"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bill Gates, the Oligarchs' Oligarch

Beneath the creaky boyishness and slightly demented grin of Billy Gates beats the heart of a ruthless capitalist intent upon shaping the world in ways that make the future safe for the production of his line of cure-alls to the problems that he spends so much of his time marketing.  After all, the inevitability of accepting the Gates-Broad-Walton-Fisher cure depends entirely upon the framing of the problem in ways that make such cures inevitable. 

One of his favorite problems these days is disguised as "underperforming" schools and teachers, when, in fact, Gates's real problems, if acknowledged, would include the real costs of urban renewal, the threat of unionism, the potential costs of any social disorder, inefficiency, and anything less than an oversupply of politically-fumigated, obedient, trained technical workers and technocrats to manage them.

The current Gates solution:  KIPP Schools, where untrained white female Ivy Leagues temps engage the harshest forms of pedagogical antiquarianism in contained and segregated testing work camps.  These ministrations are mixed with a potent brew of psychological programming, constant surveillance, harsh and certain punishment, competition, extrinsic rewards as "paychecks," and unending worker/student sacrifice for an organization that accepts nothing less than total compliance and devotion.  KIPP's motto:  Work Hard, Be Nice. 

Tomorrow in my doctoral seminar we are discussing the Industrial Model of "education" that James Anderson describes in his history of black education during the three generations following Emancipation.  The Industrial Model, which was a form of brainwashing and indoctrination for freed slaves who were being trained as teachers, was supported by every white philanthropist of the North as the solution to the "Negro problem" and the potential problem of unionism, worker rights, or fair pay for these freedmen being trained in a new form of subjugation to which they, themselves, would be complicit in managing.  

Booker T. Washington was the star student at Hampton and was sent south to Tuskeegee to open up a franchise there based on the same principles of subjugation and second-class citizenship.  He learned his lesson well, as he shows here in this clip from the 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech, which, by the way, was reprinted the next day in most major white newspaper in America.  

. . . we do not for a moment forget that our part in this exhibition would fall far short of your expectations but for the constant help that has come to our educational life, not only from the southern states, but especially from northern philanthropists, who have made their gifts a constant stream of blessing and encouragement.
The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremist folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house . . .
Work Hard, Be Nice.

KIPP Whales:

60,000,000 and above:

Doris & Donald Fisher Fund













Arnold Family Foundation
Reed Hastings and Patty QuillinJKCF
Marcus Foundation
Miles Family FoundationNew Profit  Logo


Thomas and Susan Dunn


Abrams Foundation
John and Laura Fisher
Robert and Elizabeth Fisher
William and Sakurako Fisher
Kinder Foundation
Leon Lowenstein Foundation
Hee-Jung and John Moon
Stephen Jr. and Susan Mandel
Arthur Rock
Paul Singer
State Farm Companies Foundation
The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this informative post. Things tie together more and more.

    Leonie Haimson wrote a good piece about Gates yesterday, too: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/leonie-haimson/the-most-dangerous-man-in_b_641832.html

    I added this in the comments there to highlight the other things Gates is buying with his money:
    The Gates Foundation is discussed by Diane Ravitch in “The Death and Life of the Great American School System. She informs us that the Gates Foundation increased its spending on "advocacy work" from $276K in 2002 to $57 million in 2005.

    "Writing about the foundation's efforts to ‘broaden and deepen its reach,’ [Erik W.] Robelen noted [Education Week, 2006] that almost everyone he interviewed was getting Gates money…but never in the history of the United States was there a foundation as rich and powerful as the Gates Foundation. Never was there one that sought to steer state and national policy in education. And never before was there a foundation that gave grants to almost every major think tank and advocacy group in the field of education, leaving almost no one willing to criticize its vast power and unchecked influence."

    And Joel Shatzky added this insight in his comment to her piece:

    The inferior "test-prep" agenda which bases the pedagogically fraudulent "data" standardized test scores serves as a way of diverting the concerns of working parents who hope that better test scores will lead to better job opportunities for their children. If they realized that they were being given a con job, they might consider other, more "active" forms of political and social protest than simply lobbying for more money for charter and public schools.
    Here in Oakland, parents have been sold the bill of goods and its hard to get them to realize that there is more to their child's education than the schools' test scores. Parents will actually get hostile and defensive if their fixation on test scores is challenged, esp. if they are low-income and Black or Latino and the challenger is middle-class and White (as can be expected). The conversation goes nowhere.