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Indignant Lesson #10: Montsano & Public Education

September 3, 2013

Bill Gates needs to get his nose out of other people’s business, and it’s time Boston voters send him a message that the rest of the country will be sure to emulate.

Today, the only message American voters have sent him is the one that has allowed a man with no experience in education – outside of his own – to decide what children in this country should be learning, and even how teachers should be teaching.

What gives Bill Gates the right to dictate how people should do their jobs? What gives him the right to decide what’s important for children to be learning, and experiencing, in schools? And most of all, who does he think he is to blatantly ignore people who tell him his decisions are bad policy?

The Indignant Teacher stumbled across an article about Montsano recently, and she couldn’t help but recognize similarities between it and corporate reform:

Bill Gates decided that he has the answer to world hunger with Montsano, just like he also decided he has the answer to public education with Corporate Reform.

Bill Gates is a corrupt con-man who will do anything to earn another buck, as if he doesn’t already have more than he needs.

Monsanto actually conned the farmers into buying their GM seeds, majorly overpriced and performing far worse than even traditional seeds. Monsanto went as far as to charge these poor farmers £10 for 100 grams of GM seed, while they could have purchased 1,000 times more traditional seeds for the same amount. The result? A career-ending harvest that led to mass farmer suicide.”

Sound familiar?

Gates also conned state and district school leaders into buying his “Big Ideas” (privatization, Common Core, PARCC, TFA, teacher evals, etc, etc, etc), which, like Montsano, are majorly overpriced, and have failed to produce anything of substance. The result? Many teachers are ending their careers, education is squashing children’s abilities to develop their unique skills and talents, and our democracy is being dismantled. The Indignant Teacher doesn’t know of any suicides at this point, but it’s safe to think that if things continue, that’s a sure possibility.

It’s time for America to send Bill Gates a message he’s sure to understand. Apparently he has some sort of learning disability himself, as efforts to do so have only failed thus far. Either that or Bill Gates is the biggest “Bad Guy” walking the planet. Regardless, this man needs to be stopped, and attempts to tell him so haven’t been successful.

It’s time to stop talking and start acting. The Indignant Teacher believes the way to do this is by electing school decision-makers who will drive a stake through this vampire’s heart.

What is his heart? It’s the single most important idea that ties all of Gates’ “Big Ideas” together. Like the GMO crops that are purported to save the world from starvation, High-Stakes Tests are the crops that are purported to save the country from failing schools, but the reality of both is that they are, in fact, toxic.

Of course students need to be assessed in school. Of course teachers need to be accountable for teaching those students. But high-stakes tests aren’t the answer. Just as GM seeds aren’t the answer to grow the best crops. Both need to be removed in order to save the people involved.

In Boston, that will start when we elect a Mayor who’s ready, willing, and able to “Just Say No” to high-stakes tests. Before we poison yet another school year. Don’t our children deserve so much more?

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