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The title is not a mistake.  In the New York Times, we finally see coverage of a phenomenon some of us have been writing about for year.  The piece begins by telling about a small committed group of apparently grass roots organized teachers  who testified before the Indiana legislature and wrote an op ed asking to eliminate seniority-based layoff policies.  

They described themselves simply as local teachers who favored school reform — one sympathetic state representative, Mary Ann Sullivan, said, “They seemed like genuine, real people versus the teachers’ union lobbyists.” They were, but they were also recruits in a national organization, Teach Plus, financed significantly by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

To see how pervasive the influence of the money of Bill Gates is, I strongly urge you to read Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates

And remember this:  

In some cases, 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.

Some of us saw this coming.  We noted several years ago the number of organizations funded by the foundations of Bill and Melinda Gates and that of Eli and Edyth Broad.  The number has continued to expand.

In 2009, of the $378 million the Gates Foundation spent on education, $78 million was for advocacy activities.   The plans for the next decade are to spend $3.5 billion on education, of which up to 15% will be on advocacy.

Consider the groups the times identifies as receiving Gates' largesse.  Besides the aforementioned Teach Plus, the 360 grants include financing charter schools and early high schools, funding for the Educational Equity Project and Education Trust (both of which advocate on policy), and

research institutes that study the policies’ effectiveness, and to Education Week and public radio and television stations that cover education policies.

It pays for public relations services.  It funds university programs. in 2008 it spent $16 million in partnership with Broad to try to raise the issue of education in the Presidential election cycle.  It is playing a major role in the development of the Common Core Standards:  

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.
 It is paying the Alliance for Excellent Education and the Fordham Institute to help in the promotion of those Common Core Standards.

Let's stop on the CCS for a moment.  When the committees were established to draft them, there were people from think thanks, people from curriculum/testing firms, people from advocacy groups, but something was missing - no one was a teacher, no one was from the professional organizations of teachers dealing with the content -  National Council of Teachers of English, International Reading Association, or National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.  Nor of course were either teachers union represented - after all, Gates has been consistent in his opposition to unions.  

It goes further.  Gates was involved in promoting the horrid "Waiting for Superman" which demonized one teachers union president, Randi Weingarten, and which sought to blame teachers unions for the presence of bad teachers even distorting the data to make its points.  

Before that we would find Gates - and Broad - funding Teach for America.  Their money was behind New Leaders for New Schools.  The New Teacher Project which was led by Michelle Rhee before she went to DC Public Schools was another recipient.

We get journalists writing positively about such groups who are (a) not really trained in or about education and (b) funded at least in part by the same source funding them.

Let me address (a).  A number of weeks back I was at an event co-sponsored by the Education Writers Association and the Carnegie Foundation of New York as one of about a dozen education bloggers.  We had presentations from a variety of experts.  At the end we broke into three groups consisting of only the Education Writers and bloggers.  In my group I asked how many could discuss any of the following:  Reggio Emilia,  Simpson's Paradox, or Campbell's Law.  None of the more than a dozen at our table could discuss all three, only a few even knew one.  Reggio Emilia is perhaps the world's best model of early childhood education.   Simpson's Paradox explains why when you increase participation in something like SATs by lower socio-economic groups (say Blacks or Hispanics) as a percentage of those participating, the overall scores can drop even if the disaggregated scores for all groups go up, which is why we see horror stories on things like falling SAT scores.   And Campbell's Law, from 1976, is basic to understanding why our emphasis on test scores is distorting education:  

The more any quantitative social indicator is used for social decision-making, the more subject it will be to corruption pressures and the more apt it will be to distort and corrupt the social processes it is intended to monitor.
 Such emphasis, whether on arrest numbers for police or test scores for students, inevitably lead to distortion and in some cases outright corruption -  as we have now seen in the DC schools led by Michelle Rhee.

Gates has given money to the teachers' unions, even as it helped demonize Randi Weingarten.   Gates funds many groups, including one in which I participate:  the Teacher Leaders Network is part of the Center for Teaching Quality, itself a recipient of Gates Foundation funding.  

Last year the Gates Foundation gave half a million to a group organized by Jeb Bush.  This year the President appeared with Jeb Bush at a school in Miami.  Among the high ranking people under Arne Duncan in the Department of Education are former high ranking people in the Gates Foundation, and a former top-ranking official of Education Trust, itself a recipient of Gates funding.

In short, Gates money is everywhere in education.

Yes, in some cases the funding is benign, and in a few cases even positive.

The problem is there is no regular outside scrutiny of how this money is driving educational policy to the exclusion of other voices.  And the Times article has three brief paragraphs which should illustrate the problem this presents:  

In 2009, the foundation spent $3.5 million creating an advocacy group to buttress its $290 million investment in programs to increase teacher effectiveness in four areas of the country: Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla., Pittsburgh, Memphis and Los Angeles.

A document describing plans for the group, posted on a Washington Post blog in March, said it would mobilize local advocates, “establish strong ties to local journalists” and should “go toe to toe” with union officials in explaining contracts and state laws to the public.

But to avoid being labeled a “tool of the foundation,” the document said the group should “maintain a low public profile.”

Randi Weingarten complained about the anti-union approach, and there was some modification, to promote union-management cooperation.

Those of us not at the upper levels of the unions often wonder why their leadership seems to give in on some important issues.  Apparently they believe it is the only way they think they can continue to have a seat at the table.   Here I want to borrow language first offered by someone else -  they may be at the meal, but their place is not at the table but on it, as they are on the menu to be consumed.

There are groups receiving Gates money that still feel free to occasionally criticize some of the Foundation's initiatives.  Occasionally.

There has been no serious public discussion of whether the overall influence of Gates and similar groups is what should be driving the policy discussions in this country.  Yes, the likes of Diane Ravitch have talked about the Billionaire Boys Club including not only Gates and Broad but other foundations like those of the Waltons and the Bradleys.  

What we are seeing is a distortion of the policy making process.  Where the public is still included, it is often through what some would describe as a process already distorted or perveted, because the media which should provide accurate and unbiased information does not.  

We have seen this in other areas of American life.  There was little criticism in the traditional organs of media of the rush to war in Iraq.  There were few questions at the move to strip civil liberties in the name of national security.  Media outlets have continued to be concentrated into fewer and fewer hands, such as but not limited to those of Rupert Murdoch.  Now we have Comcast, which has been in violation of net neutrality, taking control of NBC Universal.  When media organizations are owned by industrial interests, as NBC was by GE, can those organizations properly cover their parents?  When major economic interests are the source of revenue for such organizations, will the public receive honest reporting about the misdeeds and abuses of such interests?  

I'm glad to finally see this coverage in the New York Times.  But it is very late, and not even close to being sufficient.

I would not expect to see similar coverage in the Washington Post.  After all, Bill Gates is a close friend of Warren Buffett who is a major player in the Post, and they both were friends and bridge playing companions of the late Katherine Graham.  

Please note -  I do not think Bill Gates is malevolent.  My perception is that he thinks he is doing good with how his foundation operates.  Yet both he and Broad seek to drive policy in a specific direction that seems to exclude reliance upon meaningful data in a way neither would ever do with the spending their foundations make in health care matters.  Unfortunately, everyone seems to think they are experts when it comes to education.

So read the article.  Explore the links.   Follow the work of graduate student Ken Libby, quote in the article, who blogs with Jim Horn at School Matters

Pay attention.

It is happening in education.

We already see it happening through other billionaires in what the Koch brothers are doing in places like Wisconsin.

If we do not pay attention, if we do not insist on transparency, if we do not ensure that other voices are part of the discussion, we will find that we are moving our nation in a direction that clearly would justify a new name:

The United Gates of America

Originally posted to teacherken on Sun May 22, 2011 at 04:41 AM PDT.

Also republished by Teachers Lounge and Education Alternatives.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Something relevant from Paul Farhi (26+ / 0-)

    in a Washington Post piece titled Five myths about America's Schools:

    3. Billionaires know best.

    Bill Gates, real estate developer Eli Broad and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg have made massive financial contributions to public schools to promote pay-for-performance programs, which reward teachers with bonuses when their students do better on standardized tests. They argue that merit pay creates the same incentives for public-sector employees that bonuses do in the private sector.

    But the emerging research on merit pay for teachers disputes that.

    In a three-year, $10 million study released last fall, Vanderbilt University researchers found no significant difference in performance between students who were taught by middle school teachers eligible for cash bonuses and those who weren’t. That’s no surprise to most teachers; they know that teamwork is key to success. Individual pay-for-performance schemes create the opposite incentive, fostering competition, not collaboration

    Farhi has a bit more on this topic, but his key point is simply  

    There’s no doubt that these schools can use every dime that rich guys give. But attaching strings for pet projects is elitist and wasteful.

    Note that one word  elitist

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun May 22, 2011 at 05:35:50 AM PDT

    •  Curious about the Vanderbilt study (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib

      It seems that there doesn't seem to be a clear consensus on the merits.  The first study @ their site I looked at had this:

      Student achievement improved and teacher turnover declined in schools participating in the Texas state-funded District Awards for Teacher Excellence (D.A.T.E.) program, the National Center on Performance Incentives at Vanderbilt University has found.

      “Our findings suggest that, more often than not, participants in the D.A.T.E. program had a positive experience, student achievement gains and teacher turnover moved in a generally desirable direction and teachers had favorable attitudes towards D.A.T.E.,” Jessica Lewis, research associate at NCPI and co-author of the report, said.


      link
      •  FWIW, here's the link to the study Farhi (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        vacantlook

        discusses.  

        link

      •  independent assessment of study (5+ / 0-)

        seemed to say two things

        1)  study was reasonably well designed

        2)  results did not support expanding the use of merit pay

        Sorry, I probably should go pull up the various references I remember but I simply lack the time for that right now.  I know there was extensive discussion of the study when it was released a while back.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun May 22, 2011 at 05:49:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was able to find it. It's the second link. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          From a scan of the Vanderbilt studies, results are all over the map.  If their studies are representative of the field, it's premature to say merit bonuses don't work.

        •  I recieved money under the D.A.T.E grant program (6+ / 0-)

          The district wrote the grant and the awards in 08/09 were designed terribly.  They promised a lot to the entire school if scores went up, but the grant was written so poorly, only math teachers received any money.  I am a math teacher and was one of the ones, but felt so guilty that other teachers in the school didn't share in the awards.  They help our students, too.

          There were some hard feelings within the math department, too, as the money was awarded by grade level.  If 9th grade scores reached a certain point, 9th grade teachers would get a certain amount, then 10th grade teachers, etc.  Since test scores usually increase for our Juniors, the junior level teachers received over $5,000, but 9th grade scores are usually low and those teacher got nothing.  I teach 10th grade and got a little over $1500.  But then the salt got rubbed in the wound, because as the grant was written, any monies left over would be distributed to the teachers that already won something, so 11th grade math teachers ended up with over 10K and I got over 5K while the 9th grade teachers and the rest of the school got nothing.

          This was so wrong.  ALL of us contribute to those students.  We ended up giving some of our award money into a pool to divvy up among the 9th grade math teachers.

          The next year (09/10) the grant was written better and the money was more evenly distributed.  They also wrote in ways other departments could share the money.  But students were wondering why they heck they were being taught Pythagorean theorem in choir class.  Or why they were learning surface area formulas in P.E.

          No one thinks we are going to get any this year.  The stakes keep getting ratcheted up and teachers are getting burned out.  So it's having the opposite effect.

          So my opinion is mixed.  The money was nice, but didn't change the way I taught.  It was just a nice little extra surprise.  The first year, there was so much emphasis on math, our science scores went down.  The schools that participated in the program were low performing schools whose scores were so low to begin with, there was no where to go but up, so I'm not sure how indicative the awards are to teacher or student performance.

          Also, the district wrote so many other requirements into it (teacher attendance, teacher participation in Saturday events, etc.) so teachers felt it was more of a control issue and began to rebel.   And even more concerning, the morale at our school has gotten so bad this year, some teachers are talking about how they wish scores are so bad this year that we don't get the D.A.T.E. grant just so the administration won't get their money, too.  So some teachers are actually wishing for their students to perform poorly so administration won't get any money.

          So teacherken's post above is so right.  These incentive schemes don't always foster teamwork, but begin to foster a competitive and frankly, nasty, work environment.  That may work in business, but we don't need that in public schools.

          To be is to do - Socrates; To do is to be - Plato; Do Be Do Be Do - Sinatra

          by TexH on Sun May 22, 2011 at 08:23:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, there it is... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gustynpip, TexH, 3goldens, AverageJoe42

            It divides in an environment where teachers should be sharing and supporting each other. That is what makes education work best - a collaborative environment. Envy and every man for himself is extremely toxic to the environment.

            The teachers wishing not to get the grant reminds me of how I wish NY hadnt gotten RttT money. It isnt worth the damage it does - states undo laws that protect teachers from things like evaluations based on test scores and merit pay, in order to get the RttT grant. And the money isnt even spent on things that positively impact the classroom - like diminishing size or other teacher-desired things that work. I consider states that lost out to be the winners - esp if their legislatures and unions didnt go rushing out to twist those horrid new laws into place in order to win.

            This is about giving up to get $. This is a very important aspect of education these days. From the selling out to get the Gates or Broad dough to the way unions capitulate in order to get a bit more money, giving up protections/conditions in the process.

            I feel Weingarten did this too often in NYC, as head of the UFT. It became mostly just about the money, and not about the conditions, the rights, the security... I find this especially relevant to NY where I think the pay became pretty good for a middle class profession, and dont think ever more money for ever less protection is the way to go. Let the pay increase go for one contract IF it means holding onto other important principles.

            What is really quite sad is that the merit pay bonuses some may prize at first blush, will come back to haunt them, when they realize they sold their seniority and tenure, their sane evaluation process, down the river ... and have become a victim of what they once supported, ie, get fired without a leg to stand on... maybe due to not raising those test scores. Or not completely moving in lockstep with a crappy system. Merit pay cannot substitute for a steady paycheck and job security.

            So much of this reform drive, whether intentionally or unintentionally, depending on who is behind it, is about whittling away at higher paid teachers, the senior teachers... merit pay is often advocated for by those who are young and too clueless to understand what they are giving up to get it. Like those DC teachers who opted out of seniority to get the big Rhee dollars.

            The whole thing just sickens me.

            Should a "progressive" Dem blog dwell in the safe zones of a lame party, or should it drive a lame party to break out? If it cant, should it break out?

            by NYCee on Sun May 22, 2011 at 09:21:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  what i think is going on, and what you should do: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jessical, Justanothernyer

      I think these people have benign intent combined with lack of expertise (a risky combination), and they operate in a bubble where real ground-level expertise (e.g. such as yours) doesn't get through.  

      This is a case where some real input and rational arguements may make a difference.

      However practically everyone they deal with wants something from them so they tend to be wary of people who are not associated with their social networks from before they became wealthy & famous.

      The question is: how can you, Ken, find your way through the various social circles where folks such as Gates hang out, to actually reach him in a way where he'll want to hear more from you?  

      Or alternately, you could be so brash as to just call up the Gates Foundation and say something like "I've been a successful teacher all my life, I've been following the Foundation's work with great interest, I'm not asking for funding, but I'd like to sit down with you and talk because I think my expertise may be helpful."

      What you need is:

      A compact set of data that a non-expert can interpret meaningfully to arrive at a convergent conclusion.

      A one-line intro that contains a teaser that will get them interested in hearing more.

      And then the willingness to travel on your own dime & time to meet with these folks.  You'll need to pounce on ANY opportunity they provide.  

      For instance if they're willing to give you a 1/2 hour meeting in Washington (state) at 9:30AM, pounce on it.  However DO NOT do a red-eye flight and attempt to walk into the meeting fueled by coffee; that is a prescription for incoherence.  Instead fly out there a day early and check into a motel and get a full night's sleep in order to get up early for the meeting.  And allow yourself an additional day on site (cost of motel room for one more night) in case you make a hit with them and they want you back the next day.

      The way to get that half-hour meeting extended to an hour and a half is by communicating contagious inspiration and other emotions that attract people to your way of thinking.  And the way to get invited back is by sharing some very specific ideas and proposals that the Foundation could reasonably follow up, and then saying you've got plenty more where that comes from and you're available to meet the next day.  

      Nothing to be lost by trying.

      •  my individual voice is not that important (6+ / 0-)

        although what I write is read by some people of influence, within Dept of Education, within both teachers unions, and by some significant people elsewhere in educational policy.

        It is not that Gates and others like him do not have access to different voices.  Some key people have talked with people at his foundation, and even occasionally with him.

        That they choose not to explore those different ideas is something beyond my control.

        There are real policy experts whose voices SHOULD be listened to.  Unfortunately, it is not just the people in the foundations of Gates and Broad and their ilk that are not listening, it is also people in Dept of Ed and White House and some in Congress who are not listening.  I know when some of the conversations have taken place, and what the results - or lack thereof - have been.

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Sun May 22, 2011 at 06:21:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the hell it's not. (0+ / 0-)

          Your voice IS important, dammit!

          Otherwise why are you writing a diary a day around here, eh?

          Caught you!  Neener neener!:-)

          Now look up the Gates foundation and all the people in it, and find the conferences they go to, and arrange coincidences whereby you're in the same room as they are and bump into them "at random."

          Keep at it.

          Eventually you'll get through.

  •  I was waiting (16+ / 0-)

    For your response to the NYT article! It is amazing how rich folks are experts on everything, and will try to buy a way for their ideology into all levels of American life.

    Gates ran a dishonest software monopoly selling shoddy overpriced products to consumers. I hardly think this makes him an expert on education.

    That's Countdown for the 2,082nd day since Mission Accomplished. You thought that would change? Are the troops home yet? Keith Olbermann January 20, 2009

    by Ed in Montana on Sun May 22, 2011 at 05:37:09 AM PDT

  •  It is worth going to webpage of Susan Ohanian (8+ / 0-)

    who points out how the article from which I work is incomplete and fails to credit the work of other reporters, including even Michael Winrip of the New York Times.

    Susan's piece includes the complete text of the Dillon article, as well as some additional links.

    Her site is well worth checking periodically, and even subscribing to, if you want awareness of things being written about education you might otherwise miss.

    "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

    by teacherken on Sun May 22, 2011 at 05:41:46 AM PDT

  •  don't understand (10+ / 0-)

    Smart people don't understand what it's like to be slow.  Rich people don't understand what it's like to be poor.  Successful people don't understand how important their parents and neighbors were in their success.  Bigots don't understand the consequences to those they hate.  

    People want simple solutions to "help" other people.  They want fast changes.  They want cheap changes.  They just don't want to change things that need to be changed--scapegoats are convenient.

    Apres Bush, le deluge.

    by melvynny on Sun May 22, 2011 at 05:43:09 AM PDT

    •  There's no fast change (9+ / 0-)

      in education. There can't be. You don't see immediate results.

      It's like raising a child - you can look back after they're grown and see things you did wrong, or might have done differently, but you NEVER know while it's happening what's going to work or work well.

      Except for the most obvious, blatant things like abuse and neglect.

    •  Gates seems to want to make money (5+ / 0-)

      given his recent partnership with Pearson.

      Or if I am more generous, he seems to think the answer is more use of computers and of data.

      The problem is that the data is really not all that good.

      I am seeking permission right now to post part of the contents of a letter sent to the New York State Board of Regents that addresses some real issues with data.

      It is worth noting that psychometricians are very much in opposition to most of what we are doing with test data, whether the current kinds of end of course tests we use, or even attempts at using Value Added methodologies.  I have written on this numerous times.  Perhaps the best single thing to look at is the policy brief from EPI, about which I wrote here in a posting that got more than 600 comments.  FWIW, there is significant overlap between the authors of this brief and the letter whose contents I am seeking to get permission to quote.

      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

      by teacherken on Sun May 22, 2011 at 05:53:58 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I printed the study from EPI (8+ / 0-)

        and have been educating my fellow teachers and  administrators about the controversial nature of Value Added methodologies.

        Merit pay for teachers based on test scores will prove to be a solution with absolutely no merit. Part of the solution is so much simpler. Pay the teachers, who are best at working with struggling students, to put in the extra hours teaching before and after school classes. Make sure that the classes are small enough that children get the attention that they need. Parents then need to be held accountable for getting their children to attend regularly. It is also important to stop expecting children with an IQ of 88 to learn as quickly and as easily as a child with an IQ of 118.

        Infidels in all ages have battled for the rights of man, and have at all times been the advocates of truth and justice... Robert Ingersol

        by BMarshall on Sun May 22, 2011 at 06:28:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justanothernyer

        Gates really believes he can help fix a painful truth--but he's out of his element and being taken for a ride.  He is definitely not in it for the money.  

        Apres Bush, le deluge.

        by melvynny on Sun May 22, 2011 at 07:41:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The whole world is moving past Gates (0+ / 0-)

        and his friends in the Publishing Empire. Don't look for anything new or creative to come out of the mind of Bill Gates. His current company exists because of programs developed by others 20 years ago. The publishing monopoly will be crushed by some guy or gal who develops a program that allows teachers to create their own books or content for their courses.

        People are already publishing their own titles, which get peer reviewed by end users (people a lot more important than Gates or his lackeys). Big companies don't innovate! They protect their turf, something our President might want to learn someday.

        I live with a teacher by the way, who largely creates her own content when she develops her lesson plans. If she had the right tools, and a school district open to the creative abilities of their teachers, I don't think she would ever need a text book again.

  •  Typo alert (0+ / 0-)
    teachers  who testited before the Indiana legislature
  •  capitalism has failed (6+ / 0-)

    ergo billionaires are a failed class

    ergo billionaires should be the last people influencing our educational system

    you see it all depends on whom gets to create the definitions.  it isn't about evidence or proof at all.  it is always about power.  that is what so many kossacks do not understand:

    it is always about power.

    the poor have failed by one definition, by another, the fact that they live at all is a tremendous success.

    sickening to me, but true.

    I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

    by BlueDragon on Sun May 22, 2011 at 06:26:12 AM PDT

  •  Education is weak in this regard (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bigrivergal

    Education always seems like it's willing to scrap older methods for newer methods.  

    I think part of that dynamic is driven by the constant negative pressure that is put on schools.  

    Schools are always being treated as if they are in some sort of crisis.  Crisis management leads to crisis decisions.  

    " It's in that book you hold up when you yell at gay people! Bill Maher

    by otto on Sun May 22, 2011 at 06:37:35 AM PDT

  •  I am Billgatus of Borg. Resistance is futile. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Friend of the court

    billgatus

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White

    by zenbassoon on Sun May 22, 2011 at 07:03:51 AM PDT

  •  Gates, Pearson, CCSS & $$$$ (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, teacherken

    I posted this late last Sunday on the diary about the common core standards.  This blog post connects the dots on the standards money trail.

    http://rdsathene.blogspot.com/...

  •  Tipped and rec'ed.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, shaharazade

    The robber barons are back bigger and worse than ever and are still not benign.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun May 22, 2011 at 08:16:52 AM PDT

  •  Have Faith (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JesseCW, ammasdarling, shaharazade

    I believe I believe I believe that a bunch of money given by billionaires like Gates and Buffett to promote their agenda is going to help out regular working folks.  I believe I believe I believe.

    Find me fast on Daily Kos by following me.

    by bink on Sun May 22, 2011 at 09:22:28 AM PDT

  •  Chalmers Johnson: Empire or Democracy but not both (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, cville townie

    And he is right!

    Part of maintaining an empire is the greater and greater concentration of wealth in a smaller and smaller number of hands.  One side effect of that is charitable giving of those at the top is designed, perhaps unconsciously by some such as Gates and Buffett, to help maintain and expand the power of those at the top.

    Thank you for this post.

  •  Koch, Gates, Carnegie what is the difference? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cville townie

    Not a fan of any of them.

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun May 22, 2011 at 10:23:16 AM PDT

  •  Rec'd for discussion... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    teacherken

    There was an interesting piece in today's WashPo Outlook section:

    Bill Gates, real estate developer Eli Broad and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg have made massive financial contributions to public schools to promote pay-for-performance programs, which reward teachers with bonuses when their students do better on standardized tests. They argue that merit pay creates the same incentives for public-sector employees that bonuses do in the private sector.

    But the emerging research on merit pay for teachers disputes that.

    I link you!

    “Sometimes, the most reasonable thing in the legislative process is to be unreasonable.” Mike Pence, R-Ind., on negotiating with the democrats.

    by dclawyer06 on Sun May 22, 2011 at 11:28:07 AM PDT

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