New Yorkers Demand Regents & NYSED RETURN the Misguided Gates Foundation Grant

As Parents & Educators, we MUST Demand that the Board of Regents and NYS Education Department give back the misguided “grant” from the Gates Foundation and instead listen to the voices of parents and other stakeholders.

Last month, NY Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia asked the Board of Regents to approve a new $225,000 grant from the Gates Foundation for enhanced communication efforts around the standards, testing and data collection —  to convince parents that State Ed is on the right track in all these areas. The Board voted 14 – 2 to approve this grant, with only Regents Cashin and Ouderkirk voting no and Regent Johnson was absent.

The Gates Foundation has  been behind some of the most controversial — and unsuccessful — education policies in history, including persuading states to adopt the Common Core standards, evaluate teachers based on test scores, and expand the collection and disclosure of highly personal student information as part of its $100 million dollar inBloom project.  

Luckily, New York parents and educators across the state defeated inBloom, but the state is still planning to expand its collection of student data from early childhood through college.  The new standards that NYSED has developed are still developmentally inappropriate and little different from the Common Core and there is still too much emphasis on flawed high-stakes testing.  Moreover, NYSED has failed to enforce the state student privacy law, passed in 2014 in the wake of the controversy over inBloom — though the legal deadline for implementation was more than four years ago.  Meanwhile, NYSED’s own data system has been audited twice by the NYS Comptroller, and found to be highly insecure and vulnerable to breaches.

Please TAKE ACTION and DEMAND that the Board of Regents RETURN the Gates funds and instead of trying to hoodwink us into accepting State Ed’s flawed policies, include parents in authentic decision-making on all issues affecting our children, including standards, teacher evaluation, and privacy. The State Education Department should also be barred from any effort to expand student data collection until the 2014 student privacy law has been fully enforced and the SED’s own data system made secure.

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