Professor Naison has given me permission to reprint any of his public posts. This one really inspired me.
When historians review the last 20 years, the rise of Bill Gates to the position of education power broker supreme and the most important single person shaping public education policy in the US will be one of the most curious phenomena they study. Here is a man who never taught a day in his life and never attended public school who presumes to know how to reshape public education in the United States. More astonishingly, he has managed to convince a cross section of the nation's political leadership—in both parties—and most media pundits that he is the right man for the job, even though not one of his ideas, when put into effect, has achieved the promised results. Is there any precedent for this in American History. Has any other person ever achieved this kind of power over social policy, whereby he can organize a dinner and have 80 Senators attend?
In my judgment, Gates rising influence over education policy is not the sign of a healthy society, and I suspect future historians will concur. He is basically a snake-oil salesman whose great wealth has turned him first into a false prophet, and more recently into a new kind of policy dictator.
Let's hope the American people wake up and see the damage he is doing.
— Mark D. Naison, PhD is Chair of African and African-American Studies at Fordham University