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Bill Gates Gives TFAer-Founded Educators for Excellence (E4E) *Another* $4 Million

November 7, 2018

In September 2018, billionaire Bill Gates’ foundation dropped $4M to expand Educators for Excellence (E4E), an ed reform spinoff founded by two Teach for America (TFA) alumni, Sydney Morris and Evan Stone:

Educators for Excellence


Date: September 2018
Purpose: to grow E4E’s membership and its leadership cohort while testing strategies for moving new advocates up the ladder of engagement
Amount: $4,000,001
Term: 24
Topic: Global Policy & Advocacy, K-12 Education
Program: United States
Grantee Location: New York, New York
Grantee Website: http://www.educators4excellence.org 

But this is nothing new: In 2016, Gates sent $4M to E4E, in that instance, “to support the Teacher Leadership and Policy & Advocacy Programs, which engage and empower forward-thinking teachers as leaders in the movement toward educational equity.” Prior to 2016, in 2013, Gates delivered $3M “to support teachers to be leaders in policy development and implementation.” Then, there was 2011 and the $1M “to ensure that the voice of classroom teachers is included in the polices that impact their profession and students.”

Gates has been a friend to E4E for years, giving it $12M from 2011 to 2018.

Gates wants to help E4E do what ed reform is known for promoting: A blink of classroom teaching time as a necessary marketing token to lend surface legitimacy into leadership and policy decisions over those very same classrooms that they used as little more than a career-ladder prong.

What is interesting about E4E founders, Morris and Stone, is that they omit identifying themselves as TFA alum in their E4E bios:

Sydney Morris, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

Sydney was born and raised in New York, but truly developed her passion for education while a student at Tulane University, where she worked with students in the New Orleans Public School system following Hurricane Katrina and developed after-school dance programs for low-income students with the nonprofit New Orleans Outreach.

After graduating with a degree in political science, Sydney taught second- and third-graders in the Bronx, and designed and led her school’s first-ever after-school ballet program while pursuing her master’s degree at Pace University.

Evan Stone, Co-Founder and Co-CEO

Growing up the son of a teacher in California, Evan was always interested in education. From an early age, he realized his access to an amazing education was not a gift that is distributed equitably across our country.

His teaching career began in high school when he started coaching the VIP soccer team for children with special needs and both a boys and girls AYSO team. Evan continued his educational work while a student at Yale University, where he wrote his thesis on the impact of No Child Left Behind on urban school systems and worked with students as the head of the Luther House Tutoring Program.

After graduating from Yale with a degree in political science, Evan became a sixth-grade teacher in the Bronx, while earning his master’s degree in teaching from Pace University.

According to her Linkedin bio, Morris spent 2007 -2010 in New York City (NYC) via TFA, immediately after graduating from Tulane University with a bachelors in political science. As is signature TFA, the classroom was a stint– a reality further hidden by the fact that Morris’ E4E bio does not disclose just how brief a time she was in the classroom: only 3 years.

Stone’s bio begins with the tack of “related to a [real] teacher, which gives me cred though I chose the temp-teacher route.” According to his Linkedin bio, Stone‘s sixth-grade teaching stint closely overlaps Morris’ in time (Sep 2007 – Jan 2011) and place (NYC Dept. of Ed.). And like Morris, Stone does not disclose in his E4E bio the actual number of years he has in the classroom. E4E co-CEO Stone did not make it a full four years as a classroom teacher. In this case, an airbrushed bio is a better marketing tool.

In painting themselves as teachers, neither Morris nor Stone mention TFA in their E4E co-founder bios. However, they are doing what TFA “talent” is supposed to do; namely, spreading the ed-reform influence via an ed-reform startup, such as an education nonprofit that has a board heavy on hedge funders.

And, of course, there is the money that one might make running an ed-reform nonprofit. According to E4E’s FY 2016 tax return, E4E garnered $13.6M in total revenue, with Morris and Stone each receiving $216K for 40hrs/wk.

If there is any doubt that E4E promotes market-based ed reform, one could know as much by those named among its major donors, including previously-mentioned Gates Foundation, the Broad Foundation, and the Walton Foundation.

E4E purports to promote a teacher-led movement. In order to do so, E4E chooses to hide its temp-teacher, TFA roots.

No matter. Bill Gates is willing to slide *another* cool $4M their way.

bill gates shrug

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Schneider is a southern Louisiana native, career teacher, trained researcher, and author of two other books: A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education and Common Core Dilemma: Who Owns Our Schools?. You should buy these books. They’re great. No, really.

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6 Comments
  1. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    The cover of promoting “educational equity” is needed to justify the billionaire investments and generous salaries of this key people in this money laundry operation? E4E is really devoted to deprofessionalizing teaching (a little dab will do you) and curtailing the right of teachers to engage in collective bargaining.

  2. Michael Fiorillo permalink

    Grifters gotta grift: these frauds have been taking Gates’ money for years, and he has little to show for it, except for an occasional op-ed piece written by these characters. They’ve tried for years to insinuate themselves into education and union politics, but have never been able to gain real traction. They offer nothing to teachers, and teachers know it.

    Go on, Bill: continue being the sucker for these transparent frauds.

    • You made me think of something here: is it possible that Gates’ “gift’ of ed money — money quickly used up by opportunists and adding little of use to the public school system — is simply a tax write off for Gates?

      • Linda permalink

        The internet provided this answer – 5% of $7 bil. equals $350 mil. (I didn’t bother checking it.) Gates’s worth is $95 bil. He doesn’t care about $4 mil. For him, the amount is similar to the penny on the ground that we all ignore.

        Gates’ concentration of wealth is obscene. We see the devastating effect of the richest 0.1%’s spending, everyday, in the takeover of education.

        Since lots of people need/want money and/or think they can achieve status through involvement with Gates, Arnold, etc., the donor class’ impact has to mitigated at an institutional level. Legislation should be enacted that prohibits anyone with any connection to the donor class from being hired in positions paid with tax dollars. And, they should be prohibited from places where public education policies are decided. The revolving door should be made extremely costly so that it becomes non-existent.

        Or, America could just confiscate the wealth of the politically active in the donor class.

      • THANK you.

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  1. Mercedes Schneider: Bill Gates Gives Another $4 Million to Educators4Excellence | Diane Ravitch's blog

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