Transcript of Gates’ March 2014 Washington Post Interview
On June 7, 2014, Washington Post reporter Lyndsey Layton published a blockbuster article largely based on a 28-minute interview she had with Gates following his keynote speech at the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards’ (NBPTS) Teaching and Learning Conference in Washington, DC, on March 14, 2014.
I am writing my second book, this one on the origins of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). In the process of writing a chapter on the Gates bankrolling of CCSS, I transcribed the entire 28- minute interview, complete with every “uhh” and “you know.”
My primary purpose in writing this post is to make my transcription available to the public:
Allow me to offer a few observations regarding both Layton’s March interview and her June article:
The June Article
The layout of Layton’s June article is such that one might mistake the entire article as being based upon her March interview with Gates. Not so. In fact, a key admission revealed in the article– and the one with which Layton chooses to open her piece– is not part of her 28-minute interview with Gates.
As one views the June article, one first sees a 5-minute video clip of Gates, an abbreviated version of the full-length, 28-minute interview.
Immediately followed by the video clip is the stunning news that former Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) President Gene Wilhoit and CCSS “lead writer” David Coleman asked Gates in 2008 to bankroll CCSS.
Even though one might believe that this Wilhoit/Coleman information was part of Layton’s March interview with Gates, it is not. The Wilhoit/Coleman information came from Wilhoit.
Much of Layton’s June article focuses on the information in the March interview. Further along in the article, the video link for the full, 28-minute interview is available, with the caption that this is the “full interview.”
The descriptor “full interview” might lead one to believe that the Wilhoit/Coleman admission is part of this interview. Again, not so.
Layton’s article also declares Kentucky as the first state to sign on for CCSS, in February 2010. Again, not so. By June 2009, 46 states and US territories had already signed the legally-binding CCSS memorandum of understanding (MOU). Most dodged the entire legislative process. In February 2010, Kentucky adopted CCSS through the “back door” of Senate Bill 1 (2009) (a mandate to revise all Kentucky standards), and Kentucky was the first state to move to implement CCSS; however, the majority of US governors and state superintendents had already signed over their state education systems for CCSS.
The March Interview
In transcribing Layton’s March interview with Gates, I realized what a fine interviewer Layton is. She asks Gates some probing questions that he is clearly uncomfortable answering. Gates becomes testy with Layton a number of times during the interview. What particularly appears to tick him off is Layton’s insistence upon asking Gates questions related to the politics of CCSS. But Gates does not want to talk politics. He does not believe the fact that CCSS is a political land mine to be “substantive.”
Gates sees himself as a neutral benevolent who is outside of (above?) the political process, and he clearly resents the idea that anyone would question his motives in funding CCSS.
There is much more that I could write here; however, I will save it for my second book.
I will note that at one point in the interview, Layton agrees with Gates that most teachers support CCSS and that the problem (here it comes) is faulty implementation.
I closely examined seven surveys that supposedly show teacher (and other) support for CCSS– including an early-release version of the Gates/Scholastic survey– and none hold up to any declaration that teachers “want” CCSS.
The Transcript of the 28-minute Interview is Worth the Read
And with that statement, I will close.
Like my writing? Read my newly-released ed “reform” whistle blower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who in the Implosion of American Public Education
NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE.