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The Proposition 1B “Preschool for All” Wheel of Fortune: Same players, new game

Wheel

Proposition 1B “Preschool for All” Wheel of Fortune

(Click the image for a better view. Click the title for a pdf.)

 

“Quality Preschool for All”. It sounds so right, just what we want for all of our children. But first, it depends upon what you define as “Quality”.

If you mean preschool that is student oriented and allows for individual growth, this is not the definition of “Quality” by the proponents of 1B.

If “Quality” to you means standardized and scripted lesson plans and assessments (nice word for tests), then you and Bill Gates are in agreement THAT is quality, at least for other people’s kids. See The Building Blocks of a Good Pre-K.

Rumors have been circulating that the same people who pushed through charter schools in our state to the tune of $10M are doing the same with Proposition 1B. Well, they’re right, with the exception of the Walton’s who have not gotten on the Universal pre-K bandwagon as their cohorts have.

The first time I heard about the preschool program, which is an offshoot of Universal pre-K,  was in June of this year when I was asked to attend a presentation given by some “experts” flown in from Boston to tell us what we already knew about children and the importance of preschool. I haven’t figured out who footed the bill but it will pop up somewhere. As soon as I saw the “suits”, I became suspicious, particularly because most of the people in the audience were also suits. See Race to the Tots: Universal (for profit) Pre-K, DFER and the suits for more details on that meeting.

The next time I was in a council meeting regarding Proposition 1B, people were able to provide testimony. Many of the people who gave testimony were teachers. It wasn’t until later that I found out all of the teachers who spoke were members of the union busting, charter loving Teachers United. Teachers United (TU) has received a total of $942,113 from Bill Gates over the last few years and is run by Chris Eide. See http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2013/06/OPP1085805 and http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database/Grants/2011/09/OPP1035367 for the details.

For more on TU and Chris Eide see Anti Teachers’ Union Activity in the State of WA: Chris Eide and Northwest Professional Educators.

Note: 10/31/14, Teachers United is calling for volunteers to canvas for Prop 1B this weekend. Gates will get his money’s worth out of them at some point.

That’s when I decided to follow the money.

A solid line on the diagram means cash was contributed. A dashed line means public support and personal time has been contributed to Proposition 1B campaign.

To follow are the major players in terms of cash outlay and those who are paid in one form or another to sing their tune.

 

“I actually worked with Jackie Bezos at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Dallas to pass a resolution for universal preschool,” noted (Seattle Mayor) Murray, referring to the mother of Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos. She is the president of the Bezos Family Foundation, a Seattle-based nonprofit. –Seattle Times, October 22, 2014

 

Bill Gates and the Gates Foundation

Just in case 1B fails, Gates has hedged his bets by offering a grant of $750,000 to Seattle Public Schools (SPS) to set up a preK-5 program at Bailey Gatzert Elementary School in Seattle. Gates doesn’t do anything without attaching lots of strings such as assessments and data gathering. The most worrisome part is that he is now trying to extend his influence into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th grades through the proposed preschool program.

The Gates Foundation put on quite a show apparently for a selected few on Universal pre-K. Gates, along with Bezos, also provided scholarships for those invited to go on a field trip to Boston to see Universal perK programs this year.

You might have noticed there are two empty circles coming off of Bill Gates’ bubble on the diagram. That’s because I’m fairly certain that I, or someone else, will find another largess that has been given to someone to further his agenda. It’s just a matter of time to discover who else is part of his shell game.

Bill Gates is also a big supporter of charter schools. See Funding “Education Reform”: The Big Three Foundations.

Seattle Times and the Education Lab blog

Gates provided $700,000 to the Seattle Times to create the blog “Education Lab”. See Seattle Times’ Gates-funded Education Lab Blog Experiment.

The Times has come out in support of 1B. No surprise there because they have also supported over the last few years merit pay (teachers evaluated using student test scores), Teach for America and charter schools, all part of the Bill Gates plan for public education.

Crosscut

Also received a largess from Gates to the tune of $800,000 in 2010 for “Special Projects”. They have come out for 1B. See Gates Foundation quadruples Crosscut grant for additional information.

Seattle Foundation/Norm Rice

Bill Gates has given the Seattle Foundation at least $4M over the last several years, see the Lines of Influence in Education Reform for the specifics. Norm Rice was the President and CEO of the Seattle Foundation until July of this year and is the spokesperson in the Proposition 1B television ad. The Seattle Foundation supports whatever Bill Gates desires including charter school and Teach for America.

An organization called Save the Children Action Network paid for the 1B television ad. What money went to this organization to run the TV ad is still a question mark as shown on the diagram.

Bezos Family and Foundation

Talk about a shell game! It took some research to find information on the Bezos family and their donations. Thanks to PAC’s, folks with money can hide their political support in the weeds. It’s called “Dark Money”.

Each member of the Bezos family contributed as much as they could legally as individuals, then their foundation kicked in some cash. The Bezos also contributed money to the League of Education Voters PAC, Education Voters Political Action Fund, which supported the charter school initiative.

The Bezos along with Gates provided “scholarships” to those who were invited on the field trip to Boston to see preschool programs but required financial assistance.

The Bezos, along with Gates, were huge financial supporters of the charter school initiative. See Bezos Family Funds Four PACs in Charter Schools Shell Game

From Diane Ravitch’s blog:

Jeff Bezos: Another Billionaire for Privatization of Public Education

Last fall, Bill Gates collected $10 million from his friends to push through approval of a referendum to permit privately managed charter schools in Washington State, which voters had turned down three times previously. Among the friends of Bill Gates who helped make charters possible was the Bezos family, the parents of Jeff Bezos.

Jeff Bezos is the founder of amazon.com. He is a billionaire many times over, one of the richest men on the planet.

Yesterday he bought the Washington Post.

An article in the Washington Post today describes his interest in education.

It reads:

“Like Washington Post Co. Chairman Donald E. Graham, Bezos has shown support for efforts to change education policy, including the creation and expansion of public charter schools.

The Bezos Family Foundation — whose board includes Bezos, his parents and other family members — gave more than $11 million in 2011 to an array of national organizations such as Teach for America, Stand for Children and the KIPP Foundation, according to tax filings. The foundation also gave grants to scores of individual schools around the country as well as several charter school chains, including Uncommon Schools, which operates schools in New York and Massachusetts.

Bezos’s parents, Mike and Jackie, were active in a fierce battle last year to allow the creation of public charter schools in Washington state. Washington had been one of a handful of states that did not permit charters, which are publicly funded schools that are privately run and largely without unions. Teachers unions opposed the ballot measure, which narrowly passed with financial backing from Mike and Jackie Bezos as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Netflix founder Reed Hastings.”

In short, Bezos is no friend of public education.

Live Wire

…is funded by the Bezos and is part of the Seattle Times.

Live Wire and Microsoft recently sponsored an event titled See what happened at The Case for Early Learning with guests Mayor Ed Murray, Representative Ruth Kagi (see below), and others extolling the virtues of the Mayor/Burgess preschool plan.

Do you see where this is going?

Matt Griffin

$100,000 in total contributions to Proposition 1B and a big supporter of charter schools. He also contributed money to the Seattle Foundation to bring Teach for America to Seattle.

He also contributed $30,000 to the Great Seattle Schools PAC to support School Board Director Stephan Blanford (see below) and Sue Peters’ opponent Suzanne Estey who was defeated.

Christopher Larson

Microsoft millionaire Chris Larson contributed $100,000 to the Proposition 1B campaign and was a financial supporter of the charter initiative even though he doesn’t have any children in the Seattle Public School system.

He is also on the Board of Directors for the League of Education Voters.

Nick Hanauer

$30,000 contribution to Proposition 1B. Hanauer is also on the Board of Directors of the League of Education Voters and big supporter of charter schools.

The Seattle Chamber of Commerce PAC the Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy

Contributed to the Proposition 1B campaign and to the coffers of Councilmember Tim Burgess and the Alliance for Education. They also paid for a nasty attack ad about McGinn during the mayoral campaign. See Pro-Murray PAC Uses Battered Women as Pawns in Deceptive Smear Campaign.

The Alliance for Education

The Gates Foundation has over the last several years basically been the Alliance for Education‘s bank. Whatever the Alliance needs, it seems that the Gates’ Foundation just cuts another check by providing a grant for a specific purpose. See The Lines of Influence in Education Reform for the details.

The Alliance for Education, along with the Great Seattle Schools PAC, supported Stephan Blanford in his bid for Seattle School Board Director. Six months before Burgess formally presented his preschool initiative to the Seattle School Board, Blanford told the Levy Oversight Committee that SPS was in full support of the initiative.

Sara Morris, CEO for the Alliance for Education, recently sent out a letter on Alliance for Education letterhead endorsing Proposition 1B . Was that Kosher? I think not, unless the Alliance has another status other than a 501c3, they are not to participate in any political campaigns or actively support a candidate.

Washington State Director of Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) and Lisa Macfarlane:

Ms. Macfarlane gave a personal donation to the 1B campaign.

An excerpt from the post Lisa Macfarlane with WA DFER wins the Walton Award for privatization:

According to the PR Newswire, Lisa Macfarlane, formerly with the League of Education Voters (LEV) and now Director of Washington State Education Reform Now/Democrats for Education Reform (DFER), received a $10,000 grant from the Walton’s as an “Education Reformer to Watch” for her work on pushing charter school initiative 1240 in the state of Washington.

And what does Ms. Macfarlane plan to do with the cash? Ensure that charter schools open in the state of Washington of course.

Per DFER Watch:

Democrats for Education Reform is a political action committee supported largely by hedge fund managers favoring charter schools, merit-pay tied to test scores, high-stakes testing, school choice (including vouchers and tuition tax credits in some cases), mayoral control, and alternative teacher preparation programs.

Diane Ravitch describes DFER in her post Follow the Money.

If you want to know why so many politicians think so highly of charters, there is a basic rule of politics that explains it all: Follow the money.

The most visible organization promoting corporate reform is called Democrats for Education Reform, known as DFER (commonly pronounced “D-fer”). DFER is the Wall Street hedge fund managers’ group. It always has a few non-hedge funders on the board, especially one or two prominent African-Americans, to burnish its pretentious claim of leading the civil rights movement of our day. Kevin Chavous, a former council member from Washington, D.C., fills that role for now, along with the DFER stalwart, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark. DFER has its own member of the U.S. Senate, Senator Michael Bennett of Colorado. It has also raised money generously for Congressman George Miller, the senior Democrat on the House Education and Labor Committee.

This group bankrolls politicians, woos them, raises campaign cash for them, and persuades them of the advantages of turning the children of their district over to privately managed schools. Watch their website to see which politician they favor this month and scan those they have recognized in the past.

In New York City, Hakeem Jeffries, DFERs’s candidate for U.S. Congress, announced his support for tax credits for religious schools on the day after he won the election.

For more on DFER, go to https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/democrats-for-education-reform-also-known-as-dfer/.

School Board Director Stephan Blanford

Stephan Blanford spoke to the Levy Committee six months before the 1B Initiative was formerly introduced to the board and stated that Seattle Public Schools ( SPS) would have no problem with supporting Burgess’ plan*. School Board Director Stephan Blanford also went on the field trip to Boston sponsored by the Seattle Chamber of Commerce to look at preK programs in Boston. His trip was paid for by the League of Education Voters (LEV). The expenses for all other SPS staff who went on the trip, and it was a selected few, were paid for out of Seattle Public School funds.

Blanford has been bought and paid for by the following contributors:

Seattle City Councilmember Tim Burgess, the champion of 1B

Don Neilson– The Godfather of Education Reform in Seattle

The Ballmer’s

The League of Education Voters

Matt Griffin

The Hanauer’s

Christopher Larson

The Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy (Seattle Chamber of Commerce PAC)

Peter Maier (twice). Remember him?

School Board Director Sherry Carr

Director Carr has received campaign donations from Matt Griffin and has shown support for 1B.

Ms. Carr showed up at a 46th District meeting where Burgess presented Prop 1B without providing members an opportunity to speak up against it before it was endorsed. Ms. Carr did not speak but was standing in the back with Burgess, Harium Martin-Morris and the 1B campaign manager.

She is also one of the School Board Directors who voted for all things ed reform when Broad Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson was in power including bringing Teach for America to Seattle. Hmmm, I wonder why? Well, let’s look at her sponsors:

Civic Alliance for a Sound Education

Matt Griffin

Christopher Larson

The Ballmers

K & L Gates PAC (Bill Gates Sr. law firm is K&L Gates)

Mary Jean Ryan of the Community Center for Education Results (CCER) Gates backed organization

School Board Director Harium Martin-Morris

Director Harium Martin-Morris has spoken publicly in support of 1B. He also showed up at a 46th District meeting, even though it’s not his district, to give moral support (?) to Burgess who made the push for 1B even though no one was allowed to speak against 1B.

By the way, over the years, Harium has received campaign donations from Matt Griffin, Christopher Larson, the Ballmer’s, Bill Gates and Lisa Macfarlane.

Legislative Representative Ruth Kagi of the 32nd District

Representative Kagi is a fierce supporter of 1B but does not represent a Seattle district. Could it have anything to do with the fact that the Bezos’ have contributed to her campaigns?

Those who didn’t get on the Wheel of Fortune chart but are of interest are:

Mimi Gates- $5,000

William Gates, Sr.- $5,000

Microsoft- $10,000

Lucy Gaskill-Gaddis, Families and Education Levy Committee member $500

 

And who contributed to Ed Murray’s campaign?

Leslie Hanauer  $700

Nick & Leslie Hanauer Foundation $700

Nick Hanauer  $700

Christopher Larson  $700

Strategies 360  $700, see Seattle School District hires staffer from Strategies 360 – the political marketing firm that misused private student contact info to push ed reform agendaand Loose Ends – Strategies 360, Susan Enfield, Crazy Talk & Quakes.

Tim Burgess  $700

Matt Griffin $700

The Civic Alliance for a Sound Economy Contributed $10,000 to People for a New Seattle Mayor.

The People for a New Seattle Mayor ran the domestic violence hit pieces against McGinn. See Pro-Murray PAC Uses Battered Women as Pawns in Deceptive Smear Campaign.

And who stands to gain from Proposition 1B passing?

So far:

Acelero: A business enterprise that privatizes Head Start programs. See Seattle PreSchool for All Proposition 1B: Acelero, the fox watching over the hen house.

KIPP, the charter school chain: See Race to the Tots: Universal (for profit) Pre-K, DFER, KIPP and the suits.

Teach for America, Inc.:  “Pre-School for All” in Seattle, student information sharing, Jump Start, Teach for America and more. They’ve already got their hooks into Detroit.

In the 1B lanaguage it states:

The City will work with local colleges and universities to develop an alternate route program for teachers with Bachelor’s Degrees in fields other than Early Childhood Education. The City will also develop an alternative process through which experienced, high-quality lead teachers — as defined in the Implementation Plan — may be granted waivers.

When it is stated that way, it means Teach for America, Inc. recruits. UW established a program where TFA recruits can do their five weeks of course work to “prepare” them to teach our children. Trust me, that is the plan here.

Also, Gates gave $1M to Teach for America, Inc. a few years ago to open an office in Seattle.

Pearson: The educational publishing company being bandied about to develop lesson plans and tests for the preschool program.

Mayor Ed Murray: Murray tried to pass legislation while a State Senator for mayoral control. This is a subject for another post that will be to you shortly but suffice it to say for now that to have a Department of Education as Murray has just declared will happen in Seattle, you have to have programs to oversee to show how well a politician can run a school district.

For more detail on mayoral control, see Mayoral Control: The short of it.

New Note: A New York hedge fund PAC and a few other notables donated to the 1B campaign during the last week before the election. For the details, see New York hedge fund managers jumping onto the Seattle Preschool Proposition 1B gravy train.

Submitted by Dora Taylor

What’s happening in Seattle is happening around the country. Watch Bill Moyers’ segment:

Who’s buying our midterm elections?

 

Post Script:

A big thank you and shout out to all who sent me information and prodded me to keep following this money trail. This could not have been done without the diligence and hard work of others who have helped me with research or sent me information they found to be of interest and noteworthy.

Keep those cards and letters coming!

 

Notes:

There is a pdf of the Wheel of Fortune here that can be downloaded and printed.

*I asked for the Families and Education Levy meeting minutes because they are not all posted on the website. After two weeks, they have yet to appear. These minutes have provided great insight on how the levy committee has been working behind the scenes on this issue and this information needs to be available for the public to view.

 

 

 

 

10 comments on “The Proposition 1B “Preschool for All” Wheel of Fortune: Same players, new game

  1. rachelwilsey
    November 17, 2014

    Now that it has passed what are your thought on educating/organizing around this issue?

    • seattleducation2010
      November 17, 2014

      Getting up to speed on 1B got many of us taking a closer look at the Families and Education Levy Oversight Committee and the Seattle Office for Education. Both will have influence on how the money is used.

      There is much to be concerned with seeing how these two entities have worked in the past. The “Oversight Committee” is simply a rubber stamp for whatever Holly Miller, Time Burges or Mayor Murray want. Because Burgess and the mayor are both politicians, they take into consideration what their campaign donotrs want which isn’t always in the best interest of our children although it is couched in those terms.

      We also plan several outreach events around the city to inform parents about the assessments and data collection that is tied to this program and if it is run like the levy is, funding can be predicated on an evaluation system which in some of the youth programs that receive levy money have been detrimental to the children. (More on that later.)

      I will be posting information on events and the progress on the implementaton of 1B so stay tuned.

      Dora

  2. ECE Teacher
    November 2, 2014

    Any PreK initiative that is pushed by KIPP and TFA is a red flag, because their people are not experts in Early Childhood Education (ECE) who have decades of PreK classroom teaching experience. (KIPP charter schools don’t typically have PreK and here’s an example of a TFAer that is “Managing Director of the Early Childhood Initiative” in DC, who has two years experience in Head Start –during her TFA stint, while working on her master’s degree– and three years in a charter school: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/laura-mcsorley/7/9a/b96 This is not someone who is an ECE expert!)

    The primary interest of KIPP and TFA is in the expansion of privatization/charter schools, which can be accomplished more readily by situating (and receiving public funds for) PreK for All in charter schools. Then our nation’s youngest children will be subjected to military style drill sergeant TFAers, scripted curriculum, high stakes testing and massive test prep, all of which is contrary to how young children learn best. It’s bound to become a cash cow for charters and TFA, while turning off little kids to school, quashing their creativity and individuality, and damning them to become automatons in their “careers” at Walmart.

    VOTE NO on anything in ECE that is pushed or supported by KIPP and TFA!

  3. Pingback: Washington State: Is “Preschool for All” a Hoax? | Diane Ravitch's blog

  4. Jill Reifschneider
    October 27, 2014

    Thank you Dora. These connections and the business of preschool for all is so important to expose.

  5. Puget Sound Parent
    October 27, 2014

    Have the people advocating Proposition 1B realized that we have yet to fund full day Kindergarten for all children in this city? Any voices on that one?

    • seattleducation2010
      October 27, 2014

      These people are on a mission and that is a privatized Head Start and standardized preschool for all. Did they consider or even know that kindergarten is not completely funded? They either had no idea because that’s as much as they know about education in our school district or they just don’t care. For that reason alone, preschool should not be in the hands of politicians.

  6. Marc
    October 26, 2014

    The problem we see time and time again is that rich folks may seem to be philanthropic but their donations always come with chains attached. At the same time the programs are so desperately cash strapped they are willing to do whatever is asked for the cash infusion. So for a relatively small donation, an entire program is leveraged.

    The question is this: Do we now chose to allow the rich and corporate interests take over education? First Pre-K,..then schools, universities, curricula, and testing. And if (or when) they do take over…what do they make of our kids? Service workers? Second shifters for Boeing? Call center staff? Happy workers no union friendly boss?

    Because Bill Gates is rich…does that trump public control? Being rich doesn’t mean he’s an expert on everything…except perhaps running a monopoly for 20ish years, evading taxes, and getting taxpayers to pay for the enforcement of his company’s copyrights. However, Ed Murray, like many of the current crop of corporate democrats willingly pays lip service to him and the rest of the rich know-it-alls, while selling our future for pennies on the dollar.

    I don’t think for a moment that Ed Murray or any of the old white men give a damn about children, working women, or public education…no matter how many Somali preschoolers they pose with. They see money that they can drain from the public coffers. Plan 1B is the first step toward capturing that prize.

  7. Concerned
    October 26, 2014

    Dora,

    Your assertions are not far off. Tim Burgess and Ed. Murray are leading the city’s prek effort via 1B.

    Tim Burgess ran for mayor. His platform considered mayoral control of education.

    http://crosscut.com/2013/03/29/seattle-city-hall/113687/tim-burgess-collaboration-police-reform-and-better/?_cs=1

    Similarily, Ed Murray drafted legislation for appointed school boards.

  8. John
    October 26, 2014

    Thank you for this article, Dora.

    It is amazing that Tim Burgess, Ed Murray and the City of Seattle has NOT mentioned the involvement of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in relation to the city’s prek initiative- 1B.

    Below you will find a $750K grant offered by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Seattle Public Schools. This grant is intended to fund 3 years of preschool at a high poverty school. While I support funding preschool for low income children, I remain concerned about the agenda of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the city of Seattle. The prek grant extends through FIFTH grade. Aligning prek-K might make sense, aligning prek- fifth grade does not.

    http://mysps.seattleschools.org/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/1583136/File/Departmental%20Content/school%20board/14-15%20agendas/101514agenda/20141015_PreK_Proposal%20Narrative.pdf

    It is important to note that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is prohibited from campaigning, but putting $750K to jump start the city’s initiative is another story.

    Thanks to the funding of a few, charter schools were allowed into Washington’s K-12 system and there seems to be confusion as to whether or not charter schools would be funded for prek.

    In the past, Mayor Ed Murray proposed legislation for appointed school boards. This is nothing more than an attempt to take the voice away from voters. Clearly, the City of Seattle and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are attempting to insert the city into K-5.

    We can only hope that this initiative goes down.

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