Educating Gates Rally

Bill and Melinda Gates: A Threat to Our Nation’s Unions – The #Vergara Trial

 

An injury to one is an injury to all

It is time that our nation’s unions join together in solidarity to support teachers’ unions.  Why? Without due process, workers have no rights.  If teachers’ rights are stripped away, then all workers rights will be stripped away.  It is only a matter of time. How are Bill and Melinda Gates involved in threatening our nation’s unions?  By bankrolling the Vergara Trial — and providing a leading witness who happens to be the former director of their MET (Measuring Effective Teaching) Project, Tom Kane to provide “expert” testimony based on “junk science” in the case — their fingerprints are all over the this attempt at union busting.

But the Vergara trial is but one case where the Gates have backed the destruction of due process for teachers. According to Bill Raden and Gary Cohn of the California Expose in David Welch:  The Man Behind Vergara v. California; the Gates are backing case after case to destroy due process rights for teachers.

“Vergara was filed on behalf of nine students and seeks to erase nearly a hundred years of teacher protections from the state education code that were adopted to prevent discriminatory and capricious terminations. The suit claims that five statutes addressing teacher dismissal, seniority and tenure disproportionately harm minority students in high-poverty schools by making it too difficult to fire incompetent teachers.

Attacks on teachers’ workplace protections have become familiar spectacles in California and, as recently as 2010, plaintiffs in Reed v. California used a civil rights argument to override seniority-based layoffs in three Los Angeles middle schools. The forces behind Reed and similar causes is a coalition of free-market education partisans and like-minded privatization philanthropists, including the Gates Foundation, Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad and Walmart’s Walton Family Foundation.

It is clear the Bill and Melinda Gates are backing union busting of teachers’ unions – the largest unions in the United States.   Without due process, the corporations will have us all working in sweat shops folks.  If you want to take a quick look at the rights workers have in sweat shops, look here.  Don’t be fooled.  Sweat shops don’t just reside in China.  Sweat shops often take advantage of women and children….  hmmm’… aren’t our nation’s public schools made up mostly of women and children?

 

Bill Gates Vergara Trial Crime Scene

 

The court ruling in the Vergara trial – which is a clear attempt to bust teachers’ unions by removing a due process protection called “tenure” – was based on the “expert” testimony of the Gates Foundation’s employee.  Without due process, teachers can be fired “at will”.  NOLO Law for all defines “firing at will” here:

” If the employer decides to let you go, that’s the end of your job–and you have very limited legal rights to fight your termination.

If you are employed at will, your employer does not need good cause to fire you.”

What is due process as it is applied to teacher tenure in the K-12 setting? NEA answers Time in What’s Tenure and What’s Not to define and describe the role of teacher tenure in K-12 versus teacher tenure at the college/university level here:

“The problem is, tenure does not guarantee teachers a job, does not offer any lifetime employment security, and, regardless of the implication of Time’s question, does not just happen after a “certain amount of time…

If you thought tenured teachers couldn’t lose their jobs, you’re not alone — it’s a common misunderstanding, but that doesn’t make it accurate. Tenure does not guarantee teachers a job, but instead mandates that due process be followed before tenured teachers are dismissed…

Tenure is about due process — not about guaranteeing jobs for life. And it’s not about protecting “bad” teachers — it’s about protecting good teachers.”

If  good teachers can be fired “at will” — the power of unions to protect the jobs of good teachers through  “due process” and with it —  the rights of all other good workers  — will disappear.

By funding a rolling train of Vergara trial results through state after state, the Gates Foundation can attempt to bust the largest unions in the country — the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers Unions.  Then  it will only be a matter of time before the rest our nations’ unions will fall like dominoes.

Unions will fall like dominoes

 

If good teachers can be fired “at will”;  their unions will not be able to protect them when they advocate for students against corporate reformers like Bill and Melinda Gates.

Here’s more evidence about how  Bill and Melinda are funding union busting beyond the Vergara Trial.   Anthony Cody writes about Gates investments in destroying due process for teachers here in his post titled From Common Core, to Vergara, to VAM, Gates Foundation Fingerprints Everywhere:

“Challenges to due process for teachers: The Vergara trial yesterday dealt a blow to due process for teachers in California. One of the witnesses advancing the winning argument was Tom Kane, former director of the Gates Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching Project. In 2010, Gates stated on Oprah that if we were able to rid our nation’s schools of ineffective teachers, our schools would go right to the top of international rankings. The Gates Foundation spent $2 million on promoting “Waiting For Superman,” which carried the same message. The Gates Foundation has also sponsored “teacher voice” groups such as Teach Plus and Educators 4 Excellence. Teach Plus mobilized teachers to testify against seniority protections in Indiana, and Educators 4 Excellence requires members to sign a pledge stating their opposition to seniority, and support of the use of test scores to evaluate teachers.”

If Gates can get by with this, all unions are at risk.  Simple logic describes why all unions should get involved:  “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

Raging Horse blog writes in their piece titled Vergara Part Two:  How the 1% Have Learned to Use the Noblest Causes for the Most Venal Ends:

“But it is a grave mistake to perceive the Vergara decision as simply another attack, however brutal, on teachers and education. Education is merely the conduit. Vergara is an attack on the rights of every worker in the USA, union or not.
The 1% may know little of history, but they know enough about the union movement to know that, in time, the force that revolutionized even non- union industries, forcing them to treat their workers with dignity, pay them fairer wages and provide them with some modicum of security, was the threat of unions. They also know the absence of unions has exactly the opposite effect. Consider the working conditions of most Americans in the land of the free and the home of the brave since the shrinkage of American unions. No due process. No job security. No pension. No nothing but a wage that for most people has not grown since 1973.”

The rights of all workers are at stake in this trial.  It is time for all unions to get behind the teachers’ unions in solidarity.

It is time for all unions to join the #StopGatesCoalition. Follow us on Twitter @EducatingGatesF.  Like our Facebook page. Sign our demand the Bill and Melinda Gates  Foundation divest from corporate education reform here.   Sign up to participate in our Educating the Gates Foundation Rally here!  But most importantly:  Tell other unions that it is time to stop Bill and Melinda Gates from busting our unions!  “An injury to one is an injury to all.”

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