July 18, 2013 7:47 pm

Gates Foundation Moves into Higher Ed

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gatesThe Gates Foundation shifts its focus to postsecondary policy. Will it continue the harmful practices of its K-12 reform?

This week, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation began organized efforts to extend its influence into higher education policy. The Gates Foundation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars to finance programs and research focused on bettering American higher education. According to their website, their mission in doing so is to “ensure that all low-income young adults have affordable access to a quality postsecondary education.

But there are many reasons to fear Gates’ growing influence in higher education.  Critics say that Gates is buying influence in higher education without developing any sound policy or research worthy of that influence. If Gates has its way, higher education will focus on what many are calling quick fixes, focusing on measuring and increasing college graduation rates and short-term employability instead of investigating the substance of postsecondary education. And with so much of its influence revolving around financial measurability, many see Gates’ education agenda as simply a business agenda.

Furthermore, people fear that Gates may try to replicate its K-12 policies in higher education. Gates was so dogmatic in its implementation of K-12 policy that teachers were forced to commence an online letter-writing campaign to have their input heard at all. The Gates Foundation has a reputation of buying its way into the education dialogue without listening to any opinions that differ from its own. As Diane put it in her blog this week:

Just as it has done in K-12 education, the [Gates] foundation has bought the research, bought the evaluations, bought the advocacy groups, and even bought the media that reports on what the foundation is doing.

Below you can find some great pieces on Gates’ influence in education. We encourage you to post your reactions to Gates’ education initiatives on our online forum.

Anthony’s piece, ‘Mr. Gates Goes to College: Has He Learned from His K12 Project?

The Chronicle’s ‘The Gates Effect

Robin Roger’s ‘The Price of Philanthropy

Valerie Strauss’ ‘Gates Foundation responds to critical articles

timeline of FOILed Gates’ emails, by NYC Public School Parents

Chuck Rybak’s ‘Citizen Gates