Bill Gates-- Vulture Philanthropist
This leaflet is distributed at the AFT Convention in Seattle, July 2010 (where Bill Gates is an invited featured speaker), by the AFT Peace & Justice Caucus. See the actual leaflet at the url below. Some images & quotes could not be reproduced here.
Bill Gates-- Vulture Philanthropist
A Trojan Horse in the AFT House
A union leadership which willingly "partners" with billionaire Bill Gates, and other proponents of the business model of education, has turned away from the battle for educational equality. This is precisely what the AFT leadership chose to do when they became the recipient of Gates' millions for the AFT Innovation Fund. The invitation to permit Bill Gates make a personal appearance at this convention sends a signal to the membership and to the public about the AFT's nefarious priorities. Bill Gates addressing a teachers union convention is akin to asking George W. Bush to speak at an anti-war rally or Klansman address a NAACP convention.
Attacks on teachers at the heart of Gates "reforms"
The elimination of union protections for teachers (seniority, tenure protection, work
rules) -- along with attempts to shift salary structure to merit-pay based schemes
-- are major planks of the billionaires and millionaires who are force-feeding their
business model of education "reform" (now dubbed by many progressive reformers
as "education deform") upon this nation. Their solutions, unproven by research, lie in
the belief that what works for business (competition, assessments, results, rewards and punishments) are the key to more
Because of his astronomical wealth, Bill Gates' influence has a long reach. Key senior positions at the U.S. Department of
Education are held by people affiliated with his Foundation. Race to the Top is reflective of policies being pushed by his
Foundation, i.e. the removal and limitations of teacher rights and teacher voice from all levels of decision-making, even
in the classroom. The Gates Foundation has been "helping" states with their applications for RTTT. Financially desperate states have caved in to the pressure by altering their own laws and approaches so they get a chance to access the pot of federal money. For example, in an (unsuccessful) effort to secure funds, the Palm Beach school district declared 70% of its teachers "ineffective."
Additionally, a wide variety of think tanks and education groups, sometimes on near-opposite ends of the spectrum, have been the beneficiaries of Gates' money and have melded into one general consensus. Editorial boards read the press releases of these organizations and parrot the consensus in the media.
Gates' support of mayoral control
Gates and his allies want mayors to control urban school districts, a rejection of publicly-elected school boards, thus eliminating local parent and community input. In the summer of 2009, Gates gave more than $1 million dollars to a NY City based front group (Learn NY) to push for the renewal of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's control over the NYCDOE.
The AFT's largest local (UFT, Local 2) joined Gates in supporting mayoral control. The AFT continues to ignore the abysmal record of Chicago Public Schools when led by Paul Vallas (who is now privatizing the New Orleans school
system) and his successor Arne Duncan, both under Richard Daley's mayoral control. There is inherent racism on a policy that disenfranchises people of color while suburban white people get to elect and run their own school boards.
AFT Peace and Justice Caucus
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