Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Sunday, April 12, 2015

When You See Pro-Testing Statements From Civil Rights Organizations & Leaders, Check Their Gates Foundation Links

Randi Weingarten on twitter:

It's true that many national civil rights organizations support annual testing, Common Core and other tenets of the corporate education reform agenda.

It's also true that many of them are on the take:

Whenever you see somebody from one of these national civil rights organizations tossing around the "Testing is a civil right" rhetoric, go to the Gates Foundation website and search to see how much money they're taking from Bill Gates.

Today for example, Michael Lomax, the president and CEO of the United Negro College Fund, who has a piece in the NY Daily News claiming that parents who opt their children out state tests are hurting all children but especially children of color:
By opting out, parents do a disservice to all children, not just their own. Without an ample number of test takers, we will lose perspective on how our children are truly doing against the higher bar. This is especially important for students who need a better education the most: children of color, children from low-income families and those who require special education services or are learning English.

This spring, three of my grandchildren who attend public charter schools in Atlanta will take these tougher exams. The exams will tell us if they are meeting rigorous national and global academic standards. If they are not, their parents and I will fight to ensure they get immediate support, so upon high-school graduation, they will be genuinely prepared for our country’s best universities and a globally-competitive workforce.

In the 20th century, we fought for our right to an equal education. Now, 60 years after Brown vs. Board of Education, we are still fighting. Parents who opt out or urge others to do so may mean well, but they are wrong.

No one should be against higher standards or tougher tests. On the contrary, this is exactly what we should be fighting for. We know that the alternative is much worse.

Before I read Lomax's piece in the Daily News, I went on over to the Gates Foundation website and searched for how much money Gates has paid to the United Negro College Fund over the last decade.

It's a lot:

United Negro College Fund, Inc.

August 1999
to support the Gates Millennium Scholars Program
United States
Fairfax, Virginia

Yes, that's over a billion and a half dollars the United Negro College Fund has received from Gates since 1999 to provide scholarships.

That's an awful lot of money, but it's not the only cash the United Negro College Fund has gotten from Gates - here's the rest.

Now it's possible that Michael Lomax, CEO of the United Negro College Fund, would love testing and Common Core without the billion and a half+ in cash his organization has received from the Gates Foundation to fund scholarships.

But getting that kind of help from Gates sure does cut down on the time the organization has to spend fundraising and you can bet neither Lomax nor the United Negro College Fund want to lose that source of funding.

Now I dunno if somebody at the Gates Foundation called in a chit and "suggested" Lomax write his pro-testing screed or if Lomax just decided to be pro-active on his own and do it himself.

But you can bet it's not an accident that a national civil rights organization that is receiving over a billion and a half dollars in cash from the Gates Foundation is pushing an education reform agenda that makes the Gates Foundation happy.

And as I tweeted back to Randi, this is true almost every time I see some national civil rights organization or national civil rights figure pushing the "Testing Is A Civil Right" talking point - they're inevitably on the Gates Foundation payroll.

La Raza?

You bet.

The Leadership Conference?

You bet.

National Urban League.

You bet.

Children Defense Fund?

You bet.

The list goes on - pick a civil rights organization that has signed on to the "Testing Is A Civil Right" movement and you'll almost inevitably see they've taken money from Gates in the past or are currently taking money from Gates now.

Not every organization is getting the kind of cash the United Negro College Fund is getting from Gates, but donations are donations and every dollar that comes to these organizations from Gates is one less dollar they have to raise somewhere else.

And again, it's possible some of these organizations would happily push the "Testing Is A Civil Right" movement without the Gates Foundation payola, but you can bet receiving the Gates cash helps grease the wheels on that movement.

Randi Weingarten loves to trot out the excuse that national civil rights organizations are backing yearly standardized tests every time she is challenged on twitter for the AFT's support of yearly standardized tests, but as you can see from this post, that excuse is deceptive since so many of these organizations are taking money from the pro-testing/pro-Common Core Gates Foundation.

And in fact, Randi and the AFT have been on the Gates payroll in the past, so she knows very well just how the Gates cash influences policy support.

The next time you see a civil rights organization or leader trotting out the "Testing Is A Civil Right" rhetoric, check them at the Gates Foundation website and see just how much payola they're taking.

And the next time you see AFT President Randi Weingarten defending her own support of yearly standardized testing by pointing out the national civil rights organizations who also support yearly standardized testing, challenge her on it by pointing out the common denominator in all that support - the Gates Foundation cash.


  1. Did anyone listen to Randi Weingarten this morning on CSPAN? I did. The woman just doesn't get it. She is nearly as incoherent as Cathy Nolan was on March 31 on the floor of the NYS Assembly.

    Weingarten was working off a list of talking points. She just keeps regurgitating the same thing over and over about poverty, schools becoming community centers for parents and offering job training, health, nutrition, etc. services. She is not against all the federal tests, just against using them for teacher evaluation.

    Randi continues to be a strong proponent of the Common Core. She doesn't get it. We need less federal tests. We need the federal government to get out of the way of locally elected school boards. Where I live on LI we have some of the highest performing school districts in the state and nation. The last thing anyone wants is for Albany or Washington to come and stick its nose in the district's curriculum, approach to testing or teacher evaluation.

    Randi also couldn't name one Republican that the AFT has ever endorsed for president. That's part of the problem, too. The unions have put all their eggs in the Democrats basket and been burned. The GOP hates the unions and the Democrats take their support for granted.

    Randi said there is a process employed by the AFT to determine its endorsement for president, but then went on to lavish praise on Hillary Clinton and say she would make a sensational president.

    When discussing the bipartisan education bill coming out of the US Senate, Randi didn't seem to have any problems with keeping all the testing in place. It is clear she believes in the testing, completely missing why parents are opting their kids out in droves. Randi never said she has either met with or asked to meet with Patty Murray and tried to dissuade Murray or even Obama from insisting on keeping all these federally mandated tests in place.

    Bottom line: Randi Weingarten is a sellout who does not represent the views of the teachers I work with. She is so far removed from what is important to parents and rank and file educators. The fact hundreds of dollars of my dues go to the AFT makes me sick to my stomach.

    1. The endorsement process goes like this:

      Who does Randi want?

      Message goes out, this is who Randi wants.

      Dog/Pony show put on to make believe like process was democratic and inclusive.

      AFT (or UFT) endorses candidate Randi wants.

      This is how it worked with Bill Thompson in 2013.

      This is how it will work with Hillary Clinton in 2016.

  2. Can we just say, at long last....definitively, loudly, clearly, and with gusto: RANDI WEINGARTEN IS NOT ON OUR SIDE!
    She is on the other side clearly. At every opportunity she speaks for the other side. She does not represent teachers, their interests, or their work. She IS THE OTHER SIDE!

    We need to stop even thinking she is a deformed member of or side in some slight way. She is the other side.

    The annoying thing is that she thinks she speaks for teachers in some way.

    Cut her off and treat her like the opposition. Period.

    God she sucks.

    1. It is clear to me that she has an agenda that is closer to that of Bill Gates than her membership.

  3. You may blast me for saying this, but I actually think these concerns are completely legitimate. Remember, CC and tests both represent (represent) a genuine attempt (attempt) to engage in and measure learning in a far way and that's important.

    I think, however, that it is completely ridiculous to hold to the notion that a test -one test- is the only way to gauge whether or not POC, and every other child in the public school system, is receiving a quality education. Tests have their place, but so do other indicators that just aren't being used.
    *Promotion stats
    *Report Card stats with 'fair' measures in the classroom
    *Examining practices through one rubric (even the ridiculous Danielson)
    *Graduation stats and credit accumulation stats
    *Gauging whether the measures that most reasonable people inform good practice are being used
    *Student attendance and even surveys

    These are all also fair ways to measure whether or not the education in the classroom is of a high standard and when you use them all together, it'll paint a pretty fair picture of what's happening. BUT they're all being ignored for this 20th Century 'one test' idea.

    And to that end -to the end that too many people are (IMO willfully) ignoring alternatives that can make tests have (much) less of a high stake- I completely 1000% agree with you. There is too much of a link between these groups and Gates (and Broad et. al).

    1. No teacher is against testing. We are against testing mania; excessive testing; testing for no real purpose other than to shame schools/districts/teachers. Randi Weingarten never said she wants less federally imposed testing. She just doesn't want teachers evaluated by it. We need less federal testing. Years ago the California Achievement Tests offered teachers and parents useful information. That's not the case today.

    2. Not arguing whether they're legitimate or not - just that they're helped along by the Gates $. As I noted in my post, many of these organizations and leaders might support testing, CCSS, accountability et al without the Gates$. But you can bet the Gates $ sure helps.

  4. i'd like to think they ar enot just shilling for their paymasters the way pols do, but have been sold the bill of goods of testing/reform being "good" for kids of color, etc.

    1. Or maybe the leaders of these groups (Negro College Fund, La Raza, etc) don't really represent the views of their rank and file, but have sold out to Gates, et al for their own "place at the table" much like our own union leaders and PTA heads have done.

    2. I think there's something to that "place at the table" theory.

  5. What is a "globally competitive work force?" Another funny phrase you keep hearing and reading. Let's prepare our kids for the globally competitive workforce, so they can attend a private university, owe 6 figures to the government before the age of 23, and actually be begging to work at Starbucks because that's where most college grads are winding up. Stop pretending that there's jobs for college grads and it's a globally competitive market, etc. What nonsense. 80% of college grads are living at home with mommy & daddy well into their 30's cause there's no real jobs, just real loans to pay. Then people wake up and take the firefighter job or the police job, or sanitation, UPS, FedEx, Con Ed, etc,,,, which they should've done a decade earlier. The best jobs are civil service, not "college grad globally competitive". So funny but people actually buy into this nonsense!

    1. It's a phrase uttered by neo-liberals and capitalists who either buy into or want us to buy into the idea that market cannot be controlled in anyway and just kinda does what it does and we need to react to it.

      Truth is, globalism is a conscious choice by the elites to pit countries against each other for their own benefit.

  6. Isn't there a clause in AFT by laws to remove an officer such as Weingrovel who consistently surfaces on the wrong side of every issue and spends her days spinning away her collusion with enemies of labor and public education? Guess I have homework on a weekend.

    1. I don't know the answer to that - I bet Norm might. Still, given how corrupt the AFT/UFT leadership structure is, I don't think the leadership could be removed by anybody other than the DOJ on RICO charges.

  7. RBE, you've missed this gem about the United Negro College Fund:

    "Koch brothers to give $25 million to United Negro College Fund."

    "The gift is contingent on UNCF identifying 3,000 "Koch Scholars." The funds are earmarked only for young people with "an interest in the study of how entrepreneurship, economics, and innovation contribute to well-being for individuals, communities, and society." To many, that sounds like the Koch brothers are restricting the funds only to students who adopt the Koch's economic and political views. Koch representatives will even help choose which students qualify for scholarships."

    The gift required UNCF president Michael Lomax to attend a Koch brothers' retreat in California. The public stated purpose of this event was to build support for the Koch brothers' various political causes. According to Van Jones, "The moment he stepped through the door, Lomax lent the his organization's good name to a radical agenda that causes untold damage to African-Americans."

    I'm a lot more worried about an organization that would sell its soul to the Koch Brothers than even to the Gates Foundation.

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