Mercedes Schneider: Bill Gates Has Been Spending Millions to Buy Influence for Years

If you admire Bill Gates and think he is a great man, think again. Bill Gates misleading image is manufactured by his lying PR image machine.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Mercedes Schneider was a little surprised that Bill Gates is setting up a lobbying organization. Why should he? He has been shelling out millions to buy Influence with state and federal policy makers for years.

She writes:

Whereas the idea of Gates paying individuals to lobby to alter policy in line with his billionaire preferences, the public should realize that Gates already has an oversized influence on legislators and other elected and appointed officials.

For example, from 2002 to 2018, the Gates Foundation has paid the National Governors Association (NGA) $33.2M for Gates-approved initiatives, mostly affecting K12 education.

Shall we pretend that Gates’ steadily funding an association of state governors to promote Gates goals does not sway these governors? I think not.

From 2002 to 2018, Gates has also paid $122M to the state education superintendent organization, Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) on his K12 education preferences.


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Posted by on June 18, 2019 in Uncategorized


LAUSD’s Parcel Tax Failure and the *Reasonableness* of Teacher Pay in L.A.

I taught for thirty years in the public schools in California (1975-2005) and I know I was never paid what I was worth.

How do you measure worth?

I worked on average 60 to 100 hours a week. Those hours included teaching, planning lessons, calling parents, taking work home, correct that work, doing grades, et al.

Since I worked near LA Unified in South California, lets see how much I would have actually earned per hour based on that $75k.

That $75k is based on a salary. Teachers do not earn overtime pay. A general guideline is approximately 36 weeks of instruction a year, which comes out to about 180 school days a year. That means during the school year I worked 2,160 – 3,600 hours (I worked more because the 36 weeks does not count holidays when I always took work home to catch up).

$75k divided by 2,160 hours = $34.52 an hour.

$75k divided by 3,600 hours = #20.83 an hour.

The medium would be 80 hours a week or 2,560 hours and that would equal $29.29 an hour.


Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) includes “most of the city of Los Angeles, along with all or portions of 26 cities and unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. About 4.8 million people live within the District’s boundaries.” In 2018-19, LAUSD’s estimated enrollment was 694,096 students.

On June 04, 2019, voters within the LAUSD boundary could have voted to approve or reject Measure EE, a school parcel tax measure authorizing LAUSD to levy 16-cents-per-square-foot tax over 12 years to fund the LAUSD as follows, in brief:

Proceeds from the Tax shall be used for: lowering class sizes; providing school nursing, library, and counseling services and other health and human services for student support; providing instructional programs, school resources, and materials; retaining and attracting teachers and school employees; and providing necessary administrative services. …

This Measure requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote for passage.

The opportunity to vote was there, but…

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Posted by on June 15, 2019 in Uncategorized


Hanna Skandera: Her Consulting Firm and Her Mystery “Initiative”


Former New Mexico chancellor of education, Hanna Skandera, has been trying to re-establish herself as an ed reform name since her June 2017 departure from the New Mexico ed department.

hanna skandera Hanna Skandera

In April 2018, she produced a Walton-funded video about the “next step” for ed reform to “connect to real-life issues and needs,” words in step with the Walton goal of trying to appear grass roots rather than top-down (see the Walton Family Foundation 2015 report and my October 2015 post about the report for more). (The 74 is also credited with funding Skandera’s video, though the Waltons also fund The 74; so, it’s like the Waltons are paying themselves.)

In June 2018, Skandera became editor-in-chief of The Line, a K12 ed publication whose former editor-in-chief was former Los Angeles schools superintendent, John Deasy.

According to the Colorado secretary of state, on January 18, 2018…

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Posted by on June 5, 2019 in Uncategorized


Los Angeles: Vote for Measure EE on June 4! Vote for Students! Vote for the Future!

Diane Ravitch's blog

Resident of Los Angeles: Vote for Measure EE on June 4.

Measure EE is not “just another tax.” It will bring in $500 million every year in ongoing funds, and is what the teachers and the community fought so hard to get through the strike. LA, don’t leave the job you started on the picket lines unfinished!

Measure EE is desperately needed to give local neighborhood schools the resources to educate children and reduce class sizes. Measure EE will bring the funding we need locally to recruit and retain quality staff and offer our students a well-rounded education, including:

—Lower class sizes

—More arts and music classes

—Cleaner, safer schools

—School nurses and librarians

—Guidance counselors and mental health services for students

—Support for students with disabilities and special needs

Supported by UTLA, Mayor Eric Garcetti, SEIU 99 and others (full list here, the measure needs 66.7% to…

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Posted by on June 3, 2019 in Uncategorized


Shawgi Tell: The Untold History of Charter School Failure

Diane Ravitch's blog

Shawgi Tell, a Professor in upstate New York, thinks the public needs that charter school failure is widespread, commonplace, and underreported. Even now, mainstream publications like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal treat charter schools reverentially, as if they know how to perform education miracles.

Professor Tell assembles research showing the frequent failure of charters. 

Open the link to see a great cartoon.

He writes:

It is worth noting that both public schools and privately-operated nonprofit and for-profit charter schools are victims of expensive, curriculum-narrowing, time-consuming, high-stakes standardized tests produced by large for-profit corporations that have no idea what a human-centered education looks like. Such corporations are retrogressive and harmful in many ways; they are not concerned with the growth and well-being of children, or the future of society.

The research on how damaging and unsound these expensive corporate tests are is robust, unassailable, and constantly-growing.


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Posted by on May 28, 2019 in Uncategorized


Rachel Cohen: The Untold History of Charter Schools

What AFT President Al Shanker thought initially was a progressive idea, but it was captured by the Waltons, the DeVos family and others on the extreme right that wanted to destroy public schools and teachers’ unions.

Diane Ravitch's blog

Thanks to Los Angeles blogger Sara Roos for calling my attention to this very interesting article by journalist Rachel Cohen. We have had an extended exchange about the article.

Cohen says that the typical origin story of charter schools credits the idea to AFT President Al Shanker. She shows that the idea was percolating long before Shanker began promoting charters in 1988. The idea of public-private partnerships was in the air in the late 1980s and was the underpinning of what was called Third Way politics, as practiced by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair.

Cohen does an excellent job of describing the milieu in which the charter idea emerged. Shanker was not its originator but he was an important publicist for the idea. Without his support, charters might never have achieved national attention.

Right-wingers today, as Cohen notes, likes to credit paternity of charters to Shanker, which is amusing…

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Posted by on May 27, 2019 in Uncategorized


Cynthia Liu: After Jackie Goldberg’s Win, How to Keep Momentum Going

Diane Ravitch's blog

Cynthia Liu, a journalist in California, writes:

With public education champion Jackie Goldberg’s win on the LAUSD school board seat, it’s time for public school advocates to keep the momentum surging! Update on charter accountability bills: 1507 was voted on Monday and passed out of assembly and goes to the California State Senate. YAY & THANK YOU to all who called and voted YES.
But two additional bills need to get to the Assembly for a floor vote.
Call today (Wednesday) or Thursday (morning) and say,
Script: “Hi I am asking the assembly member ________ to vote AB1505 & AB1506 out of the appropriations committee so that they can go to the floor for a full vote. I do not want them to die in committee on Thursday.”
These folks are high priority, but everyone should call. Look up your California legislator here:

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Posted by on May 16, 2019 in Uncategorized