Stop Gates Coalition

PRESS RELEASE: “A Rally to Educate Gates” – Seattle

Bill Gates Control

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“A Rally to Educate Gates” Seattle – Washington Badass Teachers Association (WA-BATS) a grassroots group of career educators defending our public education system from private interest groups is holding a public rally on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at Westlake Park, 401 Pine St, Seattle. The rally begins at 5:00 p.m. The public is encouraged and welcome to attend. The average citizen is unaware of who is controlling the direction of our future. This event is a first step to draw attention to the issues at play and to galvanize a coalition of supporters for a NEXT direct action to reposition teacher experts, not business leaders, as the voice of education transformation.

The first 45 minutes of the rally will feature speakers including Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant and UW Associate Professor Wayne Au. The rally’s attendees will then march to the corner of 5th Avenue North and Mercer where additional speakers, Anthony Cody and Morna McDermott, will speak on how the Gates Foundation is influencing public policy in undemocratic ways, ignoring and suppressing teacher and parent voices as they push forward their corporate style agenda. A flash mob is expected to perform during the event as well as a chorus that will lead songs with positive education themes. The 5th Ave N street closure will end at 7:00 p.m.

WA-BATS refuse to be blamed for the failure of our society to erase poverty and inequality and refuse to accept tests and evaluations imposed by those who have contempt for authentic teaching and learning.

WA BATS demand that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation divest from their education agenda which includes: Over Testing, Race To The Top, Teach For America, Ignoring Poverty, Class Size Increases, Charter Schools, Big Data-Piracy or Sharing, Union Busting, Narrowing Curriculum, Ignoring Parent Voice, Value Added Measures, Appointed School Boards, Privatizing Public Schools, Replacing Teachers With Screens, For-profit Business Model Policy, Tying Funding to Test Scores, Outsourcing to Private Vendors, Treating Kids Like Widgets, High Stakes Testing & Common Core State Standards.

Rally Attendees Say YES TO: Parent & Educator Voice! Creativity! Small Class Sizes! Civics! Science! Music! Art! Drama! Physical Education! Parent Involvement! Libraries! Counselors! Experienced Teachers! Learning Through Play! Project Based Learning! Learning Support Staff! Adequate Compensation! Democratic Governance of Schools! Relevant Educator Training! Less Testing and More Learning! Transparent Decision Making! Equitable Funding For Every Child! Recognizing Each Student’s Potential! Culturally & Developmentally Responsive Curriculum! “

In 2014 political power resides in monetary wealth and public policy is being determined by the mega-rich not the expert practicioner-in many professions. No one is asking teachers what schools need. Teachers are told that they don’t have high enough expectations for kids. This is ludicrous. Our governing system is becoming undemocratic but worse it IS harming children who need a wholistic classroom experience beyond test scores. The Gates Foundation must accept that teachers are more than software; that learning is individualized; and that education is a public endeavor. Excellent public schools are the cornerstone of a free society: big money is buying the education agenda. People must stand up to this oligarchical shift and reclaim public schools with the whole child at the center. Business reformers need to spread their expertise in places where they know what they are talking about. Teachers are experts when it comes to student learning. Ask us what kids need to thrive and learn. We are happy to tell you.”

– Julianna Dauble, Renton teacher and Rally Organizer

For more information about WA-BATS, visit us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/1378337475716232/ Contact: Julianna Dauble, (206) 856-1357, email juliannakd@gmail.com

 

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Frederick Douglass is right… Power concedes nothing without a demand!

With charitable work on health, education, and a motto like “All lives have equal value.”  — one would think the Gates Foundation investments would not warrant demands and protests against them regarding humanitarian or environmental causes.  As evidenced by recent protests, however the demands against the Gates Foundation’s investments  are beginning to mount.  Could the Gates Foundation  investments and their rhetoric be at odds?  Is the veneer beginning to peel off the face of the Gates Foundation?

The Gates Foundation is run by the world’s richest couple who wield their power through wealth and status, force-feeding their agendas on those of us without our consent.  So what do we do about that?  Frederick Douglass’ wise words may be the key.   Is Frederick Douglass right?  Is it true that power will concede nothing without a demand?

Code Pink, a grassroots women’s activist group, recently demanded the Gates Foundation divest from the G4S Israeli Prison.  Activists  around the globe engaged in social media and creative, bold protests on the ground.  Bowing to public pressure which threatened their status and wealth, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have finally divested completely from the G4S Prison.

Bloomberg News reported:

‘ The Gates Foundation Asset Trust, the entity that manages the investments for the $40.2 billion Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has liquidated its entire stake in G4S Plc (GFS), the world’s biggest security-services provider.

“Like other large foundations, the foundation trust evaluates its holdings regularly, both for performance and fit,” John Pinette, a spokesman for the Gates family, said in a statement. “As a result of this, the foundation trust no longer holds an investment in G4S.” ‘

Clearly this is a success for Code Pink activists.

Heavy protests were held around the world on May 24th in the International March Against Monsanto. (Watch video)  Protesters marched to the Gates Foundation in Seattle, demanding they divest from Monsanto.  Based on encouraging reports like the one below, we can hope that the Gates will also completely divest from Monsanto in the near future as we increase pressure on them through creative resistance.

Popular Resistance reports environmentalists resistance efforts are a great success due to “bold, creative, militant actions” that connect  local, national and international actions:

“No longer dominated by the traditional “Big Green” groups that were taking big donations from corporate polluters, the new environmental movement is broader, more assertive and more creative. With extreme energy extraction and climate change bearing down on the world, environmental justice advocates are taking bold actions to stop extreme energy extraction and create new solutions to save the planet.  These ‘fresh greens’ often work locally, but also connect through national and international actions.

The recent national climate assessment explains why the movement is deepening, broadening and getting more militant.”

But what is so hypocritical about the rhetoric and the actual Gates’  investments?  Mother Jones wrote about  what they called “the most egregious hypocritical investments” of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, noting their rhetoric is one thing, while their actions and investments were quite another.

Bill and Melinda also claim their foundation’s investments are for improving civil rights, but are they really? Rhetoric or reality?

In a speech to the Urban League in 2011, Gates discussed civil rights as it relates to education, promoting his corporate reform experiments on our public school children, but not on his own… as reported by :

“Education may be the hardest civil rights fight of all,” Gates said. “Discrimination is harder to prove and people often don’t know what levers to pull to fix the problem.”

Gates has been looking for the right levers for years and has made some mistakes. He poured approximately $2 billion into breaking large high schools into small schools, believing that students would get more attention. Two years ago, he acknowledged this wasn’t the panacea he had hoped for.”

How about the Gates Foundation’s latest experiments?  Are they the panacea for civil rights?  Are the Gates couple pulling the right levers?

Anthony Cody, retired NBCT, M.Ed. and  education activist,  wrote a post titled “Devastating Report Condemns Corporate Reform as Civil Rights Fraud” —  timed with the 60 year anniversary of Brown v Board of Education. Clearly, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations experiments have once again proven not to be the “panacea” and in fact have caused irreparable harm to our nation’s civil rights advances.

Like their private prison investments which ended up aiding the torture of prisoners, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s investments in corporate education reform are causing irreparable harm to our children, families, teachers, public schools, communities,  civil rights, and democracy.  As a result, Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates has a demand.  They demand the Gates Foundation DIVEST from corporate education reform on these grounds:

“We at Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates and the following signers hereby assume that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation experts are motivated by a sincere desire to improve education. But we fail to understand how your organization has become the national and global arbiter of the means and ends of education in the United States and around the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s narrow focus on standardized testing risks turning learning into drudgery and killing the joy of learning. As the Gates Foundation’s national and global push for the Common Core, high-stakes testing, and teacher evaluations based on test scores has led many governments into a national and international competition for higher test scores, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has assumed the power to shape education policy in the United States and around the world, with no debate about the necessity or limitations of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s goals. We are deeply concerned that measuring a great diversity of educational traditions and cultures using a single, narrow, biased yardstick could, in the end, do irreparable harm to our communities, our schools, our profession, and our students.

You and the OECD have much in common, Bill and Melinda. Your imposition of corporate reform policies, which are measured using a single, narrow, biased yardstick, are successful in one area only: making a profit for you, test companies, publishers, and the privatizing corporate reformers. Your policies continue to use our children as guinea pigs in your corporate reform experiments and risk doing “irreparable harm to our schools and our students”.

We the undersigned reject the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s tight control of education policy. Venture philanthropy’s influence on public education has been all-pervasive and we demand an immediate restoration of democracy in our schools. Divest from corporate education reform.”

Exercise your right to demand the Gates concede power.  You too can apply public pressure.  Sign the demand to the Gates Foundation to DIVEST in the comment section on this link and Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates will add your name to their letter.

Join the Washington Badass Teachers Association, Washington Save Our Schools, Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates on June 14th for a Twitter Storm to educate and activate the public about the harm caused by certain Gates Foundation investments.

Join us on June 26th from 5-7 pm protesting the Gates Foundation’s investments in corporate education reform.  We demand they DIVEST from corporate education reform! Sign up to participate in our Educating the Gates Foundation Rally here!  Public pressure is effective!

Frederick Douglass  is right: “Power conceded nothing without a demand.  It never did and it never will.”

 

 

 

 

If You Can Define “Oligarchy”, Thank a Teacher! #EducatingGates Rally – Seattle – June 26th!

America’s teachers are getting blamed for the effects of poverty by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Your children are being labeled as failures.  Parents are being blamed.   Public education as an institution is being blamed. Yet the real blame lies with the oligarchy.  Bill and Melinda Gates want to operate public schools like they did Microsoft, stack ranking children, teachers, and schools with their corporate education reform experiments even though stack ranking failed at Microsoft.   Yet the oligarchy is setting public education policy and has been for many years now.  The oligarchy accepts no accountability for their mistaken experiments with children and teachers in public education.  Leading the oligarchy are the richest couple in the world – Bill and Melinda Gates.  Leading corporate education reform policies through their wealth and power granted to them is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.   The weight of the oligarchy rests on the back of innocent school children, public professional servants aka teachers, and the public good – our public schools.  We are here to take back that power.

When Generosity Hurts: Bill Gates, Public School Teachers and the Politics of Humiliation

In order to take back that power, we are here to educate and activate the public about the hoax of corporate education reform and to build a strong, powerful #StopGatesCoalition.

The Washington Badass Teachers Association, Washington Save Our Schools, and Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates are hosting an #EducatingGates Rally on June 26th in Seattle, Wa.  Our goals include:

  • Educate and activate the public about our vision of public education.
  • Educate and activate the public about the damaging influence of corporate education reform as promoted and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • Expose the hoax of corporate education reform, privatization, Common Core, high stakes tests, and “school choice”.  Identify the real problem and the real solutions.
  • Build a coalition of groups and organizations who want to work with us to become free from the policies imposed by the investments of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Our rally will begin at 5:00 pm at Westlake Center in Seattle and will end after our march to the Gates Foundation. The first part of the rally will begin with the voices of educators sharing the impacts of corporate education reform with all those who attend the rally.  Anthony Cody will be our keynote speaker.  Morna McDermott will be a dynamic speaker as well as other surprise speakers.  See more about the connections we have made and our speakers below:

WaBATs made a great connection with Bill Moyer of the Backbone Campaign.  Some of us will be joining their crew for their Localize This Camp on Vashon for training on artful resistance in August, but will also engage with them prior to the rally for great ideas that are going to make our rally stand out in a crowd.  Activists, join other local Backbone Campaign  “Localize This” Artful Resistance training in your area! Follow them @BackboneProg on Twitter.

We invited Anthony Cody to be one of our keynote speakers at our Rally.   Anthony’s bio:

Anthony spent 24 years working in Oakland schools, 18 of them as a science teacher at a high-needs middle school.  A National Board-certified teacher, he now leads workshops with teachers on Project Based Learning.  He is the co-founder of the Network for Public Education.  With education at a crossroads, he invites you to join him in a dialogue on education reform and teaching for change and deep learning.

Anthony created a dialogue with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 2 years ago.  He recently wrote this blog “What Will It Take to Educate the Gates Foundation? as an update of how corporate education reform experiments have worsened the public school experience for children, teachers, communities, and democracy.  Follow @AnthonyCody on Twitter.

We also invited Morna McDermott to join us as a speaker at the rally.  Morna is a co-founder of United Opt Out:  The Movement to End Corporate Education Reform.  Follow Morna on Twitter @MornaMcDermott.   Morna’s bio:

Morna McDermott has been working in, with, and around public schools for over twenty years. Currently she is an Associate Professor at Towson University, in Maryland where she teaches various theory and methods courses in the College of Education. Her scholarship and research interests focus on democracy, social justice, and arts-informed inquiry in K-post secondary educational settings, and working with beginning and experienced educators. She explores how the arts serve as a form of literacy that challenges traditional classroom learning and dominant narratives. Recent art work and installations have emphasized the value of art as a “public pedagogy” in creating grass roots social-political-educational change. Dr. McDermott currently serves as the Arts Based Educational Research section editor for the Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy. In addition to publishing in educational journals and books, she writes ongoing columns for www.examiner.com

Coalition Building Begins:

Our rally has been endorsed by the  national Badass Teachers Association, the Network for Public Education, C.O.R.E. Teachers’ Union caucus in Chicago, and more endorsements which will will post as they are coming in daily.   If you wish to endorse us, please contact us in the comment section on this page.

We joined with  the “Gates Foundation Truth Squad”outside the Gates Foundation Visitor Center to engage with young people attending their “Teen Action Fair”.  This was our first action in coalition building.  Here is their flyer and some facts about the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Here is a link to their blog.

We joined the world’s  March Against Monsanto on May 24, 2014, marching in Seattle to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation protesting their investment of $500 million in Monsanto shares.   This was our second act of coalition building.  We joined the rally and march, passed out our flyers, and spoke at the Gates Foundation.

We also made connections with the Seattle Global Justice / Community Alliance for Global Justice while at the March Against Monsanto.  Follow the link to become a member.

Join us!  We plan to share the microphone with individuals and groups at the rally.

Gates Rally Flyer Front

Here is the flyer we will be passing out before and during the rally.  See front of flyer above.

While Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates is limited to the voices of professional teachers, this blog is designed to allow the public to share their concerns about the impacts of the policies created by the investments and agendas influencing policies by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  We invite you to share your concerns here in our comment section.  We will post letters to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation here.

Join us here to express your concerns about the hoax of corporate education reform.  How do the policies of the Gates Foundation impact your children?  You as a student?  Your school?  Your profession? Your community? Democracy?

Are you interested in building a coalition with us?  What issues are you concerned about regarding the Gates Foundation and how do they impact you?

Our story is under construction as we form relationships with other groups who have realized the negative consequences of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation policies and are working for democracy vs oligarchy.

Join us in our the #EducatingGates Rally on June 26th in Seattle and in building our #StopGatesCoalition Movement!

Follow us on Twitter: @EducatingGatesF .

Sign up for our rally here.

Like our Facebook Page here.

Join our Facebook event here.

Interested in being part of our Flash Mob at the Rally?  Join the Facebook Flash Mob event here.

Meanwhile, if you can define oligarchy, thank a teacher!  We all do better when we all do better!

Thank you for your activism!

In solidarity,

Susan DuFresne, WaBAT and Co-organizer of #EducatingGates, #StopGatesCoalition