NY Times exposes Gates, Broad-funded astroturf groups

 

Astroturf field - Wikipedia

Today’s New York Times offers an analysis of the many ways that Bill Gates, Eli Broad, and their billions have tried to take over public education in America.

The Times details just a few of the “thought partners” that Bill alone has bought:

  • Few policy makers, reporters or members of the public who encounter advocates like Teach Plus or pundits like Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute realize they are underwritten by the foundation.
  • (T)here 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.
  • 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.
  • Its latest annual report, for instance, highlights its role — often overlooked — in the development and promotion of the common core academic standards that some 45 states have adopted in recent months. The National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers, which developed the standards, and Achieve Inc., a nonprofit organization coordinating the writing of tests aligned with the standards, have each received millions of dollars.
  • The Center on Education Policy, which calls itself “a national independent advocate,” was awarded $1 million over two years to track which states adopted the standards.
  • In 2009, a Gates-financed group, the New Teacher Project, issued an influential report detailing how existing evaluation systems tended to give high ratings to nearly all teachers. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan cited it repeatedly and wrote rules into the federal Race to the Top grant competition encouraging states to overhaul those systems. Then a string of Gates-backed nonprofit groups worked to promote legislation across the country: at least 20 states, including New York, are now designing new evaluation systems.
  • Teach Plus was founded in 2007 in Boston by Celine Coggins, a former teacher with a Ph.D. from Stanford, to give young educators incentives to make the classroom a career. With relatively small grants from other foundations, Ms. Coggins began working with teachers in Chicago and Indianapolis in 2008. The next year, she received Gates foundation awards totaling $4 million, for expenditure over three years, which allowed her to expand to Los Angeles and Memphis, build a Web site and move into new offices at the Boston headquarters.

Locally, Gates funds such self-proclaimed “independent groups” as Advance Illinois, Stand for Children, and SAGE/PRISE.

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