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Bill Gates and the Battle for Atlanta School Reform

theodp (442580) writes | about a year ago

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theodp (442580) writes "In a 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) press release, Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Superintendent Beverly Hall, announced plans to use a new $10 million grant to monitor teacher effectiveness and develop performance-based pay, building upon earlier school reform efforts that were made possible by a $13.6 million BMGF grant. This week, however, Superintendent Hall found herself posing for a mug shot and looking at up to 45 years in prison (her suggested $7.5M bail was reduced to $200K). Hall and 34 other Atlanta educators had to surrender to authorities Tuesday, faced with charges of racketeering, theft by taking, influencing witnesses and making false statements in conjunction with America's biggest teacher and principal cheating scandal, in which APS teachers and principals allegedly cheated to raise student scores on high-stakes standardized tests. So, is Gates about ready to throw in the towel on education reform in Georgia? Hardly. In 2012 the Gates Foundation cut a $250K check to the Georgia Charter Schools Association, and in 2013 anteed up $16,783,334 in seed money to form Atlanta-based inBloom, Inc. (formerly known as the Shared Learning Collaborative, which received an $87,333,334 BMGF grant in 2011). inBloom is working with Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation to reportedly compile a nationwide database of student information, including names, attendance records, disciplinary histories, addresses, test scores and learning disabilities. Wireless Generation, in turn, is part of Murdoch's Amplify Education, which launched an education tablet (made by Asus) at SXSW that's undergoing pilot testing in a middle school just outside of Atlanta in Georgia's largest charter school district. Time will tell if it's more successful than Murdoch's last tablet pilot, The Daily, News Corporation's iPad-only newspaper which went belly-up after less than two years."

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