Gates Foundation Crimes Against US Education Policy

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Gates Foundation Crimes Against US Education Policy

Post by johnkarls »

Gates Foundation Crimes Against US Education Policy
Originally proposed by johnkarls » Tue Jun 12, 2012 3:53 pm – 428 views before being transplanted here

I propose that we read Prof. Diane Ravitch’s “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education” ($11.35 from + shipping – 352 pages).

Diane Ravitch is N.Y.U.’s Research Professor of Education and a historian of education. In addition, she is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education.

She accuses the Gates Foundation, inter alia, of pushing for 10 years the breaking up of failing high schools into smaller high schools and, after admitting the failure of that approach, of now pushing teacher evaluations as the most important approach to failing high schools!!!

Obviously, even if these actions of the Gates Foundation do not comprise crimes under English-American common law, they are still “Crimes Against Humanity” because they condemn U.S. Education Policy to “wander in the wilderness for another 40 years” while untold millions of our inner-city children are condemned to “fates worse than death” in what is termed an “Inner-City Holocaust” (please see Sections 3 and 4 of this bulletin board). As we have studied several times in the past, America has known for two decades that the only effective policy is (1) providing surrogate parents for inner-city children in the form of tutors/mentors, coupled with (2) transforming the atmosphere of an entire inner-city-school grade level or the atmosphere of an entire grade cohort in a public housing project as the children progress from Kindergarten through High School Graduation with the surrogate-parent tutors/mentors, COUPLED WITH THE GUARANTEE OF COLLEGE TUITION. Pretending that inner-city teachers can accomplish anything significant without taking these two steps is criminal, and should be approved by the U.N. Security Council for prosecution by the International Criminal Court at The Hague!!!

[With regard to the International Criminal Court, the U.N. Security Council has the power to confer jurisdiction on the ICC vis-à-vis citizens/organizations of countries that have not ratified the Rome Statute establishing the ICC which, incidentally, is how the ICC acquired jurisdiction over war crimes in Bosnia. And for ICC aficionados, Article 7 of the Rome Statute defines “Crimes Against Humanity” as “any of the following acts when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population, with knowledge of the attack: … (h) Persecution against any identifiable group or collectively on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender as defined in paragraph 3, or other grounds that are universally recognized as impermissible under international law, … [or] (k) Other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering…” It should also be noted that “persecution” and “inhumane acts” do not even require the use of weaponry so we do not even have to rely on the well-known comparative-weaponry principle of Euripides, St. Paul, the Prophet Muhammed, Shakespeare, Napoleon, etc., but best phrased by the British playwright Edward Bulwer-Lytton in “Richelieu” that “The pen is mightier than the sword”!!!]


This addendum of 7/2/2012 results from the many inquiries whether I am serious about proposing one of our Six-Degrees-Of-Separation E-mail Campaigns requesting President Obama to request the U.N. Security Council to confer jurisdiction on the I.C.C. to prosecute Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation for “Crimes Against Humanity” as defined in the “Rome Statute” establishing the I.C.C.

[My answer is provided here as an addendum (rather than as a “Reply” following the PBS Newshour transcript which follows) in order to avoid its becoming “lost in the shuffle.”]

Yes, I am serious about having Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation prosecuted at the I.C.C.

Not because I am delusional that such a prosecution would actually occur, despite how Melinda Gates’ and the Gates Foundation’s “Crimes Against Humanity” will condemn more American inner-city children to “fates worse than death” than the number of victims involved in any prosecution that the I.C.C. has undertaken to date.

But because “talking truth to power” in this fashion is the most dramatic way left open to me, in the wake of the failure of the lawsuits against 15 large multi-national financial institutions (please see the third and fourth sections of this bulletin board regarding “Inner-City Holocaust and America’s Apartheid ‘Justice’ System (In Honor of Jonathan Kozol and In Memory of John Howard Griffin)”, to bring publicity to the plight of our inner-city children and how Melinda Gates and the Gates Foundation have caused, and still are causing, America to turn away from The Promised Land and, instead, “to wander in the wilderness for another 40 years”!!!

And another footnote =

I have been asked many times since last Fall why “Inner-City Holocaust” has not been published yet even though, in the heat of battle, I had said in the many letters to the 21 National and California governmental officials that their lack of support for their 10-million inner-city-children constituents should be an issue in their next election campaigns.

Shortly after the U.S. Supreme Court refused last October to hear our final appeal, I decided to wait until after the November 2012 elections because the failure of the 43 news-media superstars and failure of the 21 governmental officials is a long-term challenge. And the long-term solution of an electronically-self-published book to be used for ethics classes in law schools and divinity schools, and in undergraduate courses in political science, ethics/philosophy, sociology, etc., does not need to interfere with the re-election chances of officials whose opponents are no more likely to lead us to The Promised Land.

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PBS Newshour Interview Re The Gates Foundation Crimes

Post by Pat »

Originally posted by Pat » Tue Jun 12, 2012 4:12 pm
Editorial Comment = There follows the transcript of the PBS Newshour interview of Prof. Ravitch in which she makes the charges against the Gates Foundation (please see the 15th paragraph of the transcript).


PBS Newshour – 6/5/2012

Are Teachers Too Easily Caught In The Crossfire Over Student Achievement?

JEFFREY BROWN: And next, the second part of our series about teachers, testing, and accountability in public schools. Last night, we interviewed Melinda Gates, co-founder of the Gates Foundation, who's been an outspoken advocate for testing and tougher standards. Tonight, we get a different view on how teachers are and should be evaluated.
Ray Suarez has our story.

CELESTE ADAMS, teacher, Riverview Gardens High School: Classical or traditional education is dead. It's failing our students.

RAY SUAREZ: Across America, teachers are talking, taking a rare opportunity to discuss their work lives, their joys and frustrations, and trade ideas on how to raise graduation rates and reduce the number of dropouts. They're venting and sharing practical tips about what works in their classrooms at a series of teacher town halls hosted by a dozen local PBS stations. It's part of the American Graduate initiative, sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, both funders of this program. MAN: In this country today, what we're focusing on instead is, can you answer a multiple-choice test, instead of, how do we make you love education? How do we get you to feel that this is something that is meaningful to you? And, if we don't do that, the rest of this is a waste of time.

RAY SUAREZ: Some topics have cropped up in nearly every city: the increased emphasis on testing, the importance of learning to read at an early age, and teacher evaluations. Throughout the continuing debate on how to hold teachers accountable for student achievement, some of the most vocal opposition has come from what you might call a former reformer. Diane Ravitch served as a deputy secretary of education during the George H.W. Bush administration. But in recent years, she's sharply criticized the federal law known as No Child Left Behind, a law signed by President George W. Bush. She's also been critical of the Obama administration's approach and of major changes in school districts in New York City and Washington, D.C., where chancellors have insisted on tougher accountability measures for teachers. Ravitch is an author and education historian. Tonight, we get her view of the ongoing debate. Dr. Ravitch, welcome back to the program. In the recent debates on fixing American schools, a lot of emphasis has been placed on teachers, how to train them, how to pay them, even when and how to fire them. Is putting teachers at the center of reform at least a step in the right direction?

DIANE RAVITCH, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education: Well, certainly, teachers are crucial to schools. They're crucial to everything that happens in schools. But there's been way too negative a discussion. There has been so much demonizing of teachers, as though they're a great problem. And the overwhelmingly majority of teachers in this country are very hardworking, very dedicated and, for the most part, underpaid.

RAY SUAREZ: Is there a place where an evaluation system that figures out what teachers do well, identifies areas where they need improvement, and then goes on to pay top performers accordingly?

DIANE RAVITCH: Well, there's two parts to your question. First of all, should teachers be evaluated? Yes. Should they be evaluated by the test scores of their students, as Race to the Top, the Obama program, requires? Absolutely not. That is an unproven and actually a very harmful way to evaluate teachers. Should teachers be paid more if the test scores go up? No, they should not be, because that puts too much emphasis on very poor tests. It causes teachers to teach to the test, which everybody agrees is a terrible thing to do. It also leads to narrowing of the curriculum, so that schools will drop the arts. They will drop history. They will drop civics, foreign languages. And they will focus only on what's tested. So, it actually is very educationally harmful to pay teachers to get higher test scores in reading and math or in any subject, because it's just not a good method. And, by the way, I might add that this whole idea of merit pay has been tried again and again since the 1920s. It has never, ever produced results.

RAY SUAREZ: But how do you achieve some form of accountability? If you can't look at a classroom of 23, 28, 30 kids and say, these kids know how to read when they couldn't, know how to compute when they couldn't, we can actually see whether this teacher is doing an effective job?

DIANE RAVITCH: Well, that's absolutely crucial. That's the job, first of all, of the principal of the school, the department chair. And also in systems that are doing this, it's a job of peer review. The way you measure teacher performance is to observe teachers performing. And then you also look at the work that their students do. You look at where they were when they came in, whether they're learning or not. And you don't make that judgment just based on test scores, because these standardized tests are way too narrow and really not a very useful instrument for that.

RAY SUAREZ: You made the point they're being asked to take the lion's share of the blame. But there, in fact, ineffective teachers, and are they -- can they be fired in places where collective bargaining agreements have historically made it difficult to do it?

DIANE RAVITCH: Well, are there ineffective teachers? I'm sure there must be. I've heard stories of ineffective teachers. And I certainly don't think there should be even one ineffective teacher in any school. And it's the job of the administration, the job of the principal primarily, to make sure that no ineffective teacher ever gets tenure. Once they get tenure, all that means is -- it doesn't mean they have a lifetime job. It doesn't mean they get paid for breathing. It means that they have a right to due process. If, after getting tenure, the principal says, I want to fire you, they have to have evidence. They have to have a hearing before an impartial administrator. That really is not such a burdensome thing. But it's very clear that this is not the key problem in American education, because the lowest performance is not in union districts. The highest performance in America is Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey. These are three states that are all union states. They have very strong collective bargaining agreements and the highest-performing states. The weakest performance is in the states that have no collective bargaining and where there's a lot of poverty. I think it's really important in your discussions about education that you recognize that the most -- the biggest single correlate and, very likely, I would say the cause of low performance is not teachers or union contracts. It's poverty and racial isolation. In every district where there is very low academic achievement, there is poverty and racial isolation. And yet we are now trapped in this national conversation where there's almost an agreement we will not talk about poverty. We will not talk about racial isolation. We will just talk about teachers. We are talking about the wrong problem.

RAY SUAREZ: You got a lot of attention when you wrote an article reassessing some of the educational policies you had supported before, like No Child Left Behind's emphasis on testing, using competition, using charters. What changed your mind?

DIANE RAVITCH: Well, it wasn't just an article. It was a book. I wrote a book called "The Death and Life of the Great American School System," explaining why I turned against testing, accountability, competition, choice, the accumulation of evidence saying that these are not only just ineffective policies; they're actually harmful to education. They undermine education. The accumulation of evidence was such that I found I could no longer support No Child Left Behind or any of these programs that say that teachers should compete with one another, because they don't. Teachers want to work together. They know that they're on the same team. They want to collaborate. The essence of every good school is collaboration and teamwork, not competition.

RAY SUAREZ: Another big change in the years you have been talking about has seen foundations become big players in proposing and advocating new educational policies, including privatization, parental control, increased use of charter schools. Have the foundations been a worthwhile addition to the debate over the future of education?

DIANE RAVITCH: Well, I have a chapter in my book about -- I call them the billionaire boys club. The billionaires boys club is led by the three biggest foundations in America, the Gates Foundation, the Walton Foundation, the Broad Foundation. These are the three billionaire foundations that give a lot of money to American education. And it has been given to push the privatization movement forward, as well as to put a very heavy emphasis on testing and test scores as part of teacher evaluation. I think that -- you know, I'm a historian. So, I look back and I say, there has never been a time in our national life where foundations, which are accountable to no one, make decisions about what our education policy should be. Sometimes, they make the wrong bet. And the Gates Foundation is a very good example of this. They put $2 billion into breaking up large high schools into small high schools. And after doing that for almost a decade, they said, whoops, that didn't work. We're not going to do that anymore. Now we're going to put the focus on teacher evaluation. And so the immense amount of money, the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Gates Foundation and now these other big foundations are pouring in, they are directing the national conversation. And I think that's not -- it strikes me that that's in some ways not democratic. Our conversations about what to do about our schools should be held at the local level and at the state level. The federal government is there to level the playing field. They're not there to steer the boat.

RAY SUAREZ: Diane Ravitch, great to talk with you. Thanks for joining us.

DIANE RAVITCH: Thank you so much, Ray.

GWEN IFILL: In our next report, we hear from teachers speaking out at a panel in New York that Ray moderated. Online, you can find all of our reports and a link to the American Graduate website on our home page. American Graduate is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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More Criminals Against US Education Policy

Post by UtahOwl »

Originally posted by UtahOwl » Wed Jul 11, 2012 2:59 pm
Did the Gates Foundation fall into the classic logical fallacy of being fooled by "great results from small numbers", when they posited that small schools would do better than large ones? according to July's book Thinking Fast & Slow,if they only looked at HOW WELL small schools did relative to large ones ( the large ones would be closer to the mean) and they did NOT look at HOW POORLY small schools did relative to large ones (there should have been a lot more failing small schools than average)...then they could have been fooled into thinking that small schools actually would perform better than large ones.
P.S. this is not addressing your and Ravitch's issues with the Billionaire Boys' Club Foundations dominating education policy. My thoughts are below.

As far as I can tell, what's been dominating Education Policy discussions for the past 30 years has been Milton Friedman's criticism of the public education model, which has been shaped into a "Let business run the schools and give parents better choices" narrative. To the point that:
4 of 5 charter schools in Michigan are run by for-profit companies: ... r-profits/
Ravitch penned a blog this week pointing to the decisions by emergency financial managers in Muskegon Heights and Highland Park to turn schools over the charter school operators until the districts pay off millions of dollars of debt."The emergency manager has a free hand to do as he or she wishes. Decisions are made by diktat, with no need to consult with the community whose children are involved. So much for choice.
“As context, bear in mind that the governor cut the budget for public schools while giving big tax breaks to corporations. Under its present leadership, Michigan lacks the political will to support public education in every school district.” ... ights.html

Does this sound familiar to anyone here in Utah? Hmmmm?

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Trying to Excuse Gates Fdn's Crimes Against Humanity

Post by Pat »

Originally posted by Pat » Sat Jul 21, 2012 9:47 pm
Utah Owl's immediately-preceding comment about the Gates Foundation "falling into the classical logical fallacy" and "being fooled" makes it sound, whether or not intentionally, like the Gates Foundation is innocent of Crimes Against Humanity.

Yes, it is true in John Karls' Discussion Outline for our meeting on 7/11/2012 focusing on "Thinking, Fast and Slow," that John points out that its author on pp. 117-118 suggests that the Gates Foundation was guilty of the statistical fallacy of generalizing from small statistical samples while large statistical samples tend toward the mean. The first example of that statistical fallacy in "Thinking, Fast and Slow" was concluding from the fact that kidney cancer rates are highest in small, rural counties in the Midwest, South and West, that there is a correlation (perhaps even causal) between kidney cancer rates and the size/character/location of counties. The statistical fallacy becomes apparent when it is appreciated that it is also true that kidney cancer rates are LOWEST in small, rural counties in the Midwest, South and West. In other words, counties with small populations can be expected to have kidney cancer rates "all over the lot" -- both high and low. Whereas counties with large populations can be expected to have kidney cancer rates that cluster more closely around the average for the entire country.

The question is whether ignorance (if, indeed, the Gates Foundation really was ignorant) is a defense.

In other words, if guards pack prisoners into a gas chamber and flip the switch, should they be permitted the defense of claiming (if, indeed, they really are ignorant) that they didn't realize that gas would kill human beings.

Moreover, the reckless behavior exhibited by the Gates Foundation is compounded by the fact that after hijacking U.S. education policy for 10 years on the altar of "small schools," they are now hijacking U.S. education policy (as also described by Diane Ravitch) on the altar of worshipping the "false idol" that teacher evaluations are the most important approach to failing high schools!!!

In English/American common law, both criminal and civil, "reckless behavoir" is held to INTEND the consequences of the recklessness!!!

If the Gates Foundation is going to play around with the lives of millions of innocent inner-city children and condemn them to "fates worse than death" with its reckless behavior, it is indeed guilty of Crimes Against Humanity and should be prosecuted (however unlikely that may be) at the International Criminal Court.

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