Writer Joanne Barkan argues that for plutocrats like Bill Gates, democracy is a nuisance…
Jennifer Berkshire: You’re the author of a recent case study on what you call Bill Gates’ *charitable plutocracy,* his years’ long, and many millions-ed campaign to bring charter schools to Washington State. In the interest of the data to which Gates himself is so committed, can you reduce your argument down to a series of numbers? Oh, and please speak in bullet points.
- Number of years required to pass a charter school enabling law in Washington State: 17 (1995-2012).
- Number of statewide ballot initiatives required: 4 (1996, 2000, 2004, and 2012).
- Total dollars spent by charter school supporters in the 2000, 2004, and 2012 ballot initiatives: $18.7 million. (Practically no money was spent by either side in 1996.)
- Total dollars spent by charter school opponents in the 2000, 2004, and 2012 ballot initiatives: $2.04 million.
- Money spent by the Gates Foundation *to give public charter schools in Washington State a strong start* in 2013-2015: $31 million.
And a few other data points your readers might be interested in:
- Net worth of Bill Gates in 2015: $76 billion
- Assets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2016: $44.3 billion.
- Total receipts of the National Education Association in 2015: $388.8 million.
- Total receipts of the American Federation of Teachers in 2015: $327.6 million.
- Average salary of an elementary public school teacher in Washington state (except in special education) in 2015: $60,140.