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Big Brother plugging into teachers' ears, thanks to Gates Foundation... The Gates Foundation Gives and Earful

BZZZZZ. Big Brother calling: Bill and Melinda Gates want to put coaching earbud headphones on teachers across the country. The Gates Foundation gives Memphis schools barrels full of money. And look at what happens next. They call it tailoring professional development.

A Feb. 22, 2011 article in the Memphis Commercial Appeal (http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/feb/22/lend-me-your) , "Memphis City Schools teachers get an earbud-ful of class coaching," describes this Gates Foundation's latest attempt to standardize teaching in Memphis, Tampa, and New York.

If you can't get to the hotlink above, here is the URL: (http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2011/feb/22/lend-me-your)

And guess who sees "lots of promise" in coaching teachers through earbuds — while they're teaching? Teach for America. In their words, "We want to know, does it speed up the timeline in which a teacher develops?"What kind of a timeline are we talking here? After all, most TFA people move on to more lucrative environments after two years.

Get this: The Gates plan is to deliver this coaching model to the world. From the coach's mouth to teachers' ears. From Memphis, coaches will deliver instructions to teachers worldwide, helping them understand what it feels like to be successful.

Question: Can a teacher listen to the coach and to the students in her care at the same time?

Item: Lauren Braun Costello and Russell Reich offer important information in Notes on Cooking: Twenty-four cooks assigned to the same mayonnaise recipe — the same bowls, same spoons, same eggs. same mustard, same oil, same whisks, same peppermills, same measuring cups, same room, same time of day, same marching orders — will create twenty-four different mayonnaises.

If a master chef, someone who had written a 200-page book detailing the four domains of mayonnaise-making responsibility and spelled out the 22 components of those domains, including the 76 descriptive elements that further refine our understanding of what mayonnaise making is all about, and then coached those 24 cooks — through earbuds — would they still create 24 different mayonnaises? Or would the chef be able to whip them into producing a standardized product?

Item:The NCTE 2011 Education Policy Platform (http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/2011edpolicyplatform) is so busy supporting the LEARN act, with its allegiance to prescriptive "skills" training that it doesn't have time to address Gates' taking over teacher professional development. Maybe if NCTE officials ever get their heads out of the Congressional sandbox (they call it "having a seat at the table"), they'll address the issue of Gates takeover of education practice and policy.

You can read the NCTE stuff at the following URL if you can't access the link above:

http://www.ncte.org/positions/statements/2011edpolicyplatform

Let's hope many NCTE members and others are getting ready for next November's NCTE convention. It's in a union-inspired town — Chicago — and Chicago teachers are preparing to give NCTE's leaders a piece of their minds.



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