The Gates Foundation Exposed. Part II

In Part I, we discussed the size and scope of the Gates Foundation, and it's subjective approach to reform. In this part we'll take a closer look at his current effort to promote corporate education reforms.

Gates is now moving on to his next article of faith in his quest to reform public education - attacking teacher seniority and professional education requirements. If it's not the school structure, it must be the teacher to blame goes the new thinking.

The Gates agenda is an intellectual cousin of the Bush administration's 2002 No Child Left Behind law, which required all public schools-though not individual teachers-to make "adequate yearly progress" on student test scores. Some opponents of No Child Left Behind questioned its faith in data; are scores too narrow a gauge of how well kids are learning? Gates sees nothing wrong in relying on quantitative metrics. "Every profession has to have some form of measurement," he said in a late June interview with Bloomberg Businessweek. "Tuning that, making sure it's fair, getting the teachers so they're enthused about it" are the keys.

After the Small Schools Initiative debacle, Gates hired a new leader, Vicki Phillips, who in turn hired Tom Kane. Kane had authored a study using high stakes testing results, which concluded that "Teachers who ranked in the bottom quarter after their first two years in the classroom should be fired."

Gates, with this flawed study in hand, set about deploying his checkbook to cash strapped school districts prepared to take a gamble. One such district is Hillsbrough County Public Schools in Florida. Hillsbrough agreed to, among many other provisions, "Empower principals in the recruitment and dismissal of teachers based on performance".

The corporate reform doesn't stop there however, the distrcit also hired 2 outsiders, at some expense to assist with the 7 year reform implementation

The new positions being considered today will cost $223,202 in salaries and benefits for two years; a $100,000 grant from the Gates Foundation would pay for about half that, while the school district would pick up about 25 percent. The other 25 percent would be paid by The Broad Foundation, an entrepreneurial philanthropic group that offers residencies for experienced private industry executives interested in a career switch to public education.

The two candidates being recommended are Jamal Jenkins, a former Chrysler executive who worked in human resources and has experience as a recruiter, and Donald Dellavia, a former plant manager for the H.J. Heinz Co.

If you're wondering what an executive from a bankrupt car company, and a ketchup plant manager can offer public education, you're probably not alone.

In our final Part, we'll take a look at some of the other efforts the Gates Foundation is making, including those in Ohio.