Are the Deep Pockets of Gates, Walton, and Broad Contrary to the Ideals of Education in a Democracy?

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Creative Commons Deep Pockets by paul-henri is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
Creative Commons Deep Pockets by paul-henri is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

According to the Foundation Center, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, and the Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation are ranked 1, 13, and 38 respectively on the top 100 U.S. foundations by total giving.  The total assets of these three foundations as of April 2014 was $37 billion for the Gates Foundation, $1.9 billion for the Walton Foundation, and $1.6 billion for the Broad Foundation.

The total grant making in 2012 for these organizations was:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation        $3.18 billion

The Walton Family Foundation                   $423 million

The Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation           $153 million

If you count up the number of people who call the shots in these three foundations, here’s the math:

(Gates x 2) + (Walton x 6) + (Broad x 2) = 10 people

These three foundations are identified as the “Big Three Foundations” by Mercedes K. Schneider in her new book, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education (Public Library).  Dr. Schneider explores in-depth how Gates, Walton and Broad grant billions of dollars to organizations that meet their personal views of what education should be in America.

Diane Ravitch assigns the “big three” to the Billionaire Boys Club.  No matter how you look at it, these organizations’ money and political influence rudder American education reform toward the privatization of public education, and Common Core State Standards-High-Stakes Assessments accountability.

To be sure, there are many other Foundations that give grants to a variety of organizations whose goals merge with the Big Three, but it is the Big Three that dominate the agenda of education reform today.

Education for the People, by the People

In this blog post, I wonder if the deep pockets of just 10 people can be consistent with the ideals of public education.  Most of you know that Diane Ravitch published her recent book, Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America’s Public Schools (Public Library).  On one of the end pages of her book she included a 1785 quote by President John Adams that I believe exposes the crux of the problem caused by the influx of money and influence from people such as the Gates, Waltons and Broads.  Adams is quoted as saying this:

The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expense of it.  There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves.

Adams would be shocked by the “charitable” behavior these 10 people.

The funded organizations that are identified on the Big Three websites are pawn’s or infantry sent into schools with lots of money, political influence, and carefully laid plans  to carry out the aims of the Big Three.  Although there are differences and some overlap among those who receive their marching orders from the Big Three, it becomes obvious what the end game is when you learn who is funded.  Let’s take a look at the Big Three.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

In an earlier post (Why Bill Gates Defends the Common Core), I reported that more than 1800 “college-ready” projects have been funded by the Gates Foundation over the past five years.  Some organizations have been awarded multiple grants, and in some cases, these amounts exceeded $60 million.  In the world of Charter Schools, Gates has awarded more than $279 million.  In teacher education, Gates has given millions to Teach for America and the New Teacher Project, yet very little in funding to improve teacher education in American universities.  In the research I’ve done analyzing the Gates Awarded Grants, it can be estimated that more than $2.3 billion has been allocated to the “college-ready” category.

If you look at the names of organizations that receive Gates awards, you soon discover how education is being shaped: charter schools, temp teacher training, common standards, venture capitalism, and market-based reforms.  Figure 1 identifies some of the organizations that have received grants, as well as the amount they garnered over the past five years.

Figure 1.  Gates Funding for Corporate Reform 2010-2013.  Source of data: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database
Figure 1. Gates Funding for Corporate Reform 2010-2013. Source of data: http://www.gatesfoundation.org/How-We-Work/Quick-Links/Grants-Database

Here the grant focal points for the Gates Foundation.

Charter Schools

When I searched the Awarded Grants site at the Gates Foundation for “charter schools” it returned 134 hits.  For example in 2014, the Pacific Charter School Development, Inc. received an award totaling $3,998,633.  They joined a long list of recipients whose total amount came to $279,428,324 (see Figure 1).  Gates gives more to support charters than does Walton and Broad combined.

Common Core

Without question, the Gates Foundation leads all organizations in the U.S. to develop and implant a common set of standards in public schools.  Achieve, Inc., the organization that wrote the Common Core State Standards in Math and Language Arts, and the Next Generation Science Standards received more than $36 million from Gates. But this is only a tip of the common core iceberg. To find out the extent of the funding for the common core is not as straightforward as you might think.

Table 1. Program Categories Funded by the Gates Foundation.  Source: The Gates Foundation Website.
Table 1. Program Categories Funded by the Gates Foundation. Source: The Gates Foundation Website.

Achieve is part of a network of organizations that have spearheaded the drive to set up a common core of subjects in American schools that share the same set of performances for all students.   As you can see in Table 1, the Gates Foundation funds projects in five program areas.  You will find common core projects in the US Program, Global Policy & Advocacy and other program areas.  For example, the New Schools Venture Fund has received more than $60 million from the Gates Foundation.  As a venture capitalist organization, “their investors are betting hundreds of millions on the digital revolution in the classroom. (NewSchools Venture Fund website, extracted, May 29, 2014).”

One of the grants NewSchools received from Gates was for more than $10 million “to support the successful implementation of the Common Core State Standards and related assessments through comprehensive and targeted communications and advocacy in key states and the District of Columbia” (Gates Foundation Website, extracted May 29, 2014).

Implementing common core standards is a cornerstone of the Gates Foundation efforts to change American education.

Teacher Training

Teacher training is supported by the Gates Foundation through its grants to Teach for America (TFA) and The New Teacher Project (TNTP).  Based on my experience and research with alternative certification programs, these programs are at simply alternative ways to get people into classrooms, even while lacking profession teaching qualifications.

Is there is a similar plan to train élite college students in six weeks in medicine for the Doctor for America (DFA) program who will be hired for two years as paid doctors in local hospitals and clinics where they will practice medicine, even though they are uncertified? Medical and teaching projects, like these, set up a pipeline of inexperienced and uncertified college graduates to teach in American school, and bolster the over stretched medical profession.  Students in these programs need to commit two years, and then move up or out of the system.

TNTP is a step-child of TFA having been founded by Michelle Rhee, who was a TFA “graduate.”  TFA has net assets of $419,098,314 for fiscal year 2012.  It receives 76% of its money from grants and gifts, and 22.3% from government grants.

In a separate investigation of TFA’s and TNTP’s role in the Race to the Top (RT3), I looked at Georgia’s RT3 Program and discovered that these organizations were receiving $15.6 million and $9.1 million to supply uncertified teachers in the greater Atlanta area, where there is no shortage of certified teachers.

The language used to describe this effort is tied up in the notion of increasing the pipeline of effective educators.

From the RT3 budget is this statement:

Increase the pipeline of effective teachers through partnership with Teach for America in Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County, DeKalb County and Gwinnett with the first class of new TFA recruits beginning in the school year 2011-2012.  Funding included in section E project 24: $15,6000,000).

A separate line in the budget points to the same kind of arrangement with The New Teacher Project, which will provide new teachers in Savannah, Augusta, and Southwest Georgia, for $7,568,395 million.

Although these two organization provide a small share of teachers to American public schools, that the Gates Foundation and the Race to Top programs support them is troubling.  There is already legislation that supports redefining a certified teacher that includes teachers that have received minimal education, and no classroom experience.  In areas where experienced teachers are clearly more successful, Gates and even the U.S. Department of Education (ED) ignores the research on teacher effectiveness.

What about the Medical program? DFA doesn’t exist, does it? But I wonder if such a program would be accepted by the medical profession and the local community?

Teacher Evaluation

The Gates Foundation in its funded Measures of Effective Teaching (MET) theorized that it was going to be easy to identify effective teaching, especially with the use of video tapes and student test scores.  As John Thompson pointed out on Anthony Cody’s Living in Dialogue website over on Education Week,

The MET is a $45 million component of the “teacher quality” movement which studies test scores, teacher observations, and student survey data to isolate the elements of effective teaching. That’s great. But the MET’s assumptions about the outcomes they anticipated have been the basis for Arne Duncan’s test-driven policies — which require test scores to be a “significant part” of teacher evaluations in order for states to receive waivers for NCLB. Then, as evidence was gathered, preliminary reports noted problems with using test score growth for evaluations. The MET has continued to affirm the need for value-added (VAM) as a necessary component of their unified system of using improved instruction to drive reform, even as it reported disappointing findings.

Even though researchers have shown (using Gates Foundation data from the MET Study) that there are very low correlations between teachers instruction with state standards and state and alternative assessments, policy makers ignore such data and believe that teachers should be evaluated using student test scores.  This study reported there is no evidence of relationships curriculum alignment and composite measures of teacher effectiveness.  And they reported that lack of relationship between Danielson’s Framework of Teaching (used to measure teacher classroom behavior), Tripod (student surveys) to VAM scores.

One of the groups that Gates funds is the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ).  Since 2009, NCTQ has received more than $11 million in grants.  The name of this organization is an oxymoron, yet with millions in funding from Gates, NCTQ publishes biased reports on teacher effectiveness and teacher education.  In an earlier post I showed that NCTQ reporting is nothing short of junk science, yet here we have the billionaire funding such nonsense.

And then the Colorado Legacy Foundation has received more than $20 million to carry out the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) & pursue teacher evaluation systems using student test score growth.

The Walton Family Foundation

The Walton Family Foundation made grants totaling $423 million in 2013.  According to the Walton Family Foundation website, its purpose in funding is to “infuse competitive pressure into America’s K-12 education system by increasing the quantity and quality of school choices available to parents, especially in low-income communities.”

The Walton Family Foundation funds school projects that shape public policy, lead to the creation of “quality schools,” and improve existing schools. The California Charter Schools Association and the Alliance for School Choice were the top two recipients of grants from Walton in 2013.  Coming in third and fourth was The New Teacher Project and Teach for America.

The focus of funding of the Walton Foundation is school choice and parental choice (parent trigger) as policies supporting charter schools.

 

Figure 2. Walton Funding for Corporate Reform 2009 - 2013. Data Source: http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/
Figure 2. Walton Funding for Corporate Reform 2009 – 2013. Data Source: http://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/

 

The Eli & Edythe Broad Foundation

The Broad funding was $153 million in 2013.  The Broad Foundation, just like Gates and Walton accuses public schools of being in distress.  They all use the same statistics to claim that American students are not able to compete for jobs in a global market, and that corporations can’t find the “workers” who possess the skills  needed to fill their positions.  The Broad Foundation highlights the value of competition by the giving of various “Broad Prizes.”  The Broad Prize, and Broad Prize for Public Charters is an annual competitions among applicants.

The Broad Foundation also supports its Broad Residency in Urban Education and the Broad Superintendents Academy.

Each of these strategies is very much like the model used by Teach for America and The New Teacher Project.  These are part-time training programs that train college graduates in five weeks to be full-time teachers.

The Broad programs trains people to be principals and superintendents, who according to many writers, tend to be confrontative with teachers and their unions, and have no problem in closing schools, and then turning around and opening schools managed by charter companies.

The Broad Foundation funds in more than fifty organizations in four larger categories as listed below.  I’ve also included two funded projects or organizations representative of each grouping.

The corporate reform funded by Gates, Walton and Broad is a cobweb of organizations that has snared public schools by means of an accountability system that uses student achievement scores as the bottom line.  The web also includes organizations whose goal is to shape policy by writing and rewriting state laws that benefit vouchers, choice, charters, and teacher evaluation.

In the next post, we enhance the web by examining the machinations of the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Foundation for Excellence in Education.

If education in the United States is to be for the people, by the people, these three organizations are the antithesis of public education in a democratic society.  What do you think?

We Have Low Expectations for American Students in Math & Science!

Who the #@!% would make such a statement? Why would such a statement be made about America’s youth?

If you go the Broad Foundation Education page you will find the answer to the first question.  This is the first of four statements about American youth, followed by “stark” statistics.  The Broad Foundation says:

We have low expectations for American students.

Shame on them!

Image attributed to http://www.tagxedo.com

This is the foundation that has channeled over $400 million into education, primarily in charter schools, training of administrators, and online education.  It’s a very good time to be in the business of influencing and undermining public education these days, especially if you run a very well endowed foundation or corporation.

For years now, these same foundations and corporations are using statistics that misrepresent and pervert what is actually the case.  Data from tests, especially international test results are used by politicians, foundation heads, the media, and even the U.S. Department of Education to make proclamations about the status the country’s educational system.  Needless to say, American youth are beat over the head for not meeting someone else’s expectations.

TIMSS and PISA: The Super Bowls of Education

Two international assessments are: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Program for International Assessment (PISA).  Each of these international organizations test students in mathematics, reading and science.  PISA studies 15 year-olds, while TIMSS assesses students in grades 4 and 8.  TIMSS claims to assess students’ performance on the curriculum, whereas PISA claims to test student’s abilities to apply what they have learned to real-world problems.  But please keep in mind, these are low stakes bubble tests comprised of a pool of questions that in general are without a context.

Since about 65 countries participate in these assessments, there is the general feeling that the results are important, and provide us with a glimmer of the nature of science education in these various nations.  Some would agree, others would argue that the real issues facing any nation’s educational system are masked by looking at average scores, and simple rankings.  Still others report that the findings are inconsistent.  For example, a country might score low on TIMSS, yet higher on PISA.  Most researchers urge that we use caution when interpreting the results, and not rely of simple averages (now someone’s thinking) to make judgements about student performance.

That said, Dr. Svein Sjoberg, Professor of Science Education, University of Oslo, and Director of the ROSE project (The Relevance of Science Education), an international comparative research project that gathers information about attitudes of students toward science & technology, makes this point regarding PISA:

the main focus in the public reporting is in the form of simple ranking, often in the form of league tables for the participating countries. Here, the mean scores of the national samples in different countries are published. These league tables are nearly the only results that appear in the mass media. Although the PISA researchers take care to explain that many differences (say, between a mean national score of 567 and 572) are not statistically significant, the placement on the list gets most of the public attention. It is somewhat similar to sporting events: The winner takes it all. If you become no 8, no one asks how far you are from the winner, or how far you are from no 24 at any event. Moving up or down some places in this league table from PISA2000 to PISA2003 is awarded great importance in the public debate, although the differences may be non-significant statistically as well as educationally.

If a team doesn’t win the Super Bowl, is that team a failure?  What do you think?  What does the public think?

Are our schools failing?  Is is a fair claim to say we have low expectations for American students?  The answer is no!

Let’s take a look.

The Math and Science Conundrum

It is easy to to make a quick decision about what you think about math and science education when you read headlines in the newspaper that report that the sky is falling on our educational system, or that we are experiencing another Sputnik moment.  But the teaching and learning of mathematics or science, as seen by practicing teachers and collaborating researchers is much more complex (and interesting) than the questions that make up the tests that PISA or TIMSS uses to assess mathematics and science in more than 60 nations.

The conundrum is this.  The vision of science that each of these tests measures gives meaning to scientific literacy that looks inward at the canon of orthodox science—the concepts, processes and products of science.  Science is seen through the lens of the content of science.  But added to this the fact that we have a second vision of science.  This vision of science includes public understanding of science and science literacy about science-related situations.  In this vision we are more interested in the context of learning, asvwell as the meaning that students attach to science and mathematics, and how it relates to their world.  The lens we use here to view science is within the framework of socioscientific issues (SSI).

TIMSS, because it is tied to the current traditional curriculum, is likely measuring the outcomes of vision I.  PISA claims to be measuring students abilities to apply what they learned to real situations.  But science education researchers Troy Sadler and Dana Zeidler disagree with this, and suggest that the test items that have been released publicly seem quite removed from the intent of the SSI movement.

Given this analysis, we are quite safe to claim that these tests are measuring Vision I of science education, and do not provide a full picture of what actually is happening in many classrooms, schools and districts.  Science education is more than learning terms, and concepts.  It should include problem-solving and inquiry, and investigations into problems that are relevant to students lived experiences.

Standings

Where do we stand?

PISA and TIMSS are favorite sources of data for foundations and corporations, and especially the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to use to show how poorly American students are doing in mathematics and science.  The Program for International Student Assessment ( PISA) is a system of international assessments that tests 15-year-olds in reading, math and science in 65 countries every three years.  The latest results are available for 2009.  The next will be administered in 2012.

Using scores from tests such as PISA or TIMSS to evaluate and assess science education misleads the public into thinking that science learning has been assessed in the first place.  For instance, in the United States there are more than 15,000 independent school systems, and to use a mean score on a science test, such as PISA, or TIMSS does not describe the qualities or inequalities inherent in the U.S.A.’s schools.  Furthermore, as we showed above, there are at least two visions for teaching science, and these tests seem to assess Vision I, ignoring perhaps more relevant and interesting science learning  that is taking place in many science classrooms.   That said, let’s look at two interpretations of data from these international tests.

Interpretation 1.

For example, take a look at these statistics that you can find here on the Broad Foundation website, most of which were based on PISA results from past years.

  1. American students rank 25th in math and 21st in science compared to students in 30 industrialized countries.
  2. America’s top math students rank 25th out of 30 countries when compared with
    top students elsewhere in the world. [PISA Math Assessment, 2006)]
  3. By the end of 8th grade, U.S. students are two years behind in the math being studied by peers in other countries. [Schmidt, W., 2003 at a presentation]
  4. Sixty eight percent of 8th graders can’t read at their grade level, and most will
    never catch up.

The Broad Foundation paints a picture of American education as a broken system, with little hope for many students, especially those who the Broad Foundation claims can not read at their grade level.

Interpretation 2.

Let’s take a look at another way to examine these data.  I have gone to the ED site that presents PISA data, and downloaded Highlights from PISA 2009 in reading, math and science to provide another view of the results.  Here is another interpretation, point by point.

  1. In mathematics, the only country of similar size and demographics that scored higher than the U.S. was Canada.  Most of the other countries that did score significantly higher were small European or Asian (Korea, Japan) countries.  The U.S. score was above the average score of OECD countries. Although there were 12 countries that scored significantly higher, there were only three that are similar to the U.S. in size and demographics.  We are not ranked 25th in math and 21st in science.   (source: PISA Data 2009)
  2. America’s top students’  performance place near the top of all students tested by PISA.  For example Dr. Gerold Tirozzi, Executive Director of the National Association of Secondary Schools, analyzed the PISA data from the lens of poverty, as measured by the percentage of students receiving government free or reduced lunches.  For example, Tirozzi found that in schools where less than 10% of the students get a free lunch, the reading score would place them number 2 in the ranking of countries.  This is very far from being 25th as reported by the Broad Foundation.
  3. Are we two years behind in the content of  math that is being studied by 8th graders?  There is no data that would support such a claim in the form of statistical analysis.  Curriculum differences have great variance from one country to another.  As in other countries, curriculum is implemented in American schools based now on the Common Core State Standards in mathematics, and the high-stakes tests that used in each state.
  4. It is not true that 68% of 8th graders can’t read at their grade level.  In the 2009 NAEP reading achievement-level results, 76% of American 8th graders were above  the basic level of performance.  The graph below shows 8th grade reading results, 1969 – 2011.  Yes, we have work to do, but the claim that 68% of 8th graders can not read is not justified.
NAEP Eighth-Grade Reading Achievement Results 1969 - 2011

 

 Trends in Performance

Here is the truth.

I have provided  graphs showing trends in science, mathematics and reading for American students as measured by National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).  You will find that the trends reported by NAEP do not support the Broad Foundation’s opinions of American youth.

Science. U.S. students have significantly improved on the PISA test from 2006 to 2009, as shown in the graph below.  This trend is a positive sign, and disputes the claim that expectations for American students is low.  One of the ways in which data is perverted is to claim that American education, including science education is broken, and that the cause probably has to do with poor performance of “bad” teachers.  It is an unsubstantiated claim.

Average scores of 15-year olds in the U.S. and OECD countries in scienceSource: Fleischman, H.L., Hopstock, P.J., Pelczar, M.P., and Shelley, B.E. (2010). Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-YearOld Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context (NCES 2011-004). U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

 

Student performance is affected by a number of factors including gender, race/ethnicity, type of school, family income level.  The figure below shows Grade 4 results on the 2009 NAEP science assessment.  The graph shows relationship between family income (as measured by eligibility for reduced-price or free lunch).  Note that students of families with lower incomes perform lower than students from families with higher incomes.  This is an important factor when we interpret test scores, as Dr. Gerold Tirozzi found when he analyzed the PISA data from the lens of poverty.

Grade 4 Science Results, NAEP 2009 by Family Income. Click on the figure to explore this data in more detail.

Mathematics.  According to NAEP results, mathematics scores for 9- and 13-year olds were higher in 2008 when compared to previous years.  There was no significant change in the White – Black or White – Hispanic score gaps compared to 2004.  However, since 1973, Black and Hispanic students have made greater gains than White students.

Trend in Mathematics scores for 9- and 13-year olds 1973 – 2008.                                                                                                                                                    SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), various years, 1973–2008 Long-Term Trend Mathematics Assessments.


Reading. Overall, the national trend in reading showed improvement from 2004 to 2008 for students at three ages (9, 13, and 17). The average reading score for White, Black and Hispanic students was higher than in previous assessments.

Trend in fourth- and eighth-grade NAEP reading scores 1992 - 2011

Have you visited any of the educators in your community that teach science? Have you heard about any of the projects that they doing with their students? What do you think about the Broad Foundation’s crummy assessment of  American students’ performance in math and science and that we should have low expectations.  

What are they thinking?

Billions and Billions, and I am not talking about stars!

I am talking about dollars, and how billionaires are influencing (science) education policy from the K-12 level to the U.S. Department of Education, and this is being done in an environment where the billionaires are demanding accountability from the recipients of its money, but do so without having to be held to any standards or accountability themselves.

In her book, The Death and Life of the Great American School System, Diane Ravitch explores how testing and choice are undermining education.  As Ravitch points out, there are many philanthropic organizations such as the Carnegie, Ford and Rockefeller, which have used a Request for Proposal (RFP) strategy in which they reviewed proposals, and then funded proposals that met various project goals.

In her book she identifies three new and very different foundations that decided what they wanted to accomplish, how they wanted to accomplish it, and who would be the recipients of their money—billions of dollars.  The three foundations she identified are The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Walton Family Foundation, and The Broad Foundation.  If you go to their websites, you will see a vast array of “investments” that each of these foundations has and is making in education policy and practice.  So, what is the problem here?

For these foundations, their investments in education should produce measurable results.  As Ravitch points out, these organizations might have begun their education work with various goals in mind, but she suggests that they have most recently supported educational reform strategies that mirror their own experience in acquiring large fortunes.  These include competition, choice, deregulation, incentives, and other market-based approaches.

The foundations have huge sums of money available to implement reform based on these strategies, and it is very difficult of school districts to turn their backs on such generosity.  These foundations exert enormous influence on public education, and indeed, can shape public policy toward education.  Ravitch puts it this way:

They have taken it upon themselves to reform public education, perhaps in ways that would never survive the scrutiny of voters in any district or state.  If voters don’t like the foundations’ reform agenda, they can’t vote them out of office.  The foundations demand that public schools and teachers be held accountable for performance, but they themselves are accountable to no one.  If their plans fail, no sanctions are levied against them.  They are the bastions of unaccountable power.

The billions and billions of dollars that these foundations have decided to invest in education have not been reviewed or assessed by academics.  Ravitch points out that not one book has been published which questions their strategies, and there appears to be few if any published papers or articles written by university faculty, perhaps because of fear alienating the foundations resulting in not having their projects funded.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Education received 100 billion dollars as part of Economic and Recovery Act to invest in K-12 education.  Four and half billion dollars have been allocated to The Race to the Top Fund in which states compete for the money.  Two states have received nearly 500 million of this money; other states will submit their proposals by June 1 for the second round of funding.  Unfortunately the Race to the Top Fund guidelines that the states must follow have been heavily influenced by the Billionaire Foundation of Gates, Walton and Broad.  Indeed, Bill Gates is an advisor to the Secretary of Education.

There is a fundamental problem here.  I will explore this more in the days ahead.  For now, I am going to watch a 60 minute segment on earthquakes.