The plan [Gates Proposal] includes campaigns to reach out to parents, teachers, students, business and civic and religious leaders, and to build “strong ties to local journalists, opinion elites, and local/state policymakers and their staffs.” The plan explains how the organization will ensure “frequent placement ... in local media coverage of issues related to teacher effectiveness and equitable distribution of effective teachers” in accordance with the Gates approach....
The proposal calls for supporting local groups that promote the value-added evaluation systems, and who even get involved in unions so they can demand this approach in collective bargaining for teachers contracts.
But in a section entitled “Risks,” the proposal says that one big risk “is that Teaching First will be characterized as a tool of the Foundation.” To avoid that, it says, “Teaching First will need to be very careful about the national partners it brings into the work” and should “maintain a low public profile” and “ensure publicity and credit accrue to local partners whenever possible.”
Chris Williams, a spokesman for the foundation, said the new organization is an advocacy, not a lobbying group.
“We believe advocacy is an important part of the work that we support,” he said. “Much of the work that we are funding requires that there be movement in political and public will on issues .... not just in education but in global health.... We fund advocacy organizations all the time.”