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The Way Bill Gates Makes Things Work

by Susan Ohanian

Take a look at this memo.


From: Kathy Tyner

Sent: Monday, March 03, 2014 12:09 PM

Subject: Heads-Up re 11 FREE peer-reviewed textbooks available for download

Dear Colleagues:

Am at the League for Innovation Conference [at Disneyland] and learned about http://openstaxcollege.org, which currently has 11 FREE peer-reviewed textbooks available for download. Funding comes from the Gates and Hewlett Foundations.

Subject areas include statistics, chemistry, history, psychology, biology, economics, sociology, physics, pre-calculus, and anatomy and physiology.

Wanted to give you a heads-up.

Take a look at the colleges using these texts. You don't have to be paranoid about Gates' intentions to note that they are mostly community colleges.

Note the absence of Harvard, Stanford, Yale, et al.

Another thing to note: Kathy Tyner is Vice President of Academic Affairs at Southwestern College in Chula Vista, CA, where the faculty were persuaded to take a 5% pay cut on the promise that this would save jobs. On the day the deal was ratified, at the urging of the union chiefs, the union prezzie became a dean and 700 classes were cut.

Oh, and the college vice-presidents received a $25,000 raise.

Next item on the agenda---free textbooks. From Gates.

OpenStax College is developing its first five titles with grants from the 20 Million Minds Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Maxfield Foundation.

Rice University got the specific grant:

June 2011
Purpose: to support the development of open text-based resources for high enrollment courses and to feed more interactive courseware development
Amount: $830,327

Over the years, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has received $53,500,000.

The first text is physics, available from itunes for $4.99--or free as a pdf.

I can't persuade my husband to read it. I can say that his freshman text took 8 years to write and produce. There is a tremendous amount of back and forth--between editors and writer; editors and writer and other physics experts; editors and writer and other physics experts and students trying it out.

Eight years.

The result is the kind of quality that provokes MIT to adopt it. Take another look at the the colleges using the Gates-funded book. It reminds me of the way Amazon is undercutting the publishing industry by producing its own kindle material, putting audio versions over at its subsidiary Audible.com. Try a few of these books and tell me the quality is in the same league as the Pulitzer list--or even the bestseller list.

The Global Economy needs all types of workers. The important criteria is that they be passive and obedient--and used to shoddy wares.

— Susan Ohanian




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