Monday, October 26, 2009

The Race to the Top, Microsoft connection

Does Microsoft founder Bill Gates exercise too much influence over U.S. education policy simply because of the millions he is able to spread around? And does that influence fly in the face of what experts know to be the right path to education reform?

This article by Associated Press reporters Libby Quaid and Donna Blankinship raises those questions, saying that Gates' foundation "is taking unprecedented steps to influence education policy, spending millions to influence how the federal government distributes $5 billion in grants to overhaul public schools."

If teachers wonder why the federal Race to the Top program is heavily slanted toward charter schools and teacher evaluations based on student test scores, they need look no farther than Gates. Two of his former employees are inner circle advisers to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and have received special ethics waivers so they may continue their close association with Gates' foundation.

LFT is asking for teachers' opinions of the Race to the Top program. Please click here to answer a short survey about the issues.

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