Dear Bill and Melinda,
Katie and I would like to extend an invitation to both of you to join us at the Gates Foundation in a movement started by teachers and hosted by the Washington Badass Teachers Association on June 26th in Seattle. This is an important event in your lives, one that will be part of your legacy. Of course it will also be important for you to be there in person to receive our published Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates in a free printed copy of all of the heart-felt letters teachers have written to you over the first year of our blog to you.
Our blog anniversary date is coming up on June 9th. That day, one year ago, we invited you and Melinda to join us in a dialogue. The day before, Linda Shaw of the Seattle Times wrote this piece: “Gates Foundation looking to make nice with teachers“.
“Five years into the second phase of its mission to overhaul America’s public schools, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is moving to work more closely with teachers, generating interest but also wariness because of past hostilities.”
Irvin made that day: “We’re trying to start a movement,” Scott told the teachers in Scottsdale. “A movement started by you. A movement you’re leading.” The reforms your foundation has sponsored have indeed started a movement, but perhaps not the one you intended. There are scores of organizations working to support public schools, to oppose high stakes tests and the Common Core. Even Louis CK has joined in the fight!
So I guess we can say you (via Irvin Scott) were right! You started a movement and we are leading! With the spirit of that movement, we’d like to celebrate our one year anniversary by inviting teachers from around the world to join us by writing to you and Melinda using weekly topics. These topics will be included in our published letters and hand delivered to you, should you attend this important event. We find the title of the rally fitting: Educating the Gates Foundation Rally, as that is exactly what Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates movement has been trying to do for the past year.
This rally is an opportunity for all of us to tell you how we feel about the levers you pull. It is also an opportunity for the two of you, and one that we don’t want you to pass up – an opportunity to get educated by the community impacted by your controls.
Anthony Cody, wrote recently about 3 main areas where your influence over corporate reform experiments are failing:
- Teacher pay and evaluation systems that must give significant weight to test scores and VAM formulas.
- Unlimited expansion and deregulation of charter schools.
- Creation of Common Core standards and aligned tests and curriculum.
Over the next seven weeks, we will be collecting additional letters related to these issues, which we will share with you on June 26 in Seattle. Readers, look for our next blog to be addressed to you with a list of our weekly topic questions. You can see some of the issues WA BATS take with the Gates Foundation sponsored corporate education reform and their solutions to replace them here:
Perhaps, you too, could learn from all of us. We hope you will be there to receive our letters, Bill and Melinda. They may be one of the most important reading you add to your “summer reading list” this year. Katie and I, on behalf of all those who have written to you at Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates, formally endorse the Educating the Gates Foundation Rally. We hope to see you there.
Susan and Katie, Co-Authors of Teachers’ Letters to Bill Gates