Bill Gates & His Chickens
He took to one of his blogs to extol the virtues of chickens as engines of economic improvement for the Very Poor of the world. In fact, he's pretty sure that the Poor Folks should be raising chickens; he's pretty sure it's their path to a better world.
When I was growing up, chickens weren’t something you studied, they were something you made silly jokes about. It has been eye-opening for me to learn what a difference they can make in the fight against poverty. It sounds funny, but I mean it when I say that I am excited about chickens.
Well, no. It sounds funny if you are a lifetime privileged rich white guy who occasionally takes little philanthro-tourist trips to Poorville. "Look, Melinda! They really do eat some of these things. And-- goodness-- I don't think they have any running water here! Imagine!!" Yes, life is rough in Poorville. It's almost enough to make a person wonder why poor people choose to be poor!
So Gates decided to give chickens to the Very Poor of the world. I found that an interesting logistical issue. Where does one get hundreds of thousands of chickens? How does one ship them all around the world? How does one distribute them when they get there? How will the Very Poor, who have trouble feeding themselves, feed the chickens? I'm curious about how this will actually work.
But the government of Bolivia isn't curious. It's pissed off.
As initially reported by Reuters and as picked up by every news outlet that wanted to A) poke fun at Bill Gates and B) wring some kind of hilarious headline out of the story, the Bolivian government revealed itself to have a little local pride:
"How can he think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce?" Bolivian Development Minister Cesar Cocarico told journalists. "Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia."
Bolivia's agricultural department says that the country produces 197 million chickens annually and has the capacity to export 36 million. Bolivia's economy has almost tripled in strength in recent CURMUDGUCATION: Bill Gates & His Chickens:
Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up
Earlier this week we looked at a report co-created by the National Alliance for Public [sic] Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers, and 50CAN in which the bricks and mortar wing of the charter school industry took the cyber-charters to task for stinking up the whole charter sector, and very helpfully offered some advice that involved a whole lot of restrictions and rules that cyber charters should have to follow.
It did not take long for the cyber charter industry to fire back.
K12 Inc, one of the very largest cyber chains. It was founded by banker and McKinsey alum Ronald Packer and got its initial stake from Michael and Lowell Milken (Michael is famous as the junk bond king who went to prison for fraud) and also a chunk of change from Andrew Tisch, big cheese at Loewe's (his wife served on the reformy Center for Education Innovation board and opened an all-girls school in Harlem in the late nineties). In addition to running their own cyber-empire, K12 has also been the force behind spectacular cyber-failures like the Agora cyber charter chain. Oh, and they are fully unabashedly for profit, like most of the cyber charters.
K12 Inc did not much care for the Cyber Shape-Up report, and they issued a press release to say so.
"Not collaborative," they say of the report. Nobody invited cyber-charters to come participate in the scolding of cyber-charters. Speaking for most public school teachers of the last decade, let me just express our sympathy for how annoying it is when people want to attack your work without even talking to you.
K12 also attacks the study that is most of the basis for the scolding of cybers because the data is old and doesn't include points that the cybers think are important (like why the student left her original Charter vs. Charter Fight Heats Up