Bill and Melinda Gates have partially formed a advocacy organization to steer their educational agenda.
The move comes as Congress is discussing a re-authorization of the Higher Education Act, the current federal statute on financial assistance to students.
More recently the Gates Foundation set up a committee to assess the worth of a college degree or credential. If Gates lobbyists convince lawmakers to support the Gates commission’s agenda, then Congress could make it harder for students in some majors to obtain loans or grants.
In this way, I assume that the Gateses will turn universities and colleges that currently offer a wide variety of courses into centers of vocational training that concentrate on instantly marketable skills.
I am a political scientist who is studying the politics of education. In my Common Core book I explain how the Common Core State Standards Initiative was funded and orchestrated by Bill and Melinda Gates. I argue that the Gateses have helped develop an educational framework that emphasizes a limited collection of computer-testable reading, writing, and math skills.
The stated aim of the Gateses advocacy campaign is to concentrate on – among other things – educational results for students in black, Latino and rural areas and shift people from poverty to jobs.
The Post-Secondary Interest Commission of the Gates Foundation offers some insight into what educational results mean to the Gateses. The commission is aimed at establishing a way of calculating the value of such degrees or certificates. When policymakers follow this measurement device, instead they will only finance items that would contribute to immediate economic payoff.
Although prestigious higher education institutions are likely to continue offering liberal arts education to students, regional state schools may be under pressure to cut majors including history, English, geography, philosophy, and political science.
Why hang out now
For years the Gates Foundation has been shaping K-12 public education reform indirectly. The group has contributed millions of dollars in grants to education associations, think tanks, parent-teacher organizations, teacher unions, state education departments and an coalition of governors to research, promote and enforce the Common Core. Despite a revision and rebranding initiative in many states, the standards still form the way most American students learn to read, write and math.
Now that the Gateses have been pivoting towards lobbying, it is indicating to me that they intend to take a more active role in drafting legislation.
Charities – the kinds of groups eligible for tax-deductible contributions – can do some lobbying, but not too much, according to the IRS. These associations may usually talk about issues for educational purposes, but they can’t support passing specific legislation or on behalf of political candidates. In forming a 501(c)(4) charity, also known as a social service organization, the Gateses are now able to negotiate legislation directly with legislators.
The Gateses selected Rob Nabors, previously the chief lobbyist for the Obama White House, to lead the new lobby store. The new party won’t send money to the political parties, according to Nabors. However it does have the “potential to improve results” by educating policymakers.
The Gateses Higher Education Program
I contend that Bill and Melinda Gates are punching a one-two punch with the introduction of the Post-Secondary Interest Commission and the Gates Policy Initiative. The former attempts to determine whether such majors are deserving of federal financial assistance; the latter will convert this process into legislation.
“If we can have the strong concept of college interest, we certainly hope it can impact the higher ed reauthorization act,” recently reported Millie García, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and co-chair of the Gates Commission.
In 2017, the federal government allocated about US$ 29 billion in Pell Grants to about 7.2 million undergraduates under the Higher Education Act.
When Congress adopts the instrument of the Gates Foundation to calculate the value of a college degree or credential, then Congress may determine that low earnings or low levels of loan repayment disqualify students from obtaining federal financial assistance in such programs. I contacted a Gates Policy Initiative spokesperson and was told “We have nothing more to say on this stage.”
One member of the Gates Commission, Anthony P. Carnevale, has explained how a focus on program-level outcomes will streamline public university systems as they eliminate less lucrative majors – such as early childhood education, performing arts and theology.
“Sad to say,” Carnevale explains, this disruption “could be brutally efficient for higher education. Industry change is almost always about what’s next, not what’s best for the workers and institutions directly affected. Just ask an auto worker.”
Many of the colleges and universities are economic hubs, cultural centers, and civic pride outlets. I suspect that the “brutally successful” destruction of those institutions could cause more public outrage than anticipated by the Gateses.
Schools will be expected to teach sexuality, sex and health education in England (RSHE), which includes LGBT links, as from September 2020. For the first time, this ensures that pupils know all types of families and relationships, and not just heterosexual ones.
Inside the school gates, some parents and christians have protested against the initiatives the schools that are now educating LGBT people under the No Outsider Programme. The demonstrations were so violent that a school in the Birmingham neighborhood of Anderton Park successfully applied for an order to prohibit further demonstrations in the immediate area of the school.
Some of LGBT teachers from the Section 28 period (1988-2003) were told by the demonstrations and related media coverage that the Conservative government chaired a state-sanctioned suppression of LGBT identities in schools and local government.
While Section 28 ended in 2003, it is clear that the sexuality of LGBT teachers persists in schools to trigger moral panic. In reality, my work reveals that the main fear of LGBT professors is that their LGBT identity would suit hyper-sexuality and pedophilia with their parents. In English schools, there are nearly 50,000 LGBT teachers. Under the 2010 Equality Act, schools are responsible for shielding LGBT teachers from workplace abuse. Yet in my study, LGBT teachers claim that the policies of fair rights do not automatically make their schools healthier.
The Education Department (DfE) has sought to plan for the implementation of RSHE. In October 2019, the Committee released guidelines on intervention in LGBT education for primary schools. The DfE anticipates a breakdown that entails the public victimisation of teachers by means of social media or personal abuse. It calls on school administrators to contact the police, take legal action if necessary and make direct comments to journalists if demonstrations or threats occur.
The protests to date have shown how insecure LGBT teachers are. Andrew Moffat, assistant Head Leader, Birmingham Parkfield School, was particularly interested in the use of LGBT storybooks and celebrated distinction. He received death threats and police told him how to go to and from school.
Effects of The mind
It is clear that more homophobic demonstrations would have a huge effect on the safety and welfare of LGBT students. My research has also shown that 64% of LGBT educators suffered from a serious episode of anxiety or depression related to their sexual orientation or gender and their role in teaching. This contrasts with just 31% of the teaching population as stated in the 2018 Teacher Wellbeing Survey, who have a mental health problem.
I asked participants what they wanted to concentrate on in their next lessons during a recent leadership workshop for LGBT teachers. The party was one-sided. They needed the implementation of new LGB T-Relations, sex and health curriculum to “overcome” personal support, wondering what this would mean for them as LGBT teachers.
Staff At Universities Across The Uk Are Protesting Over Improvements To Their Pensions. Academics At 64 Universities, Who Are Members Of The University And College Union (ICU) And Who Are Signed Up To A Defined Benefit Pension Plan (known As Uss), Face Cutbacks That Will Leave Them Substantially Worse Off When They Retire.
Universities Uk, The Uk University Umbrella Organization That Oversees The Pension Plan, Says The Move Is Inevitable Because There Isn’t Enough Funding To Make The Plan Financially Viable. The Protesting Workers Denies That, And A Closer Look Reveals That This Has Meaning.
From The Outside, It May Look Like Another Case Of Another Uk Institution Hitting A Pension Black Hole Problem. In Recent Years Several Companies Have Made The Headlines For Pension Problems – Retailer Bhs, Construction Firm Carillion, Uk Steel Company Tata, Telecoms Giant Bt, Just To Name A Few.
Nevertheless, When It Comes To Pension Policy The Uk Is Even Worse Than Many Other Countries – And Has A Growing Pension Gap Across The Board.
Yet Between The Aforementioned Struggling Firms And The Colleges Whose Staff Is Striking, There Is A Major Gap. These Businesses All Suffered From Poor Results, While Universities Do Not. Bhs And Carillion Both Failed.
After The Financial Crisis Bt Has Been Having A Rough Ride. Its Sales Of Around £ 19bn In March 2016 Were Still Smaller Than Those Published In March 2009 (£ 21.7bn). Just £ 0.42 Per Share Was The Average Dividend Of Bt Over The Period 2010-16 Compared To £ 0.82 Per Share In 2009. Moreover, The £ 14 Billion Bt Pension Shortfall Came To Around 70% Of Its Overall Income.
The Deficit Issues
The Extent Of The Uss Deficit Is Not Quite Clear, By Comparison. Under Financial Accounting Standards Accounting Standards A Shortfall Of £ 17.5 Billion Is Estimated. Yet Uss Insists The Amount Is Incorrect And Its Real Debt Is £ 12.6bn.
The Discrepancies Come From The Way Death Rates Are Compensated For, Discounting Potential Liabilities And Value Properties. Calculations Of Deficit / Surplus Are Often Imprecise, As They Are Based On Projections Of Varying Return Levels Long Into The Future.
All We Do Know Is That The Total Income From The Universities Is Close To £ 35 Billion. Therefore, Their Pension Shortfall Is Around 36 Percent Of Income – Making It Look Much Less Of A Concern Than A Company Like Bt Is Facing.
Nevertheless, When It Comes To Accounting, It Is Fair To Assume That British Universities Have Been In Good Financial Shape Over The Last Decade Or So. However, In Recent Months, Vice-chancellors Have Emphasized How Effective They Have Been In Handling Their University Finances While Explaining Their High Salaries And Expenses.
According To The Higher Education Statistics Agency (here), British Universities ‘revenue From Tuition Fees Alone Has Increased By 14.2% Over The Past Two Years, While Staff-related Expenditures Have Risen By Just 3.6%. And The Surplus Of Total Revenue Over Total Expenditure In The 2016-17 Academic Year Was £ 1.2 Billion, Itself A More Than 40 Percent Improvement Over The Surplus Two Years Earlier, And Almost 10 Percent Of The Uss Calculation Of The Scheme’s Deficit.
Thus, The View Of Those On Strike – That The Underlying Economics And The Course Of Travel Mean That Their Universities Are In A Position To Expand Rather Than Close Their Pension Pot.
In Addition, In Recent Years The Uss Has Undergone A Number Of Changes Which Have Driven The Academics Out Of The Box. The Lower Cpi Inflation Index Substituted The Rpi Formula For How Pensions Were Measured (a Move Recently Rejected For Bt By The High Court). The Retirement Age Has Been Increased From 60 To 65, Which Will Increase Further To 68 By 2037. The Defined Benefit Scheme Was Now Limited To The First £ 55,000 In Income And Is Based On A Carer Average While It Used To Be Based On The Final Salary Of An Academic.
The Root Of The Conflict Between Universities And Employees Lies Moreover In The Fact That Universities Are Not Businesses With Shareholders, Who Have A Clear Say In How They Spend Money, Provided That They Own The Company. In Comparison, The Debate On Balancing Growth With The Treatment Of Employees Has Been Serious In The Universities. The Fact That Wages For Vcs Have Increased Considerably More Than Wages For Workers Adds To The Friction Between The Two Sides.
In This Sense, There Could Be A Potential Solution Keeping Worker Pensions As They Are And Waiting And Seeing For Now. The Size Of These Pension Liabilities Could Be Decreased Substantially In The Coming Years By Changing Market Conditions. Hence The Decision To Close Defined Benefit Funds At This Stage Could Be Premature, Considering That The Scheme Appears To Be Enough Cash To Keep The Current Situation Running For A Couple Of Years.