Jeff Bezos Reports on Bill Gates’ Common Core: When Billionaire Media Covers Billionaires

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Executive Summary

  • Billionaires increasingly own media entities.
  • Here is what happens when billionaire’s media entities cover billionaires.

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This article covers the reality of Bill Gates influence on common core.

When Will People Get Wise to Billionaires?

This question was asked on LinkedIn.

The answer is probably not while the establishment media continues to promote them.

Major media is for the billionaires. Just imagine for a second they were able to convincingly present Bill Gates as both a philanthropist and an expert who should be considered more prominent that infectious disease specialists. Elon Musk, who has two undergraduate degrees, is presented as a world expert in at least five fields. For the media, being a billionaire converts one into an instant polymath.

Hence we should listen to Kanye on particle physics. Why? He is worth $1.3 billion.

Bill Gate’s Bombs on Common Core

The article How Bill Gates Lied and Introduced the Defunct Common Core to Falsify a Skills Shortage provides an analysis of what Bill Gates did to push the common core concept in US education.

The fact that he knows nothing about the topic does not stop him from pushing his ideas. And the Washington Post thought it was just marvelous.

However, notice this coverage in the quotations below.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #1: Education Advocates, That Received Support from Bill Gates Provided Evidence of the Effectiveness of Common Core?

The pair of education advocates had a big idea, a new approach to transform every public-school classroom in America. By early 2008, many of the nation’s top politicians and education leaders had lined up in support.

But that wasn’t enough. The duo needed money — tens of millions of dollars, at least — and they needed a champion who could overcome the politics that had thwarted every previous attempt to institute national standards.

So they turned to the richest man in the world. – Washington Post

Who are these “education advocates?” They are named in the article, but what is their background?

I ask because those typically pushing Common Core usually have not been educators, but wealthy corrupt entities like Betsy Devos, who promote charter schools. Are these advocates qualified and without commercial bias? The Washington Post decided it was not significant.

It is not sufficient to be an “education advocate,” it requires domain expertise and an absence of corruption.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #2: The fact that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Convinced State Governments to Make Costly Changes Was a Good Thing?

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation didn’t just bankroll the development of what became known as the Common Core State Standards.

With more than $200 million, the foundation also built political support across the country, persuading state governments to make systemic and costly changes. – Washington Post

It appears the Washington Post skipped over the most important topic, which is, did the Common Core approach have any evidence that it worked? Now, in retrospect, it is clear that non only does Common Core have no proof of its efficacy, it consumes funding and time that reduces improvement in schools.

It should be noted that highly successful nations in primary and secondary school – with high degrees of diversity, like Finland, do the exact opposite of the Common Core, as we cover in the article The US Continues to Ignore World Leading Finland Educational System.

Common Core directly conflicts with Finland’s highly successful system, because it imposes unproven rules on teachers, turning them into cogs, and drastically reducing teacher satisfaction. This has the consequence of driving teachers out of the field. This is explained in part in the following quotation from a comment on the Washington Post article.

Common Core in English is garbage. CC is the fourth set of standards I’ve taught under in 14 years. I knew it would go away, but I was surprised at how fast.

Let teacher’s decide if their student’s know enough to pass. The further away decisions are made about the classroom, the worse the decisions are. Politics mixed with public education is a fiasco.

Observe how this simple quotation, which asks how teachers fell about Common Core, is entirely absent from this article. What this illustrates is that the author gives far more credence to what Bill Gates thinks about Common Core (Bill Gates has never taught a single student) over what teachers think of Common Core.

The end of this article shows other comments that illustrate the impracticality of Common Core.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #3: The Fact that Gates Foundation Got to Run Roughshod Over US Taxpayers is A Good Thing?

The Gates Foundation spread money across the political spectrum, to entities including the big teachers unions, the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association, and business organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — groups that have clashed in the past but became vocal backers of the standards.

Money flowed to policy groups on the right and left, funding research by scholars of varying political persuasions who promoted the idea of common standards. Liberals at the Center for American Progress and conservatives affiliated with the American Legislative Exchange Council who routinely disagree on nearly every issue accepted Gates money and found common ground on the Common Core. – Washington Post

The Washington Post appears to miss the implication.

That is, did these groups rally around Common Core because they agreed with Common Core — or because they were bought off and became addicted to money from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?

Is this how public policy is to be determined?

That is billionaires with no knowledge on topics, no history of working in the area — who can buy off educational entities? Furthermore, much of the changes dictated by Common Core would eventually be paid for by US taxpayer dollars — however, US taxpayers did not have a say in moving to Common Core. And the education domain experts were pushed to the side by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This means BMGF got to decide where US tax dollars would be spent.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #4: Research Colored by Gates Foundation Grants Are Objective? 

One 2009 study, conducted by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute with a $959,116 Gates grant, described the proposed standards as being “very, very strong” and “clearly superior” to many existing state standards. – Washington Post

What would have happened to the money train of the Thomas B Fordham Institute if the results of the study had been negative? Does that not put the results of the study in to question?

Secondly, in reviewing the Thomas B Fordham website, it looks very doubtful that this entity is respected or any type of thought leader in education. They have barely any content on education, and their website looks like a placeholder site.

Did the Washington Post spend any time trying to determine the legitimacy of the Thomas B Fordham Institute?

For example, what other research have they done — are they legitimate, do they follow any research rules?

The Washington Post’s Assertion #5: Corruption Works?  

Gates money went to state and local groups, as well, to help influence policymakers and civic leaders. And the idea found a major booster in President Obama, whose new administration was populated by former Gates Foundation staffers and associates. The administration designed a special contest using economic stimulus funds to reward states that accepted the standards.

The result was astounding: Within just two years of the 2008 Seattle meeting, 45 states and the District of Columbia had fully adopted the Common Core State Standards. – The Washington Post

Yes, if you put enough coins in enough pockets, you can get your way. This is called corruption, and this has been known for a while. And again, the focus of the article is nearly entirely how the Gates Foundation rammed through Common Core — and virtually nothing on whether Common Core was a good idea or works.

Notice the following quotation.

The math standards require students to learn multiple ways to solve problems and explain how they got their answers, while the English standards emphasize nonfiction and expect students to use evidence to back up oral and written arguments. – The Washington Post

That simply describes how Common Core works — it does not describe its effectiveness.

In fact, it is not at all clear the author of this article even knows anything in detail about Common Core. This article could be written exactly the same if the Gates Foundation had decided to promote the purchases of Teslas. It would have led to more purchases of Teslas — but would not have anything to do with whether motivating these purchases was a good thing, of if Teslas are more environmental than ICE automobiles.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #6: Driving Out Other Methods of Teaching is a Good Thing? 

The standards have become so pervasive that they also quickly spread through private Catholic schools. About 100 of 176 Catholic dioceses have adopted the standards because it is increasingly difficult to buy classroom materials and send teachers to professional development programs that are not influenced by the Common Core, Catholic educators said. – The Washington Post

What if Common Core is ineffective, is this a good thing? There is no disputing whether the promotion of Common Core was effective — it was. The question is why a billionaire was able to push Common Core so effectively, without any evidence provided that Common Core was more effective than what it replaced or, most importantly, other methods that could have been adopted.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #7: Driving Out Other Methods of Teaching is a Good Thing? 

Since then, anti-Common Core sentiment has intensified, to the extent that it has become a litmus test in the Republican Party ahead of the GOP’s 2016 presidential nomination process.

Former Florida governor Jeb Bush, whose nonprofit Foundation for Excellence in Education has received about $5.2 million from the Gates Foundation since 2010, is one of the Common Core’s most vocal supporters. Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who, like Bush, is a potential Republican presidential candidate, led a repeal of the standards in his state. – The Washington Post

A few things come to mind.

Why did the anti-common core sentiment intensify? The Washington Post does not say.

Why would anyone want Jeb Bush to be influencing education policy? So now Gates, who knows nothing about education — is sending money to Jeb Bush, who also knows nothing about education to influence education policy?

Does that sound like a good model?

And again, why is Jeb Bush a vocal supporter of Common Core? Is it related to the $5.2 million from the Gates Foundation? How much of that contribution ended up in Jeb Bush’s pocket? Recall that Jeb Bush was instrumental in getting George W Bush elected even though George W Bush lost the vote to Al Gore in the 2000 election. Is this a person we want to be involved in policy decisions?

Observe this quotation from Vox on Common Core.

Opponents of the Common Core are a pretty varied group, as are supporters. There are some Republicans and right-leaning groups who support the Common Core (the Fordham Institute, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush among them) and others who oppose it, particularly from the Tea Party. – Vox

But wait.

Neither the Fordham Institute (which appears to be fake), the US Chamber of Commerce, nor Jeb Bush are respected experts in education. The role of the US Chamber of Commerce is to try to roll back regulations, fight against the minimum wage, and promote business interests over the rest of society. They are entirely corrupt and are not an organization that people listen to on much of any topic, much less education — which is altogether out of the domain expertise. One might as well ask the National Basketball Association what they think of Common Core as they have an equal degree of domain expertise in education as the US Chamber of Commerce.

Notice the next quotation from the Post.

Some liberals are angry, too, with a few teacher groups questioning Gates’s influence and motives. Critics say Microsoft stands to benefit from the Common Core’s embrace of technology and data — a charge Gates vehemently rejects.

A group calling itself the “Badass Teachers Association,” citing opposition to what it considers market-based education reform, plans a June 26 protest outside the Gates Foundation’s headquarters in Seattle. – The Washington Post

Why did they oppose Common Core? The Washington Post does not say.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #8: There Are Experienced Education Specialists Who Question The Validity of Common Core

Finally, around 3/4ths of the way into the article, we get the first reference to whether Common Core is effective.

Tom Loveless, a former Harvard professor who is an education policy expert at the Brookings Institution, said the Common Core was “built on a shaky theory.” He said he has found no correlation between quality standards and higher student achievement.

“Everyone who developed standards in the past has had a theory that standards will raise achievement, and that’s not happened,” Loveless said.

Jay P. Greene, head of the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, says the Gates Foundation’s overall dominance in education policy has subtly muffled dissent.

“Really rich guys can come up with ideas that they think are great, but there is a danger that everyone will tell them they’re great, even if they’re not,” Greene said. – The Washington Post

Hmmmm…amazing. More of this should be investigated by the Washington Post, but instead, notice that the author moves on quickly from this debate.

The first victory for Common Core advocates came on a snowy evening in Kentucky in February 2010, when the state’s top education officials voted unanimously to accept the standards.

“There was no dissent,” said Terry Holliday, Kentucky’s education commissioner. “We had punch and cookies to celebrate.” – The Washington Post

Notice that it is not a victory for Common Core in terms of evidence for Common Core; it is evidence for how Common Core was being accepted.

Armed with $476,553 from Gates, the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s foundation produced a seven-minute video about the value and impact of the Common Core, a tool kit to guide employers in how to talk about its benefits with their employees, a list of key facts that could be stuffed into paycheck envelopes, and other promotional materials written by consultants.

“They have so much money to throw around, they can impact the Kentucky Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Education, they can impact both the AFT and the NEA,” said Brent McKim, president of the teachers union in Jefferson County, Ky., whose early complaint that the standards were too numerous to be taught well earned him a rebuke by Holliday. – The Washington Post

Once again, money helps get things through, but this is not evidence of the effectiveness of Common Core.

Let us remember how Bill Gates made all of this money. He bought the program DOS, which he licensed to IBM. He then acted as a rapaciously unethical businessman and cheated and violated antitrust law. He repeatedly lied to the Federal government in the most absurd ways and created a software monopoly. So most of Bill Gates’ fortune was made by damaging others and by providing poor quality software to the general public. Bill Gates was also instrumental in undermining open-source, raising the costs of computing to the world.

And this is the person the US should allow to influence public policy?

The Washington Post’s Assertion #9: Passing Education Legislation with Little Oversight is a Good Thing? 

“You had dozens of states adopting before the standards even existed, with little or no discussion, coverage or controversy,” said Frederick Hess of the American Enterprise Institute, which has received $4 million from the Gates Foundation since 2007 to study education policy, including the Common Core.

“People weren’t paying attention. We were in the middle of an economic meltdown and the health-care fight, and states saw a chance to have a crack at a couple of million bucks if they made some promises.”

“Usually, there’s a pilot test — something is tried on a small scale, outside researchers see if it works, and then it’s promoted on a broader scale,” Reckhow said. “That didn’t happen with the Common Core. Instead, they aligned the research with the advocacy. . . . At the end of the day, it’s going to be the states and local districts that pay for this.”  – The Washington Post

The Gates Foundation and others did not worry about testing or providing evidence for Common Core. They were simply highlighting the shortcomings of the current US educational system and then asserted that Common Core would fix these issues.

The Washington Post’s Assertion #10: Claims by Billionaires About Not Being Motivated by Self Interest Are to be Considered? 

Gates is devoting some of his fortune to correct that. Since 1999, the Gates Foundation has spent approximately $3.4 billion on an array of measures to try to improve K-12 public education, with mixed results.

Gates has said that one of the benefits of common standards would be to open the classroom to digital learning, making it easier for software developers — including Microsoft — to develop new products for the country’s 15,000 school districts.

In February, Microsoft announced that it was joining Pearson, the world’s largest educational publisher, to load Pearson’s Common Core classroom materials on Microsoft’s tablet, the Surface. That product allows Microsoft to compete for school district spending with Apple, whose iPad is the dominant tablet in classrooms.

Gates dismissed any suggestion that he is motivated by self-interest. – The Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Assertion #11: Claims by Billionaires About Not Being Motivated by Self Interest Are to be Considered? 

A look back on Bill Gates’ career shows nothing by self-interest. His foundation a combination tax dodge and way of controlling things like Common Core that eventually come back and benefit him personally. The only reason this is not known is that his foundation has received such flowery coverage by the establishment media entities.

This video explains how billionaire philanthropic entities work.

Also, what are the mixed results? If we do not know Bill Gates’s history of success in improving education, how can we know his likelihood of being correct on the next initiative?

The Washington Post’s Assertion #12: Bill Gates Does Not Like to be Challenged

Now six years into his quest, Gates finds himself in an uncomfortable place — countering critics on the left and right who question whether the Common Core will have any impact or negative effects, whether it represents government intrusion, and whether the new policy will benefit technology firms such as Microsoft.

Gates is disdainful of the rhetoric from opponents. He sees himself as a technocrat trying to foster solutions to a profound social problem — gaping inequalities in U.S. public education — by investing in promising new ideas. – The Washington Post

Bill Gates had enormous hubris, but he does not do very much research before coming to conclusions. Its unclear why criticism from opponents is labeled as “rhetoric.” When Bill Gates proposes something, is that rhetoric or is it only those that oppose Bill Gates that use rhetoric.

As for the last part of the quote — there was never evidence presented that Common Core was promising. And Bill Gates paid $1 million to get a fake educational entity called the Fordham Institute to say it was effective. Still, there is no legitimate body of literature that exists to provide evidence to this effect. Bill Gates could have funded established entities to research it before going public (therefore before he had an incentive to rig the results), but Bill Gates did not do this. Therefore he brought an unproven method to US education and rammed it through with his financial muscle.

It is well known that Bill Gates does not like to be challenged, and he will often attempt or be successful in ruining people who oppose him. And being worth over $100 billion tends to reduce any collaborative ideas that a person once had (if Bill Gates ever had them). Bill Gates considers himself an expert on numerous topics he has no background in (now he is apparently the world’s preeminent pandemic epidemiologist as media entities prefer booking him on shows over those who are, in fact, pandemic epidemiologists.) Bill Gates is like a child who wants to be a fireman, then a marine biologist, then a fighter pilot. Bill Gates knows more than anyone in the world on all topics… his mind.

The Natural Problem With Billionaires Reporting on Other Billionaires

When you have one billionaire’s rigged publication (The Washington Post) writing an article on another billionaire, the coverage will be effusive. (Their Cocker Spaniels are also BFFs) and play together on Martha’s Vinyard.

Marc Benioff owns Time Magazine — which is of great interest to someone who made their money in CRM for some reason. Certainly Benioff..

Time will write positive things about Bezos, who will then return the favor. It is really fantastic. Its nothing like that old terrible media system from the Soviet Union where they lied about grain harvests. No, no, it is all very Western and evolved. The Federal Communication Commissions’ new motto is “the more media concentration, the better.”


When a billionaire’s media covers another billionaire, the coverage is going to be effusive (unless that billionaire is a competitor or rival of the billionaire — such as the feud between Trump and Bezos, then, in that case, the coverage is relentlessly and unreasonably negative). This highlights the problem with media concentration. Notice the implication of the article — that when a billionaire decides to support something, they should be listened to. That is, billionaires should be deciding public policy — in part because they can “unify” disparate voices — and the way they achieve this unification? With bribery. As soon as The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation begins to drop enough coins in people’s pockets, they get their way. The Washington Post presents this is a good thing.

Comments on Common Core

These were interesting comments from the Washington Post article.

Comment #1

I work in the inner city and I watched the Common Core phased in over the last 2-3 years. The principals sold it, the teachers accepted it and tried their best to implement it (under hostile threat), but nothing improved. In fact, test scores sunk.

The reason it it failing in the inner city is because most of our kids need immediate support for the basics they were supposed to learn years before. Saying the solution is more rigor and intensity is like thinking the elevator will come quicker if we press the button more.

Because our schools are increasingly cherrypicked by charters, we have more and more kids so far behind grade level they have stopped caring, waiting to turn 16 so they can sign out.

Comment #2

Common Core is doing three things very well:
1. Enriching to companies that make the tests, textbooks, software, etc. that support the standards to the tune of many, many millions
2. Enriching the consultants and “experts” who evangalize the Common Core, most of which have no or minimal actual classroom experience
3. Devolving classroom instruction to “drill and kill”
4. Driving away teachers from the profession in droves

My wife is a teacher with over 20 years of experience and is currently getting her PhD. All of her teacher collegues HATE this program.