Gil Scott-Heron, R.I.P.

Gil Scott-Heron (April 1, 1949 - May 27, 2011) was an American poet, musician, and author known primarily for his late 1970s and early 1980s work as a spoken word performer and his collaborative soul works with musician Brian Jackson. His collaborative efforts with Jackson featured a musical fusion of jazz, blues and soul music, as well as lyrical content concerning social and political issues of the time, delivered in both rapping and melismatic vocal styles by Scott-Heron. The music of these albums, most notably Pieces of a Man and Winter in America in the early 1970s, influenced and helped engender later African-American music genres such as hip hop and neo soul. Scott-Heron's recording work is often associated with black militant activism and has received much critical acclaim for one of his most well-known compositions "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised". His poetic style has been influential upon every generation of hip hop since his popularity began.[2] In addition to being widely considered an influence in today's music, Scott-Heron is still active and in 2010 released his first new album in 16 years, entitled I'm New Here.

Susan Ohanian Finishes The Times' Incomplete Piece On Bill Gates Owning Public Education

All the News that's Fit to Print and What the New York Times Leaves Out
Susan Notes:

This is a supplement to Sam Dillon's front-page New York Times article Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates, May 22, 2011.

Mr. Gates is creating entirely new advocacy groups. The foundation is also paying Harvard-trained data specialists to work inside school districts, not only to crunch numbers but also to change practices. It is bankrolling many of the Washington analysts who interpret education issues for journalists and giving grants to some media organizations.
--Sam Dillon, The New York Times, front page, May 22, 2011 

What Good News: Sam Dillon at the New York Times has discovered that "local teachers who favor school reform" are actually operatives for a national organization,Teach Plus, financed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. 

What Bad News: For years, a number of us have been screaming about Gates buying up education policy but nobody would listen. 

But let's celebrate what has happened. This story revealing Gates funding everything from the development (and evaluation) of Common Core Standards to the promotion of the public school-bashing "Waiting for 'Superman'" film was front-page news in the paper of record. And until this happened, the Gates' Foundation's wealth has put it beyond criticism--except by those of us marginalized as the lunatic fringe. In a spirit of collegiality, I offer a few notes to flesh out Dillon's account. 

For starters, take a look at the way the Gates Foundation is commonly portrayed: Paul Hill's A Foundation Goes to School, in Education Next, Winter 2006. 

Although the Hoover Institution publishes Education Next, the business office is at Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard Kennedy School. Paul Peterson,Henry Lee Shattuck Professor of Government and Director of the Program on Education Policy and Governance at Harvard University, is the editor-in-chief. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution. Chester Finn, president of the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and Thomas B. Fordham Institute and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution is senior editor. Finn also lists himself as "public servant." The Next mission statement takes the high road, professing that the publication "partakes of no program, campaign, or ideology. It goes where the evidence points." That said, in February 2010 the Gates Foundation gave Next $224,030 to support their Charter Initiative. 

On June 7, 2007, Bill Gates, at the time, the world’s richest man, received an honorary doctorate from Harvard. 

Few Degrees of Separation 
Gates operates in a small world of kissing kin. Everybody is inter-connected. Dillon doesn't mention that Monique Burns Thompson, President of Teach Plus, is a co-founder of New Leaders for New Schools. Before that, she was assistant brand manager at Quaker Oats. Heather Peske, National Director of Programs, was formerly Director of Teacher Quality at Education Trust. She launched her career in education as a Teach for America corps member. 

There are plenty of Ivy League graduates on their Board of Advisors, which means: 
1) They have the connections to make things happen; 2) They have both of Barack Obama's ears. Obama can't seem to say no to Ivy League pundits. 

Teach Plus Advisory Committee Members 
• Margaret Boasberg, The Bridgespan Group [worked extensively on strategies to increase the philanthropy of high net worth individuals] 
• Stacey Childress, Harvard Business School 
• Rachel Curtis, Human Capital Strategies for Urban Schools [paid $2,000 a day for services on human capital for Chicago Public Schools when Arne Duncan was in charge]
• Ben Fenton, New Leaders for New Schools [cofounder and chief strategy and knowledge officer; formerly at McKinsey & Co] 
• Ethan Gray, The Mind Trust [After college, worked as a research assistant at Education Sector in Washington, DC; at Mind Trust he's in charge of "spreading entrepreneurship nationwide"] 
• Ellen Guiney, Boston Plan for Excellence [Executive Director of BPE, which now focuses its efforts on "the use of formative assessments to help teachers tailor instruction to individual students, and increased data analysis to inform instructional decisions and professional development" 
• Amanda Hillman, Teach for America 
• Joanna Jacobson, Strategic Grant Partners 
• Jason Kamras, District of Columbia Public Schools [2005 National Teacher of the Year, now director of human capital strategy for teachers in D.C. Public Schools, which includes enthusiastic support of "pay for performance"; former Teach for America corps member] 
• Sandra Licon, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [Program Officer, Education Advocacy; office located in Washington D. C. 
• John Luczak, Joyce Foundation [conservative foundation gives "innovation grants" to charter schools; previously worked at US Department of Education] 
• Julie Mikuta, New Schools Venture Fund [partner focusing on the firm's human capital investment strategy as well as management assistance for a variety of portfolio ventures. She serves on the board of directors of Bellwether Education Partners, Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF), KIPP DC, New Teacher Center (NTC), Pacific Charter School Development, and Partnerships to Uplift Communities (PUC); led trainings for school board and superintendent-teams of large urban districts at the Center for Reform of School Systems, through an initiative supported by The Broad Foundation; Vice President of Alumni Affairs for Teach For America] 
• Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Carnegie Corporation [previously Project Director of System Transformation at the New York City Department of Education, working as part of Chancellor Joel Klein's team] 
• Lynn Olson, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation [one of participants in SMART OPTIONS: INVESTING THE RECOVERY FUNDS FOR STUDENT SUCCESS; former senior editor of Education Week and project editor of their Quality Counts report] 
• Elizabeth Pauley, The Boston Foundation [former Teach for America corps member] 
• Ari Rozman, The New Teacher Project 
• Cara Delzer Stadlin, New Schools Venture Fund 
• Mary Wells, Connect the Dots 
--reported at http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_atrocities.php?id=4014 Aug. 9, 2010 

NOTE: In "Michelle Rhee is 'Not Done Fighting' against public school teachers and unions,” Adam Neenan reported for Substance, Dec. 16, 2010, on one Teach Plus data-collecting strategy as they hosted a by-invitation-only discussion with educational entrepreneur Michelle Rhee. 

The unnamed Washington Post blogger referred to by Dillon is, of course, Valerie Strauss. She revealed some of Gates Foundation shady funding in Gates spends millions to sway public on ed reform. She included hot links to important documents in this operation. You won’t want to miss the Confidential Letter. 

Don’t you wonder why journalists are so reluctant to acknowledge the good work of other journalists? Why does Valerie Strauss remain unnamed? 


Thursday Cartoon Fun: Cheshire Newt Edition

Early Childhood Education: Proof Society Doesn't Really Care About Children

The field of early childhood education (ECE) is riddled with contradictions. Bluntly, when those we love the most—our children—are at the most consequential stage of their cognitive, social, and emotional development, we leave them in the hands of the people we pay the least. According to the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, childcare workers earn about 4 percent less than animal caretakers—$20,940 and $21,830 per year, respectively.
Shanker Blog


Tuesday Bonus Cartoon Fun: Cheater Edition

School Vouchers Pay For Religion At Expense Of Math

The 'Christian' Dogma Pushed by Religious Schools That Are Supported by Your Tax Dollars

If you live in a state with a voucher or corporate tax credit program funding "school choice," your state's tax dollars are funding the teaching of religious supremacism.

Are your state’s tax dollars funding the teaching of religious supremacism and bigotry? What about creationism? The answer is undoubtedly yes, if you live in a state with a voucher or corporate tax credit program funding “school choice."

Religious schools across the nation are receiving public funds through voucher and corporate tax credit programs. Many hundreds, if not thousands, of these schools use Protestant fundamentalist textbooks that teach not only creationism, but also a religious supremacist worldview. They offer a shocking spin on politics, history and human rights.
by Rachel Tabachnick via Alternet

Tuesday Cartoon Fun: Storm, Chasing Edition


The Inconvenient Truth About Waiting For Superman Trailer

How Bill Gates Bought Public Education (or Go Linux!)

It's pretty scary, the way a rich guy can influence an entire nation to succumb to his whim. It's scarier that the public let him.

Mr. Hess, a frequent blogger on education whose institute received $500,000 from the Gates foundation in 2009 “to influence the national education debates,” acknowledged that he and others sometimes felt constrained. “As researchers, we have a reasonable self-preservation instinct,” he said. “There can be an exquisite carefulness about how we’re going to say anything that could reflect badly on a foundation.”

“Everybody’s implicated,” he added.

Indeed, the foundation’s 2009 tax filing runs to 263 pages and includes about 360 education grants. There are the more traditional and publicly celebrated programmatic initiatives, like financing charter school operators and early-college high schools. Then there are the less well-known advocacy grants to civil rights groups like the Education Equality Project and Education Trust that try to influence policy, to research institutes that study the policies’ effectiveness, and to Education Week and public radio and television stations that cover education policies.

The foundation paid a New York philanthropic advisory firm $3.5 million “to mount and support public education and advocacy campaigns.” It also paid a string of universities to support pieces of the Gates agenda. Harvard, for instance, got $3.5 million to place “strategic data fellows” who could act as “entrepreneurial change agents” in school districts in Boston, Los Angeles and elsewhere. The foundation has given to the two national teachers’ unions — as well to groups whose mission seems to be to criticize them.

“It’s easier to name which groups Gates doesn’t support than to list all of those they do, because it’s just so overwhelming,” noted Ken Libby, a graduate student who has pored over the foundation’s tax filings as part of his academic work.

A Taste Of What We Face, Updated Again

Cindy represents the tortured logic of many Americans when talking about the economy, education, or anything, really.


In this part of the thread Cindy says,

"Warren Buffet - what about him...and he said clearly, "We are winning." In reference to a perceived war on rich."

Buffet's whole quote was, "There’s class warfare, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning."

Then this:

Update II: I neglected to link to the thread.

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