.

2. Second, it’s not clear that returning to your old standards would put Indiana on a path toward higher student achievement. For while you had some of the best standards in the country for over a decade, you also had one of the worst student achievement records on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Indiana was a classic case of good standards not actually having an impact in the classroom. You need a different way forward.

What a crock this point is. “A different way forward”?? Is “forward” higher test scores? Petrilli assures Indiana’s Senate education committee that “forward” is the direction CCSS will take them– even though Indiana’s “superior” standards did not take Indiana there. It is not clear that putting any state on the CCSS path will improve achievement– yet here we are, a nation on the unproven CCSS path… and Petrilli doing his best to sound knowledgeable as he talks unresearched, unanchored nonsense.

In its 2010 grading of standards, Fordham ignored comparing state scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) with its state standards ratings. The result was no logical connection whatsoever between NAEP scores and Fordham’s ratings of state standards. Indeed, some states with standards that Fordham rated poorly actually had high scores on NAEP.

In Indiana’s case, the NAEP scores were not among the highest in the nation (see here for Indiana’s 2009 and 2011 NAEP scores)– but Petrilli advises no return to Indiana’s previous standards because somehow, the lesser-rated CCSS could manifest in “higher student achievement.”

Come again??

This is the same Fordham Institute that believes in grading teachers using student test scores. However, I have yet to read the article on Petrilli’s testimony that it is possible for teachers to be “superior” yet their students’ test scores to not manifest the reality of “best teachers.”

He will defend standards as being “some of the best in the country” despite low test scores, but he has yet to extend such faith-based logic to teachers– and this despite the well-documented problems associated with using test scores to grade teachers, known as value-added modeling (VAM).

On to Petrilli’s third point of scoring the Indiana sale on behalf of CCSS:

3. Third, if you decide to opt out of the Common Core, you will be opting Indiana’s teachers and students out of an opportunity to participate in the incredible wave of innovation that these standards are unleashing. It’s as if the whole world is moving to smart phones and tablets while you’re sticking with a rotary. [Emphasis added.]

What “wave of innovation”?? The “opportunity for “CCSS-infused tests and teacher evaluations” that Fordham’s Chester Finn alludes to here in referring to California (with standards also rated as superior to CCSS)?

Implementation is a boring topic but here (as with most bold reforms of complex, sluggish institutions) it’s crucial. The past quarter century offers sad examples of states with praiseworthy standards and lousy academic results, with California being the woeful poster child. This breakdown is due to the plain fact that the state never infused its own standards into tests, requirements for promotion and graduation, teacher certification and evaluations, school ratings, college admissions, or much else. [Emphasis added.]

So, the question becomes, what is next in the CCSS push to “ensure CCSS infusion”?

I broach the topic in this post on the push for a centralized agency to control “CCSS-approved” curriculum. It’s logical to assume that if CCSS is being billed as The Answer for All States, its Gates-funded proponents would do all that is necessary to make CCSS “succeed”– including micromanage curriculum in states across the nation.

As for Petrilli’s appeal for a CCSS-bound Indiana, his oiled reasoning offers no assurance that CCSS will deliver on what the CCSS website promotes as the CCSS “guarantee”:

The Common Core is a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA). These learning goals outline what a student should know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The standards were created to ensure that all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live. [Emphasis added.]

CCSS will ensure skills and knowledge– got it?

However…

…if CCSS doesn’t deliver– according to the CCSS license– the CCSS owners, the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)– cannot legally be held responsible.

In other words, NGA and CCSSO have effectively blocked themselves from the brunt of any lawsuits should CCSS not deliver according to the glowing promises made on the CCSS website or promoted by the CCSS talking points.

What will Petrilli do then?

I guess we’ll have to see what Bill Gates pays Fordham to do next in order to know for sure. Rest assured, however: No matter what Fordham does, it will package it as “excellence.”

Bill Gates Tries to Rally Teacher Support for His Beloved Common Core

One would think that if teachers supported the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), then teachers would take the initiative to rally around said CCSS.

Not so. It seems that we need Bill Gates to tell us that we need CCSS. He did so today (Friday, March 14, 2014), in Washington, DC:

Bill Gates is rallying teachers to support an embattled cause, the Common Core State Standards.

Got that? Teachers support CCSS to such a degree that they need Bill to tell them to do so.

It seems that Gates has once again bought himself an audience; he offered his CCSS-indulging speech to the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) at its Teaching and Learning conference.

Why is Gates, a non-teacher, offering his non-expertise to an audience of nationally-certified teachers?

Consolation prize for millions donated.

Gates has paid NBPTS $5 million in the form of two grants, one in 2010, and one in 2013:

Date: May 2010 
Purpose: to score Measures of Effective Teaching videos, enhance the Take One materials and processes and design, and assess the efficacy of those materials as a whole-school approach to improving teacher effectiveness 
Amount: $1,195,639 

Date: July 2013 
Purpose: to support revision of the National Board certification process 
Amount: $3,743,337  

Gates is not a teacher and has never been a teacher, yet he feels he is qualified to make untested judgments about a set of inflexible, corporate- and federal-endorsed “standards” that currently have legislative bodies nationwide in upheaval.

The sadder indictment comes against NBPTS, who allowed Gates this opportunity to showcase his ignorance.

My sincere thanks to education organizations that have not taken Gates money. Thank you for not selling your conference speaking opportunities to well-funded emptiness.

Gates is a billionaire, so he can buy this NBPTS platform in order to push the CCSS that he has spent the last several years purchasing.

And why do we need CCSS, according to Gates?

As Joy Resmovits of Huffington Post  writes,

[Gates] charged that the controversy around the Core “comes from people who want to stop the standards, which would send us back to what we had before.“ [Emphasis added.]

Where “were we before,” Bill?

I’ll tell you where I was– you know, since I’m a teacher and you are not. I was allowed to use standards as flexible guidelines, to adjust them to serve my students– based upon my professional judgment.

That’s where I “was,” Bill. And that is where I must now defend remaining.

Standards are secondary to students. Students (and teachers) should not be forced to fit the mold of inflexible standards.

Forcing students and teachers to contort themselves to suit a set of rigid standards is not “academic rigor.” It is academic abuse.

Going back “to what I had” is a welcome idea, for what I “had” did not preclude my individual expertise as a professional capable of making sound judgments in regard to my own students.

But Bill has his own ideas.

Keep in mind that this is the same very rich guy who has been playing with American education for years as though its his own personal toy and who, without thought for the thousands of lives he has disturbed, is able to casually toss out in a September 2013 Harvard University interview,

“It would be great if our education stuff worked, but that we won’t know for probably a decade.”

According to Resmovits, Gates continues his March 14 speech:

Gates argued that America’s education system currently does not prepare students adequately for college, because it’s not asking enough of them. So the transition to the new standards is hard because it has to be, he said, and asked teachers to explain the standards to local families.

First off, “not preparing students for college” presumes that the school exerts overriding control over students and should guarantee that all are processed for the Gates-determined “college ideal.”

Certainly preparation “for college” presumes college completion.

After all, isn’t “college completion” the ultimate mark of “a system’s adequately preparing students for college”?

I find it an incredible irony that Gates himself is a college dropout, and that some spreadsheet could include his name on a list of “failure to complete.”

In his narrow logic, Gates insists that the “problem” is to “ask more of students,” and that this can be accomplished via CCSS.

In Gates’ skewed estimation, CCSS is magic. It will solve the Gates-perceived education problems– unless it doesn’t– and this we “probably won’t know for a decade.”

But we “know” now because Gates says so:

Consistency of the Common Core across states, Gates argued, is a key ingredient in its potential success. Under older standards, he said, a student from Kentucky didn’t have to know the quadratic formula, but a neighbor in Tennessee did. 

I love the reference to “old standards.” Even the pro-privatizing Fordham Institute did not rate CCSS as better than many states’ “old standards.” However, like Gates, Fordham pushes CCSS.

If “consistency” were necessary for educational success, then every elite private school would conform to CCSS. However, these schools are above being asked. No one expects the elite to bow to CCSS. On the contrary, CCSS is for the masses.

Mass production of pseudo-education.

Sci-fi “sameness.”

The bottom line is that no proponent of CCSS has any solid proof of its efficacy, Gates and his billions included. Yet despite having no “consistent” (rigid) educational standards across its 50 states, the United States somehow became a world power and has managed to produce scores of inventions now taken for granted and often considered indispensable to everyday functioning.

Bill, I realize that CCSS is your current “educational cause” and that you are used to having your way via your purchasing power. However, you’re going to lose this one.

The pushback from bottom-up defies both your billions and the weight of your overpriced will.

Perhaps you ought to take up reforming the so-called reformers. Hold them accountable to document the successes they so loudly declare. Hold them accountable for the damage their capricious decisions cause.

Now there’s an arena ripe for some standards.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of Kees de Vos. This photo is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Common Core = Conditions + Coercion + Conflict of Interest

WDW – FL received an email from a frustrated parent in Florida who was tired of the “script” being repeated to her. Her opposition to Common Core came after months of research and really trying to understand all of it.  She is just one voice among many parents that feel the same way. . In her email she states, “Please see attached doc[cument] that I have been working on. The concept of the doc[ument] was to take all those quotes that came from [Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan, [Microsoft founder Bill] Gates, [President] Obama, etc and to put them all into a doc[ument] that helped to clearly debunk the standards and all the claims that are being made in regards to them … from the original source. ”

Read  the report titled “Welcome to the new Common Core fuzzy math: CC = Conditions + Coercion + Conflict of Interest“.

The following are excerpts from her document:

We also changed the way we do business at the Department of Education. Instead of issuing top-down edicts, we provided incentives for and supports for states districts, schools and local communities to undertake reform themselves, including offering more flexibility to states in the form of waivers from No Child Left Behind … The Obama Record in Education, Secretary Duncan’s Remarks to the Mom Congress, April 30, 2012

bush obama duncan

President Obama, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in Miami. Photo courtesy of the Miami-Herald.

“Why deal with pesky Congress when you get to make all the rules?” said Michael Petrilli, executive vice president of the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute. The department doesn’t have the authority to declare waivers high-risk, he said, and one of the states should call Duncan’s bluff.

States are awarded points for their compliance with a rubric of standards on issues like teacher evaluations and the number of charter schools, and applicants compete for a share of the $3.4 billion pool. The program, which began with $4.6 billion in stimulus funds, has been credited with galvanizing almost every state to either make significant changes to education laws, gain support of teacher unions, or to raise education standards across the board—all without distributing a penny in federal money. Education reforms spark ‘quiet revolution’ By ABBY PHILLIP, July 27, 2010.

Read the full document here.

“While sometimes I’ve been called an architect of their standards, I think their true architecture is evidence,” Coleman said. “That’s the binding secret of the standards.” Coleman, Zimba and Sue Pimentel, an education consultant, made sure the standards reflect the skills students need to succeed after high school.

National Governors Association:

According to the latest IRS 990 form for the NGA’s Center for Best Practices, the nonprofit arm of NGA that shares “a common pool of cash and investments” in 2010 received 80 percent of its $14.8 million annual income from taxpayers. Tax documents also show that back in 2004, the earliest available documents traced, NGA received $31 million from taxpayers. Tax funding has made up most of NGA’s income every year in between.

Despite its heavy tax support, NGA is not required to make meetings, votes, and materials public like government bodies, and it has not done so for its work on Common Core.

NGA is a private trade organization whose actions have no legal binding on states. Governors do vote during NGA’s two annual meetings to express shared priorities, former Virginia Gov. George Allen (R) told School Reform News, but “by the time they vote on a position the [resolutions] get watered down so much any objections are already accommodated. It’s unlike legislatures, with committee hearings and votes.”

Previous School Reform News reports have revealed state and federal tax money provide approximately half of CCSSO’s operating funds, and that Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation money has been intimately involved in this behind-closed-doors process. ‘State-Led’ Common Core Pushed by Federally Funded Nonprofit, By: Joy Pullman, Heartland Institute, April 24, 2013.

When the tests are aligned to the common standards, the curriculum will line up as well—and that will unleash powerful market forces in the service of better teaching. For the first time, there will be a large base of customers eager to buy products that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better. Imagine having the people who create electrifying video games applying their intelligence to online tools that pull kids in and make algebra fun. Bill Gates – National Conference of State Legislatures, July 21, 2009