bill gates, charitable-industrial complex, David Welch, high tech philanthropy, libertarianism, philanthrocapitalism, philanthropic colonialism, privatization, proposition 38, public education, school privatization, school vouchers, Six Californias, Tim Draper
What is it with high tech entrepreneurs and the hubris of their bastardized version of noblesse oblige?
First came Bill Gates with his “philanthrocapitalism” and in particular his focus on education philanthropy. The effort to overlay pedagogy with business practice has been problematic, to say the least, from his aborted small schools project to the current crusade for the common core.
This brand of libertarianism that insists corporations are entitled to eclipse the public sector while self-righteously claiming disinterest in politics, is hardly unique.
Think, for example, of David Welch and his privately bankrolled assault on public education teachers. His skirmish neatly dovetails with a long list of other such offensives led by one curiously removed “ideologue” after another. Consider, then, as an archetype the non-educator, non-public school parent Bill Gates’ “non-political” assault on teachers, their competency that his empire conveniently wishes to measure, and the propensity for poor children to disproportionately receive the short end of the “good-teacher” stick.
These investors cry “foul” all the way to the bank, expressing authentic concern for the welfare of the needy through solutions that coincidentally enrich them materially; often denying the constitutional handicap of their circumstances.
The latest folderol foisted by the overly-rich on the rest of us (cf that 2000 state proposition mentioned above) is this scheme of Tim Draper’s to isolate the richest zip codes in America from the rest of the state to which they owe fealty.
It’s the same privatizing capitalists foisting self-serving schemes upon the rest of us, cloaked in altruistic-sounding capsules. Why doesn’t this ever stop? Why do the rest of us fail to notice these emperor’s clothes are visible only to themselves?
Depriving our school children of well-funded, functional, diverse schools led by well-trained, dedicated pedagogues is not a boon to anyone but those who would institute a paradigm of teacher-less, computer-driven vocational training. This is the vision foisted by a small clique of über-rich who would hug all their wealth to themselves and establish a vortex to map ever more of it into their jerrymandered partition.
On the face of it, Draper’s Six Californias is a foolish conceit doomed simply to highlight the folly of isolationism, fated for a pricey demise. As a balIot measure its complex absurdity furnishes yet more justification for my own personal “executive decision” to refrain from signing any ballot petitions on the grounds that they are all, essentially, Orwellian. But as one of a set of coordinated — or even just coincidental — feints focused squarely on extracting as much as possible from Education and/or the public sector, it is yet another initiative to keep a wary eye on, the collective lot not to lose sight of.
It is exhausting to face one sortie after another led by business entrepreneurs keen on legislating politically from behind the scenes. Their private and privatizing politics is not tendered in the interest of the public.