Education
Bill Gates YouTube screenshot/Microsoft Bill Gates YouTube screenshot/Microsoft  

FOLLOW THE MONEY: Microsoft’s Plan To Cash In On Common Core

No great American philanthropist ever got to be a great American philanthropist without first becoming a great American business tycoon.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is no different, and now The Washington Post has reported that his company conveniently stands to make a ton of cash from the implementation of Common Core in public school classrooms across America — largely at the expense of taxpayers.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has used up over $200 million in an effort to push the Common Core Standards Initiative in the last couple years.

On the Microsoft Web site, a webpage dated April 22, 2014 entitled “Tech Essentials for Testing Success” describes in considerable detail how schools using computer-based, Common Core-aligned tests will now need to spend a bunch of money — on Microsoft products.

“Ready or not,” Microsoft warns, “testing for the State Standards is about to become a reality for schools in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and four US territories. That means a switch to online testing beginning the spring of 2015.”

Later on comes the sales pitch:

For many schools, time is running out. In a report issued by Smarter Balanced in 2012, it found that 56.1 percent of K–12 schools reporting were still running on aging Windows XP, which had an end of service (EOS) date of April 8, 2014. In the face of this looming cutoff of support, it’s recommended by IT professionals to migrate to the new Windows as soon as possible.

Microsoft additionally advises schools to upgrade “all units” “to a minimum of 1 GB of internal memory” and to make sure their screens and processors are up to snuff. (Wouldn’t you know it: in some cases, “Power Macs are not supported.”) Schools might also need to outlay tax dollars on Internet connections and hardware such as headphones.

“Early adopting schools have seen first hand [sic] the classroom benefits to upgrading ahead of the testing, proving that innovation in the classroom inspires both student conference and school readiness.”

In an interview with the Post this spring, Gates got testy when interviewer Lyndsey Layton confronted him about whether his business interests have driven his intense interest in Common Core.

“What is it that you’re saying?” Gates asked “It’s all a lot of self-interest?”

A bit of cross talk later he said: “There’s no connection. There’s no connection to Common Core and any Microsoft thing.”

“Do you seriously think that the reason I like the Common Core is for some self-interested reason?” Gates then asked indignantly.