Listening to Anthony Cody talk about The Educator and the Oligarch

06 Dec

The Oligarch is Bill Gates. The Educator is Anthony Cody, who has gone toe-to-toe with the Gates Foundation in private conversations and publicly for several years. Cody’s book, The Educator and the Oligarch, covers what he has learned while in the trenches battling a billionaire and his vast, entrenched organization, and the book is worth reading.

Do I NEED to repeat that?

At 2:30, Saturday (12-6) afternoon, I left home to walk the two miles to the nearest BART station.

At 4:05, I walked into the Laurel Book Store in Oakland, California to hear Anthony Cody, who started talking soon after I sat down, and by then it was standing room only.

Cody has been in the fight to save democratic public education much longer than I have, and his knowledge of the issue is deeper. Back in the mid 1980’s, I started suspecting that there might be a plot to destroy the public schools—it was just a feeling I had due to the crazy and insane things that teachers were being forced to do that made no sense.

Thinking I was cooking up a conspiracy theory, I went into denial mode and continued teaching and dodging bullets from those imagined ghosts until I retired in 2005 after thirty years in the classroom. Then in November 2013, my wife came home and told me she’d heard Diane Ravtich on NPR talking about her book “Reign of Error,” and I read the book and discovered my suspicions had been true all along—but like cancer this plot has branched out and taken on a malignant life of its own and it’s spreading into every element of public education in the United States in addition to corrupting our democratic government—thanks in large part to Bill Gates.

Listening to Cody late this afternoon, I learned how Bill Gates always gets what he wants—he buys everyone and everything he can, and he has dedicated between $5 to $7 billion dollars to destroy America’s democratic public education system and rebuild it into what HE thinks it should be.

I didn’t raise my hand until the end of Cody’s talk, and after several others had asked questions and shared their thinking. It was obvious that there was a lot of passion in the room among parents and teachers.

Then I had my say—not knowing that I was going to be attacked, not by Cody, but by another person in the audience. I said that we had to stop measuring children and focus on the children who needed the most help: children from dysfunctional homes and who lived in poverty. I mentioned that France had launched a national early childhood education program managed by its own public schools in the 1970’s, and thirty years later, the French poverty rate had dropped more than 50%.

When I finished talking—one loud person—grabbed the crowd’s attention and attacked me for blaming dysfunctional parents for at risk children who were difficult to teach. She said that it wasn’t the parent’s fault their children were not succeeding. I didn’t respond to her attack maybe because I’m severely dyslexic and it takes me time to think before I open my mouth. It’s so much easier to write, revise, edit and wait a few days and then revise some more. I had no desire to get into a heated shouting match with this stranger.

When the event ended and the crowd moved from the event area into the bookstore, several people came up to me and offered support. They all agreed that I had never blamed dysfunctional parents for the problems in classrooms caused by at-risk and difficult to teach children.

I replied that dysfunctional parents can’t be blamed when their children are not learning in school, because my parents were dysfunctional—who both dropped out of high school when they were fourteen—because I was born to poverty; because when I was six or seven, my mother was told I would never learn to read, but she taught me anyway after failing to teach my older brother 12 years earlier. My brother died at age 64 illiterate and he left behind several of his own adult children who are still illiterate. My father was a gambler and an alcoholic. If he wasn’t drinking, he was a wonderful, gentle man. My brother spent about 15 years of his life in prison. He was also an alcoholic, a sometime drug user, and a heavy smoker. Like our parents, he also never had the tools to raise children who easily learned in school.

If my family wasn’t dysfunctional, I don’t know what is.

If you ask someone to fix your car who doesn’t know how to use the tools, do we blame that person for not fixing the car? Dysfunctional parents—like my parents—did not have the parenting tools to raise children that were ready to learn, and I wasn’t ready to learn until I was in my early twenties after serving several years in the U.S. Marines and fighting in Vietnam.

It was dark out when I left the bookstore and started the long ride home on BART, and it was a long ride. The BART train was delayed several times sitting at stations because of some problem down the line. What should have been a 25-minute ride stretched to about one-and-a-half hours, and this turned out to be a good thing, because the wait provided time for me to read to Chapter 4 in Cody’s book, and discover just how involved Bill Gates is in HIS own goal to destroy our democratic public schools, and replace those schools with what HE wants.  For instance, if Gates was cutting open our bodies and reaching inside to do surgery to save our lives HIS way, he’d have our blood all the way to his shoulders, smeared on his face and drenching his clothing down to his shoes as he pulled out one organ after another and threw them over his shoulder to the filthy floor.

Bill Gates has bought—bribed would be more appropriate—the media, nonprofits, and institutions for education, state governments, the Department of Education, and the White House. At the moment, Bill Gates is the unelected emperor of the United States, and if he achieves HIS goals with our schools, our democracy and our freedom will be gone too.

It’s getting late. If this needs editing, I’ll fix it tomorrow. Right now, I want to publish this post, brush my teeth and relax by watching the last of the 3rd season of The Tudors . I think I see a lot of similarities between Emperor Bill Gates and England’s King Henry 8, but Bill Gates isn’t beheading wives. He is beheading teachers, children—and our democracy.


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).


His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves

Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper right-hand column and click on “Sign me up!”


Tags: , , , , , ,

12 responses to “Listening to Anthony Cody talk about The Educator and the Oligarch

  1. Lloyd Lofthouse

    December 6, 2014 at 22:02

    Reblogged this on Lloyd Lofthouse and commented:

    The democratic public schools in the United States are at war with Emperor Bill Gates.

  2. liberalteacher

    December 7, 2014 at 22:05

    Lloyd, I am reading the book now. I was sent a copy to review from the publisher. As I read each chapter, I get more and more disgusted. I will paraphrase a quote from Woodrow Wilson. He said if a group of people are rich enough to buy the government, they probably will. Of course, he was talking about the robber barons of old. Unfortunately, we have a new one–one way more dangerous to our society than Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan and J.D. Rockerfeller.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      December 8, 2014 at 08:48

      I know. For me, disgusted doesn’t describe what I’m thinking. Bill Gates has built a cabal of billionaires who are working together to destroy not only the public schools, but to destroy labor unions, laws that protect the 99%, and much more.

      For instance, private prisons. Before corporations were allowed to open for-profit, private sector prisons, there were about 250,000 people in the U.S. in prison and that number held steady for decades. Then the private sector corporate reform movement prisons swept in and today there are more than 2-million Americans locked up in prison, becasue the corporations that own the prisons lobby Washington and the states to pass tougher laws and longer sentences.

      Thanks to the Milton Friedman economic provincial/financial privatization of the public sector, the military is slowly being privatized, and health care—that was once mostly a non-profit system—was pushed off the cliff under President Reagan who embraced Milton Friedman’s theories as if they were lovers. In addition, private police forces in the U.S. now outnumber public police while all labor unions are under attack across the board.

      In his inaugural address, after lamenting the consequences of excessive government borrowing and deficit spending, President Reagan declared: “In this current crisis, government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.”

      Reagan then went on to borrow and spend more than any president in history before him and set off a landslide of federal debt. Since 1945, three presidents—of twelve including Obama—are responsible for about 60% of the federal national debt and these same presidents have cut taxes while spending more that profited the corporate sector. They were Reagan and the two Bushes. Most of the debt from Obama came from spending and wars that were already there when he was sworn in.

      In fact, for 31 of the last 40 years, health care has grown significantly faster than the U.S. economy. Between 1960 and 2012, costs more than tripled, from 5.2 percent of gross domestic product to 17.9 percent. That means almost 18 cents of every dollar is spent on health care.

      In 1950 U.S. Health Care Costs were 4.5% of GDP
      in 1965, it was 6%
      In 1980, it was 9%
      By 2000, it was up to 14%
      Today it is 17.9%

      Here’s what happened after Reagan: In the mid-1980s, soaring medical care costs, coupled with the inability of federal regulations and the medical profession on its own to achieve any meaningful cost control, led to the business-imposed approach of “managed care.” “Managed care” is a generic term that refers to a large variety of reimbursement plans in which third-party payers attempt to control costs by limiting the utilization of medical services, in contrast to the “hands off” style of traditional fee-for-service payment. …

      Ironically, many of the perceived abuses of managed care have less to do with the principles of managed care than with the presence of the profit motive in investor-owned managed care organizations. —-the same thing that is now infecting public education, the Milton Friedman profit motive.

      • liberalteacher

        December 8, 2014 at 08:57

        Lloyd do you mind if i use your reply as an article in itself in my blog. Of course full credit will go to you.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        December 8, 2014 at 09:33

        Of course. I wrote a longer reply with more information, but lost it when one of my fingers hit the wrong key. I hate it when that happens.

        My longer response had to do with what I read in another post this morning and the information at Learning Inside

        In the post, I read that Arne Duncan wants to cure children with learning disabilities through testing and then using the test results to rank and yank teachers who do not succeed with improving the test scores of the children with learning disabilities—-no mention of providing the services and support teachers need to help these children, and according to Learning Inside, less than one-third of the children with reading disabilities are receiving school services for their reading disability. If the funds are not there, the services will also not be there. If the teachers receive no training to work with these kids, then that is a factor too. In effect, if teachers were blind, Duncan is telling them to overcome that blindness and see or else lose their jobs.

        And get this, these children have a greater than 50% chance of failing the high-stakes, year-end school achievement tests in addition to fact that 1 in five students has a language based learning disability.

        In addition, just in case you are not aware of this, most comments have their own links if you know how to get them.

        Here are the links to my two comments:

      • liberalteacher

        December 8, 2014 at 10:10

        Now you hit even a bigger nerve with me as a special education teacher. Arne is going even further. He now has put together new federal regulations that does away with alternate assessment examinations for severely disabled students. This idiot feels that every special education student must take the common core tests and be given rigorous work significantly above their level. In that way, magically their learning disability will disappear. This goes beyond insane. In the days of Joel Klein, I ran workshops for an orientation of new teachers. Shael Polalow-Suransky, his Deputy Chancellor spoke to the crowd and said that he expects every single student by the year 2014 to have a Regents Diploma and be on their way to college. He went on to say that he expects even students with intellectual disabilities to be headed for college by 2014. After his speech, I walked up to him and asked do you really expect a child with let’s say multiple disabilities with about a 30 IQ, blind, having severe muscular atrophy which prevents him from even sitting in a prone position let alone being the able to purposefully use his hands to even manipulate a switch be expected to acquire a high school diploma? With a straight face his answer was yes and then he asked me why I have such low expectations for such a student. My answer was that I have realistic expectations because two yeas ago I did an IEP on such a child whose least restrictive setting was home instruction, OT and PT. I then added, “By the way, I was unable to do an annual review this past summer because he passed away at 13.” He said nothing after that.

        As for getting the help needed, when I retired, my position disappeared from the budget. I was an IEP teacher who provided 20 periods of Orton-Gillingham instruction to students who had severe decoding problems. Right now, I am working twice a week providing academic intervention services in my school for those students who have received a level 1 on those common core ELA assessments. The principal had to beg for money so I can even do this. I am working per diem (substitute pay) instead of part time pay because I feel obligated to do something to help students who I have been working with for several years. I could have retired and just abandoned my students, but I couldn’t. That is why I get so angry when they call public school teachers lazy, selfish and incompetent.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        December 8, 2014 at 10:19

        And this explains why I spent too much time thinking of what I’d do with weaponized drones that carry smart bombs if I had access to maybe one hundred of the kind being used in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      • liberalteacher

        December 8, 2014 at 10:20

        I’m with you.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        December 8, 2014 at 10:25

        I honestly can’t think of another way to stop the profiteering feeding frenzy of this flock of billionaire buzzards.

  3. Kaylee

    March 12, 2015 at 19:08

    I have to read Cody’s book.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: