Three Little Questions:

To Parents: This is the massive data collection system funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will put your children’s data up for auction. Why hasn’t your PTA told you about any of this?

To Teachers: This is the massive data system funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that will put your students’ data up to the highest bidder and eat you alive. Why hasn’t your union told you about any of this?

To Media: Why don’t you ever question anything the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation does?


We now may be seeing the real purpose of the Common Core. It’s all about data mining and selling, not curriculum.

It’s all about the technology.  Shared Learning Collaborative, one more Gates venture, announces that the technology being developed  will support the implementation of the Common Core State Standards and help states and districts provide teachers with the instructional data and tools they need to make personalized learning the norm in every classroom.

Notice  that ‘personalized learning” has a very Gatesian definition.

Item: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant

To: The Association of Educational Publishers
Date: March 2012
Purpose: to support acceptance and implementation of the Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) framework among educational publishers, inform the adoption process, and encourage ongoing support of LRMI among educational content creators
Amount: $458,055

Item: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation grant
To: Beneficent Technology Inc.
Date: October 2012
Purpose: to develop an accessibility metadata specification and support adoption by in coordination with LRMI
Amount: $250,000

Led by the Association of Educational Publishers and Creative Commons, and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the LRMI has developed a common metadata framework for describing or “tagging” learning resources on the web. This framework is a key first step in developing a richer, more fruitful search experience for educators and learners. Once a cricital[sic] mass of educational content has been tagged to a universal framework, it becomes much easier to parse and filter that content, opening up tremendous possibilities for search and delivery.

“Search and delivery” has an ominous ring to it. Those of us old enough to remember Vietnam remember “search and destroy.”  Put ground forces into enemy territory and use body count as the measure of success.  Now the body count is to tag everything in accordance with Common Core Standards.

Learning Resource Metadata Initiative (LRMI) Launch Partners/Advisory Group

  • BetterLesson

    Item: Sept. 28, 2011 Better Lesson Grabs $1.6 million. Series A round of venture funding came from a host of venture firms, including Highland Capital Partners, General Catalyst, New Markets Ventures, and NewSchools Venture Fund.

    Item: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant
    BetterLesson, Inc.
    Date: October 2012
    Purpose: to support the development of courses, aligned to the Common Core State Standards, for the purposes of helping teacher’s transition to common core and increasing the students’ ability to master the content
    Amount: $3,527,240

  • Curriki, an online, free, open education service.
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME)

    Item: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grants since 2009: $1,030,000
    Date: October 2010
    Purpose: to plan a community of practice and knowledge management system to connect our grantees to us, one another, and resources that are critical to the strategy
    Amount: $650,000

  • McGraw-Hill Education
  • Monterey Institute for Technology in Education (MITE)

    Item: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grants
    2012: $4,822,265
    2009: $4,988,835
    2009: $509,444

  • Pearson
  • Scholastic Inc.

More Parent Involvement Than You Can Handle

In February 2012, Seventh type: more parent involvement than you can handle   made a trenchant observation:  the vendors and consultants who built the new school data systems in Texas and Delaware have gotten together and are now going to give that system away for free, and make a tremendous amount of money doing it.

They remind us:  There’s $500 billion on the table.

Seventh Type explains:

[J]ust having the [free] source code and standards for the technology won’t get you too far. The real work (and the real money) is in the process of making sure the system can connect to all the state’s various data sources, and is customized to meet the particular requirements of each state, a process known as integration. This part will not be done for free. On top of that, the deployment of the SLC system will generate consulting fees, training, ongoing customization, add-on features, and other needs known as professional services. Wireless Generation’s  data-coaching contract with Delaware is just a small example.

Integration and professional services are that $500 billion market Rupert Murdoch was talking about. . . . Fox News partners with free access to your children’s data, which will be used to determine who their teachers are.

Seventh Type explains further: In this case, the open source model is far more lucrative than selling the software outright. When you design a proprietary (closed source) system, the minute you are finished it starts getting stale. Then you can be certain some other vendor is working on a newer better system. But the SLC system was built with a minimum of capital investment on the part of the vendors, who built it with a combination of foundation money and public funds via Texas and Delaware. So any vendor who wishes to build a competing system with their own capital will quickly encounter a truism in technology: “You can’t compete with free.”

So by developing and asserting control over the system and its specifications, SLC is now in possession of an enormous money-making machine. Vendor members of the Shared Learning Collaborative are already ahead of the curve to win the wave of contracts coming from state after state. This is the point of the Shared Learning Collaborative, and it is how its partners will lock in and capture as much of that $500 billion as they possibly can.

Seventh Type also reminds us about McKinsey & Company:  In education reform, McKinsey & Company appears to be a kind of Skull and Bones club, with the McKinsey firm involved directly, or with former McKinsey employees in key roles. The McKinsey firm itself is an SLC partner. Double Line Partners, builder of the first SLC-style systems in Texas and Delaware, has two former McKinsey employees on its team. And Jack Markell, Governor of early-adopter state Delaware, is himself a former McKinsey consultant.

Gates Takes Over

Check out the board of directors of the Shared Learning Collaborative (SLC): Gates is keeping tight control of this one. Ask yourself why.
         Shared Learning Collaborative Board of Directors

  • Michele Cahill, Vice President for National Program and Director of Urban Education, Carnegie Corporation
  • Stacey Childress, Deputy Director, Next Generation Models Team, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Diane de Ryss, Director of Operations, United States Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Former Governor of West Virginia

Even those not receiving a salary from the Gates Foundation have plenty of Gates connections.

Follow the Money

The Council of Chief State School Officers [CCSSO]received their first grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in April 2002– to support a working conference on using the ‘No Child Left Behind Act’ to improve achievement of students in the middle grades. That grant was only $25,000, but CCSSO soon moved on to richer pastures.  Gates has shelled out $72,479,637 to this outfit to solidify his control of public education.

$72,479,637. What would it take to get media attention?

On their website CCSSO pitches the  Shared Learning Collaborative, says:

States, school districts and teachers need services that provide deep insights about student performance, and that allow them to connect those insights to content and assessments so they can personalize education to meet students’ individual needs. Creating the infrastructure to do this well is cost-prohibitive for most states.

Item: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grant</b>

To: Shared Learning Collaborative, LLC
Date: June 2011
Purpose: to build, manage, and promote the Shared Learning Infrastructure (SLI)

Put  Shared Learning Infrastructure  into a search  at the Gates website and you will see:

To:  Fund for Public Schools Inc
Date: November 2012
Purpose: to support the New York City Department of Education’s integration of Common Core implementation strategies with new forms of teacher professional development to align with emerging functionalities  (sic) and capacity of Shared Learning Infrastructure
Amount: $1,815,810

To:  Data Quality Campaign
Date: March 2009
Purpose: to extend the Data Quality Campaign to leverage data infrastructure, emphasize effective data use and supportive policy to improve system and student achievement
Amount: $4,855,554

A State Initiative

Whenever you see this term state initiative in connection with ed reform, think Orwell’s Politics and the English Language and 1984 and  follow the bouncing Gates money ball. When corporate politicos and education reformers start blathering about  state initiatives, parents should lock up their kids and teachers should start consider new career options.  Unless and until  they decide to stand up and fight.

Repeat 99 times: Public silence in the face of Gates money kills democracy.

Of course, as usual, this “shared learning” enterprise is called a “state initiative.”

The initiative is a state-led effort. The Council of Chief State School Officers is coordinating the multistate alliance and ensuring the new technology meets the needs of the states and reflects their input. Initially, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York and North Carolina are participating in the pilot of this collaborative effort that will eventually be available to all states. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Carnegie Corporation of New York are providing the initial funding.

 A View from New York City

The New York City Public School Parents blog has been  warning about this invasion of student privacy  for months:

Parents beware! NY and eight other states plan to share your child/s confidential school records with private corporations without your consent! New York and eight other states plan to share your child’s confidential school records with private corporations without parental consent!

New York is one of five states that have agreed to share confidential NYC student and teacher data in Phase I with the Shared Learning Collaborative or SLC, a project of the Gates Foundation.

  • The other states and districts in Phase I include North Carolina (Guilford Co.), Colorado (Jefferson Co.), Illinois (Unit 5 Normal and District 87 Bloomington) and Massachusetts (Everett). Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, and Louisiana are in Phase II, according to the Gates Foundation, intend to start piloting the system in 2013.
  • The data to be shared will include the names of students, their grades, test scores, disciplinary and attendance records, and likely race, ethnicity, free lunch and special education status as well.
  • These records are to be stored in a massive electronic data bank, being built by Wireless Generation, a subsidiary of News Corporation. News Corporation is owned by Rupert Murdoch and has been found to illegally violate the privacy of individuals in Great Britain and in the United States.
  • Over the next few months, the Gates Foundation plans to turn over all this personal data to another, as yet unnamed corporation, headed by Iwan Streichenberger, the former marketing director of a company called Promethean that sells whiteboards, based in Atlanta GA.
  • This new corporation intends to make this confidential student information available in turn to commercial enterprises to help them develop and market their “learning products.” This new corporation is supposed to be financially sustainable by 2016, which means either states, districts or vendors will have to pay for its upkeep and maintenance. All this is happening without parental knowledge or consent.
  • There are serious questions as to whether this plan complies with the federal law protecting student privacy, called FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), which allows states or districts to disclose students’ personally identifiable education records without parental consent only in very limited circumstances and under stringent conditions, none of which apply in this case.
  • Moreover, we have learned that this confidential information is to be put on a cloud managed by, with few if any protections against data leakage.
  • After our press conference with our attorney, Norman Siegel in October, the NY State Education Department finally released its contract with the Gates Foundation. As we feared, it only reaffirmed our concerns about the lack of privacy for children, the weak protections against data leakage, and the denial of the parental right to consent.

We believe that any state that enters into an agreement with the Shared Learning Collaborative, or its successor corporation, should at the very least be obligated to:

1) Release its contract with the Gates Foundation, notify all parents of the impending disclosure of their children’s confidential records, and provide them with the right to consent;
2) Hold public hearings for parents to be able to express their concerns about the plan’s potential to risk their children’s privacy, security and safety;
3) Explain how families can obtain relief if their children are harmed by improper use or accidental release of this information, including who will be held financially responsible;
4) Affirm that they will respect the privacy rights of public schoolchildren more than the interests of the Gates Foundation, News Corporation, or any other company or vendor with whom this confidential information may be shared. …

Here is a fact sheet with this information you can download and distribute.

You can also leave a comment on the Gates website here, if you think parents should have the right to consent.

For more information, please email us at or call us at 212-674-7320.

Gates Gives Collaborators New Meaning

In World War II, they shot collaborators. Gates money changes all that.

                    Shared Learning Collaborative Board of Directors

  • Michele Cahill, Vice President for National Program and Director of Urban Education, Carnegie Corporation
  • Stacey Childress, Deputy Director, Next Generation Models Team, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Diane de Ryss, Director of Operations, United States Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Gene Wilhoit, Executive Director, Council of Chief State School Officers
  • Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, Former Governor of West Virginia

    Foundation Project Leads

  • Sharren Bates, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Stephen Coller, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Leah Hamilton, Program Director, Urban Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York
  • Henry Hipps, Senior Program Officer, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

   Supporting Organizations and Partners

  • Alvarez & Marsal
    Alvarez & Marsal is the project management team driving the consortium of the SLC partners from concept to creation.
  • CELT [Connecting Education, Leadership, and Technology]
    CELT is working with pilot states and districts to ensure they have the supporting infrastructure and processes in place to embrace and implement the SLC technology.
  • Double Line Partners [founder formerly with Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and McKinsey & Company]Double Line Partners is a strategic consulting firm focused on serving the public sector with a special emphasis on working in K-12 education. The firm is engaging with teachers and principals in participating districts to ensure they understand how the technology can support their instructional improvement efforts and to incorporate their ideas and feedback into the project.
  • Intentional Futures
    Intentional Futures (iF) is a product strategy, design and development studio that is working with teachers to better understand their needs in order to inform a core set of tools and resources available through the SLC technology, and a complementary application developer toolkit to go with it.

    Zero info on website-other than they are based in Seattle. But here’s their trademark info:
    On Wednesday, March 23, 2011, a U.S. federal trademark registration was filed for INTENTIONAL FUTURES by Intentional Futures, LLC, Seattle, WA 981220490…. trademark serial number of 85274772…. The correspondent listed for INTENTIONAL FUTURES is John Gregory of Beacon Law Advisors, PLLC, 801 2nd Avenue, Suite 614, Seattle WA 98104 . The INTENTIONAL FUTURES trademark is filed in the category of Advertising, Business & Retail Services . The description provided to the USPTO for INTENTIONAL FUTURES is Consulting services in the fields of marketing, advertising and promotion, brand imagery, business strategies, and creative ideation.

Advice to Parents: Protect your children from creative ideation and anything else approaching with pockets stuffed with Gates money.