billionaires with ideas

God save us from billionaires with ideas. Though Carnegie did create public libraries.  It will take more thinking and work for the current crop of do-gooder billionaires to actually do good of some sort.  They will have to understand the homeschooling movement which, like organic agriculture, educates without any of the poisonous pedagogy supposedly required to run schools.  Bill Gates should start attending some homeschooling conferences instead of drawing his advisors from high echelon education industry figures.

Dissent Magazine -  Got Dough? How Billionaires Rule Our Schools  is a very good article, widely read, and I post it here though I've already quoted it in previous posts.  This is yet another revelation of how the past 30-40 years have transferred money to an elite who now hold the country in a stranglehold. We are in permanent war and our institutions are dysfunctional and in the void, conmen, fanatics and opportunists abound.  All the salaries up top are expanding and all the wages at the bottom are drying up. Actually the bottom is gone and now the middle, or those who thought they were in the middle, are watching the money go up, up, and away.

From the report:
THE COST of K–12 public schooling in the United States comes to well over $500 billion per year. So, how much influence could anyone in the private sector exert by controlling just a few billion dollars of that immense sum? Decisive influence, it turns out. A few billion dollars in private foundation money, strategically invested every year for a decade, has sufficed to define the national debate on education; sustain a crusade for a set of mostly ill-conceived reforms; and determine public policy at the local, state, and national levels. In the domain of venture philanthropy—where donors decide what social transformation they want to engineer and then design and fund projects to implement their vision—investing in education yields great bang for the buck.
Our institutions are weak when when this can happen.  The answer isn't solely to get the money out but also to strengthen our institutions.  In the case of schools, this means widening the base to get them more firmly anchored in community.  This could not happen if schools had strong roots in their communities with the families they should serve.  But because the centralized structure of the schools has grown so top heavy, it is easy for changes at the topmost level to affect neighborhoods where these billionaires would never spend time or money otherwise.
The report intrigued me because it shows another aspect of how Gates operates on the ground. More important, it helps explain why the Big Three can keep marketing and selling reforms that don’t work. Certainly ideology—in this case, faith in the superiority of the private business model—drives them. But so does the blinding hubris that comes from power. You don’t have to listen or see because you know you are right. One study after another sends up a red flag, but no one in the ed reform movement blinks. Insanity, defined as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, applies here.  
All children should have access to a good public school. And public schools should be run by officials who answer to the voters. Gates, Broad, and Walton answer to no one. Tax payers still fund more than 99 percent of the cost of K–12 education. Private foundations should not be setting public policy for them. Private money should not be producing what amounts to false advertising for a faulty product. The imperious overreaching of the Big Three undermines democracy just as surely as it damages public education.
Running the public schools by voters being able to elect a five-member school board is a precarious way to ensure that a basic service like schools remains deeply embedded in the community. And this weak structural tie to communities is why the schools have been ruled by corporate interests.  As I have posted before, originally schools were far more local and over time, centralization has grown and now our schools are easily manipulated by all sorts of corporate interests.  Gates isn't the first to take advantage of this fact: testing companies beat him to this long ago.  Testing corporations that already have long tentacles around our schools.

This article does a good job bringing to light and examining what Gates and a few others have been up to with the so-called education reform.  It is important to know why we hear the drumbeat of ed reform ideas constantly and we hear little else even though lots of other stuff is quietly happening.  Real education reform would prevent this sort of manipulation by the top by ensuring that the people actually using the schools determine what they need and want for their kids. This means starting with families who are completely excluded from input by compulsory attendance laws.  Moving into the 21st century means making schools democratic for the first time.

Background Posts
voluntary attendance
homeschooling is the real legacy of holt and kohl et al and why compulsory attendance laws are limiting our ability to change schools
make the public schools public
unimportant data
side effects of the literacy factory model
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