Fourteen years ago, the Bill and Melinda Gates and Rockefeller Foundations launched the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with the stated goal of doubling productivity and incomes by 2020 for 30 million small-scale farming households while reducing food insecurity by half in 20 countries. AGRA claims success, but a broad-based civil society alliance has just published "False Promises: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)," in which they conclude that the number of Africans suffering extreme hunger has increased by 30 percent in the 13 countries that AGRA eventually focused on. I spoke to researcher and writer Timothy A. Wise, Senior Advisor at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and author of the book Eating Tomorrow: Agribusiness, Family Farmers, and the Battle for the Future of Food.
In recent months, as schools closed to limit the spread of COVID-19, millions of students, teachers, and administrators have been forced to flip a switch and embrace distance learning. Many states have hinted that this situation could continue well into the next school year. Now, panic is spreading among public school advocates as key proponents of “disruptive” education models scramble to capitalize on the chaos. First came the news, in late April, that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who has long been a political and financial supporter of school choice schemes, has been authorized by Congress to hand out $307 million in grant money to state departments of education—provided they use the funds to “reimagine” (read: privatize) K-12 schooling.
Taking time off from mismanaging a pandemic and turning lifesaving masks sent from all over the country into an art installation, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo declared yesterday that he would use the deadly COVID-19 virus as an opportunity to “revolutionize” the state’s school system, inviting Microsoft founder Bill Gates to implement his controversial ideas about education statewide. Gates is best known for one thing in education: charter schools.