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Video: Bill Gates, Expert On All That Matters

December 21, 2014

Billionaire Bill Gates has been buying the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for years now. He started doing so after being asked to by former Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) President Gene Wilhoit and edupreneur, CCSS “lead architect” David Coleman in the summer of 2008.

Gates has spent at least hundreds of millions on CCSS.

One Gates-funded entity is the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a “think tank” full of “scholars” who promote corporate-feeding “solutions” in American arenas, including education. As such, the “enterprise” in American Enterprise Institute is free enterprise.

Specifically, AEI has received over $5 million in Gates bucks. In August 2014, Gates gave AEI a fresh million for, among other promotions “in the K-12 and higher education space,” “impactful convenings.”

AEI is also connected to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as well as Koch-funding funnel, Donors Trust. Low bottom line. High profits. The ultimate in what matters.

When a billionaire gives millions to a nonprofit group of philanthropic-dependent “scholars” like those of AEI, well, those scholars just have to interview him extensively as though he is an expert on all of his purchased issues.

So it goes, apparently.

In the March 2014 AEI video interview below, Gates admits, “…There’s no proof that [public education] is going to be dramatically better 10 or 20 years from now” (9:20).

Yet Gates continues to pour millions into CCSS.

At the ten-minute point, Gates is expressing surprise that there is no clear connection between state per-pupil spending and “excellence” (a euphemism for stats, the corporate-reform centerpiece of which is the standardized test score). He states that Washington, DC, has “improved somewhat” via “personnel policies, shuttering schools” and “letting the charter schools take a somewhat higher share of the cohort.” Nevertheless, Gates states, DC is still “an abysmal system.”

No mention of former DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee, who (according to her 2008 TIME magazine cover) was supposed to sweep away the “bad” teachers. No mention of test scores rising under Rhee then dropping following her exit. Not one word.

Moreover, despite his labeling American K12 public education as “poor,” Gates terms American universities as “world class” (21:56). He talks of American university graduates “who do well” as “giving back” philanthropically and therefore being “the envy of the world.”

Reconcile that.

Back to those “failing” K12 public school classrooms:

Gates has a simplistic notion of some teachers “giving two years of learning” in a year and others “giving less than half a year of learning” (12:40).

Gates wants to “transfer” those “best practices” from one teacher to other teachers.

I sure would like to meet the teacher who “gives two years of learning” to all students in his/her class regardless of the student.

I just finished grading 135 research folders for my sophomore English students, so you’ll have to excuse me if I am not as sharp as Gates is on the subject, but it seems that where there is a “giver,” there must be a “receiver.”

Here is a phenomenon not addressed by the billionaire in all of his AEI-petted wisdom: The student who is content with a moderate grade.

I run into this quite a bit: Students who will work until they are satisfied with their grades, whether B, or C, or D– and who deliberately resist progress because they have banked an average on which they are satisfied to coast for a while.

It has nothing to do with me.

I also have those who push themselves really hard for an A and whose abilities place such an achievement out of reach.

Then there are those who want an A (or B, or C) but who want it on their terms. When I offer to “give” them true opportunity to engage in their own learning, they push back. They resist. (Surely not from teenagers, right?) Sometimes, they must be allowed to fail or must be otherwise disciplined before they are willing to “receive” what I am willing to “give.”

Gates wants “schools of education” to “drive for high-quality teaching,” yet he promotes under-regulated charters known for relying on the likes of five-week-trained Teach for America (TFA) temp teachers.

Gates wants “teacher improvement,” yet such becomes irrelevant if one also promotes teaching as a turnstile non-profession.

He also refers to technology in the classroom (including teacher prep) as “personalized learning.” (For more on what Gates calls “Next Generation Learning,” click here.)

I’m sorry to disappoint the billionaire, but in my classroom, “personalized learning” is the frequent, individual conferencing I conduct with each of my approximately 140 students over each student’s writing– the kind of “personalized learning” one would expect in a private school– the kind of school exempt from Gates-education experimentation.

It is more difficult for me to manage meeting with my students individually with my public-school class sizes.

But being a free enterprise promoter, Gates wants what might be “scaled up.” Surely sticking kids in front of computers allows for cuts in personnel– a thumbs-up for those low-bottom-liners.

If only Gates could impose his will on public education with as much ease as he invested in a malaria vaccine. (No kidding, he laments this at 14:45.)

In advising others on philanthropic contribution, Gates offers the example that they “pick a charter school” (29:01). He repeats the offer: Gates suggests that “the first philanthropic thing [people] will do will be something in their neighborhood where they can go… meet the kids at the charter school where they’re volunteering their time…” (29:47).

No mention of the K12 community school.

At 31:55 AEI’s Michael McShane asks Gates about CCSS as “a lever for improving the American education system. (McShane co-edited a pro-CCSS book with AEI’s Rick Hess, the link for which has gone dead on the AEI website but is saved on Google-cache here.)

I wrote about this AEI excerpt of Gates CCSS “explanation” in this April 27, 2014, post.

There is more to the entire hour-long Gates-AEI interview. I will stop for now, but not before dropping this Gates bomb from 47:20 in the interview:

…Capitalism over time, in general, over time, will create more inequality and technology, over time, will reduce demand for jobs particularly at the lower end of the skill set. …When people say we should raise the minimum wage, I think, boy, you know, I know some economists disagree. But I think, boy, I worry about what that does to job creation.

Gates supports both capitalism and technology as vehicles to drive American K12 public education even as he admits that capitalism over time creates more inequality, and those at the losing end of this capitalistic-created inequality are more likely to be replaced with machines.

So… given Gates’ preference for charters over traditional community public schools, is Gates indirectly admitting that he knows market-driven, “choice” education a-la charters will indeed lead to educational inequity? And is he also admitting that his push for technology in both K12 education and teacher prep will reduce teacher (and, as a result, teacher training) jobs in favor of machines?

I’ll just let those questions hang in the Gates-purchased, educational air.

gates clap

________________________________________________

Schneider is author of the ed reform whistleblower, A Chronicle of Echoes: Who’s Who In the Implosion of American Public Education

previti chronicle pic

 

38 Comments
  1. I believe Gates made a deal with the Devil in order to keep the feds from breaking up his beloved money machine Microsoft. Just connect the dots.

    • Gene Modin permalink

      I wonder what kind of deal he made with the US DOJ. That is the connection I would be interested in.

  2. saison1 permalink

    Very good !

  3. Hannah permalink

    It’s the Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules.

  4. Mercedes,

    You’ve purchased a billion moments of possibility for your students over the years by giving them trusted opportunities to explore the power and use of language. If real value were being measured they’d have to move Bill down the scale and you up.
    I’ve been following you from afar via this blog and admire your research and efforts to get the word out about what a despicable charade has replaced real education. As a fellow high school English teacher this post is one of my favorites because of the glimpse you give us of your own classroom, the vicissitudes of working with teenagers and how those realities clash with the grand scheme concocted by the silver tongued schemers in their think tanks. For a sobering look at what David Coleman’s “teaching” take a look at his essay “Cultivating Wonder.” “Cultivating Resistance” would be more accurate. https://cultivatingwonder.org/wp-content/themes/twentythirteen/images/CultivatingWonder.pdf
    Wishing you a merry and peaceful Christmas.

    • Thank you, awrenng. I appreciate your kind comment. A merry and peaceful Christmas to you, as well.

    • Victorino Verboten permalink

      Awrenng: Thank for sharing that link.

      I am interested in virtually everything and I do not get bored easily, but OMG. I found Coleman’s approach and grandiose pedantry to be inspiration killers. If I had difficulty getting through that hot mess, I have to wonder how many kids would be turned off by Coleman’s methods of “cultivating wonder.”

      To me, the fact that Coleman’s perspective and prescriptions are based on his very limited experience as a tutor when he was a college student, as he indicated there, just demonstrates how critical it really is for educators to actually study child development, learning and teaching, if they want to truly inspire students.

  5. ira shor permalink

    Gates pays to be allowed to masquerade as an expert on everything. He is a fraud. Like other billionaires pretending to care about “achievement” he is improving his own corporate position. The private war on public schools is all about power and money, the power of the billionaires to drive down the costs of mass education by demolishing the professionalism guaranteed by unions, driving out veteran teachers in favor of TFA newbies who impose teacher-proof scripted fill-in-the-blanks curricula, then leave in 2 yrs for careers in ed admin, law, or finance. Yes, capitalism is lowering the wages and reducing the good jobs available to graduates and trying to shift attention an blame away from the masters of the universe who profit from these directions to the students, teachers, and families.

    • Terry C permalink

      Excellent post !!!!

    • Gene Modin permalink

      Regarding the wealth of philanthropists particularly Bill Gates. He has been listed as the wealthiest in the world since about 1995. He was #3 in 2008 and #2 from 2010 until 2013. In 2014, he regained the #1 position. Could it be the return on investment from promoting Common Core (US National Standards)? With Bill Gates giving away so much money, how can his net worth continue to grow? This year he passed Carlos Slim Helu who had been #1 from 2010 until 2013. His current wealth is listed at 78.6 Billion dollars. Could Common Core actually be profitable for him? Maybe profit is not the right word. Does Bill Gates have a part time job we don’t know about?

  6. Mercedes,
    Just remembered another little Gates bomb — unfortunately not available on video. But in a visit this year to Los Alamos, Gates was asked about the progress being made as a result of advances in educational technology — which he promotes as a key to improved student outcomes.

    New technology to engage students holds some promise, but Gates says it tends to only benefit those who are motivated. “And the one thing we have a lot of in the United States is unmotivated students,” Gates said.

    Of course teachers who offer such explanations are obviously making excuses for their inadequacies.

    Here is the article:
    http://www.tulsaworld.com/ap/national/gates-says-fixing-education-toughest-challenge/article_523b7eca-7ce8-5c02-a752-a26fbc11c717.html?mode=jqm

  7. What you describe about students of all types is EXACTLY what I experienced for the thirty years I was in the classroom as a teacher (1975 – 2005).

    And I offered extra credit in the form of alternative assignments—only a very few took advantage of—that even failing students refused to do.

    In addition, the more rewarding and valuable assignments were allowed to be turned in early and done over several times after I graded those assignments each time and pointed out what the student could improve that would improve the grade and increase their learning. Few ever took advantage of these offers that would have improved their grades dramatically.

    For instance, every year 30% – 50% would fail each semester not because of test scores—because 90% of the grade was based on class work and homework and not quizzes, tests or exams—but because they didn’t do enough work to earn a passing grade of even a D-. But there was always at least one student who did all the work including the extra alternative assignments and ended up with a grade of 130% or higher when all it took was 97% to earn an A+. These students would be excused from the semester open book, open note, final exam that came with a study guide (worth only 10% of the total grade) but take the final anyway just to see what they earned on it.

    The C- and below students were many and B- to A+ students were the minority. Failing students were the largest block and the reason they failed was because they wouldn’t do the work—even the easiest assignments designed for those students who read far below grade level. These students were light switched in the off position.

    The schools where I taught had a free and reduced lunch population of 70% or more and a minority population of 92% with only 8% white. The street gang culture was strong and dangerous in that community. Every school had at last one or more campus police officers. Even the grade schools. The high schools had a squad of CPOs who were linked by radio and patrolled the campus on bikes.

    I’m convinced that if I was teaching today, the CCSS testing would label me a failing teacher no matter how hard I worked and how many phone calls I made to parents who never did anything to support what went on in the classroom.

    What do you do with a student who belongs to the same gang his father joined as a teen and his grandfather before him, a student who had already killed a dozen rival gang bangers by the time he turned twelve, a student who never did any of the work but came to class everyday? I taught a few who fit that profile.

    • Victorino Verboten permalink

      Lloyd, when those kids go on to college, many follow the very same patterns that Mercedes and you described. I have been teaching college for over 20 years at several diverse schools, and although I don’t announce it, if students have not submitted their work at all or if they have done a poor job of it, I provide feedback and encourage them to make revisions for more points and submit any missing work late. Very few students ever take me up on it. Some have made it clear that they don’t intend to do the work because they’ve figured out the minimum they can do for the lowest grade that they feel comfortable accepting. Many are just aiming to get by; very few are shooting for the stars.

      I work at one school where faculty are not given the flexibility to grade on Participation, which I really dislike, because that means students can readily predict what it takes to get the final grade that will satisfy them. Other schools allow faculty to give grades for Participation and there I have been able to use the Participation grade to make sure that students who do not participate in each assignment get additional points deducted for that. This means students can’t predict their final grade so easily and plan in advance what they don’t have to complete in order to attain their target grade.

      I think this has gotten progressively worse over the years and I believe it is a result of politicians and their billionaire backers making it clear that scores matter a lot more than actual learning. Thus, a lot of students today are just aiming for “good enough” scores, like a couple students I has last term who decided to not take all the opportunities I offered to raise their scores, did the bare minimum, and were satisfied with getting a final grade of D- in the course. That’s very sad to me.

      • I witnessed it getting worse. Before A Nation at Risk put the (alleged) blame on teachers and schools in 1983, not so much. Parents held their children responsible to learn and those who didn’t hold their children responsible didn’t attack the teachers and play the blame game to cover up their own incompetence as parents. Before 1983, there were much higher ratios of C’s, B’s and A’s earned in my 7th and 8th grade classrooms. I taught in two middle schools from 1978-79 to 1987-88.

        After 1983, everything was almost always the teacher’s fault and through the years the blame game focused on teachers got mean and nasty at times—from both administrators and parents. Some children, being the narcissists and sociopaths that they tend to be see this and then play their parents off against the horrible, incompetent, lazy mean teachers and then the child does little or not work while the parents wage war against the teachers.

        In 1986, I remember our new principal holding his first staff meeting with the teachers and he had a flip chart. On the firs page, it said, “If a teacher writes too many referrals for student behavior, it is the teacher’s fault because that teacher has no control over the children in their classroom.”

        The second page said, “If too many students fail a teacher’s class or earn D’s, it is the teachers fault because the teacher doesn’t motivate the students to learn.”

        This went on for about a half hour. The teachers were stunned and speechless. His last statement was: “Don’t come to me for help. My office door is closed. If you can’t handle the problems in your classroom, then maybe you should not be a teacher.”

        In the next three years over half of the teachers left that school.

        If anyone reading this doubts that far too many children are unrepentant sociopaths, I refer you to this piece in The Onion:

        “MINNEAPOLIS—A study published Monday in The Journal Of Child Psychology And Psychiatry has concluded that an estimated 98 percent of children under the age of 10 are remorseless sociopaths with little regard for anything other than their own egocentric interests and pleasures.”

        http://www.theonion.com/articles/new-study-reveals-most-children-unrepentant-sociop,2870/

        A Nation at Risk led to the billionaire funded vigilante witch trials in the media designed to fool and brainwash ignorant fools—after all, any fool can be a parent.

        At this point I want to stop and point out that some parent will be reading what I just wrote and feel their (programmed) anger rising to the fore so I want to make it clear that not all parents have been programmed by the oligarchs to blame teachers, but I witnessed the number of parents who actually think for themselves and look at the evidence shrink over the years, and it only takes one parent at a time to attack a teacher causing extreme stress and loss of sleep for teachers to leave education—-for ever.

        I could tell far too many stories of being accused of causing a child’s poor grade based on the lies of the child and even after I proved the child lied, there was never an apology from the belligerent parents.

        Before 1983, parents actually trusted teachers for advice. I had one parent come and ask me what she could do to improve her child’s literacy. I told her shut off the TV and read books that you enjoy for about one hour a night as a family and then talk about what you read. This was in 7th grade and the daughter was five years behind in her literacy reading skills.

        The parent was skeptical but followed my advice and a year later, I received a letter from the parent thanking me for that advice, because in one year, according to the literacy test results, the daughter took each year, she had caught up to her grade level. That parent also sent a copy of her letter to the district and it went in my file. The only parent out of 6,000 students in 30 years to ask for my advice, follow through and then thank me.

        After “A Nation at Risk” was promoted heavily by the oligarchs and President Reagan and every president after Reagan, parents teachers interact with—-at least in the district where I taught—were much more combative and less trusting of us lazy, ignorant, overpaid, incompetent teachers.

        Need someone to blame for the damage to children caused by poverty, or the sociopathic, narcissistic, lazy, unmotivated students who refuse to do what it takes to learn, there was always the teacher to blame—after all, that’s what “A Nation at Risk” alleged and Bill Gates, the Waltons and other billionaire oligarchs have spent so much money promoting and repeating for decades.

      • Victorino Verboten permalink

        Lloyd, I had similar experiences after A Nation at Risk. However, you need to know that the Onion is parody. There was no such study indicating that “98 percent of children under the age of 10 are remorseless sociopaths.” That was intended as a joke. See: http://www.justthebabysitter.com/2009/12/kids-are-sociopaths.html

      • No study. Sigh!

      • Gene Modin permalink

        Read some of Marva Collins work. She promoted the idea that Failure is not an option in the classroom. When you get out of school, then you can learn what failure is. Parents should inspire the children, if they don’t, teachers should inspire the children, if they don’t, then they need to inspire themselves, or call in the counselors, or help them find a role model. What does the teacher expect from the student and what does the teacher demand from the student? It helps if the teacher gives them a reason to learn, something that makes it interesting. Without the spark of curiosity, even Common Core (US National Standards) will not be effective.

      • Gene

        I don’t think children should be sheltered from failure (the self esteem movement promoted sheltering children that way), but I also don’t think failure should be manufactured with a preset 70% fail rate (as the corporate educatoin reform movement is doing). Two extremes. Both wrong.

        When we learn from failure, we move closer to achieving success by learning what we did wrong and not repeating it. When we are sheltered from failure, the chance to learn from failure the natural way is taken from us.

  8. Laura H. Chapman permalink

    Gates supports both capitalism and technology as vehicles to drive American K12 public education even as he admits that capitalism over time creates more inequality, and those at the losing end of this capitalistic-created inequality are more likely to be replaced with machines.

    Good summary of his own beliefs and of prospects in the future unless there is a revolution. Enjoy some peace during this season. A bunch of us are grateful for your investigative savvy amplified by the credibility of a front-line worker doing an exemplary job of teaching.

  9. Grrr! We’ve got to get Gates out of the picture somehow! Thanks for your research and then writing your findings in a style that is easy for me to read and comprehend so that I can share with others. Merry Christmas; enjoy the break!

  10. Donna permalink

    AEI treated the parents and students from Newark like criminals during Cami Anderson’s scheduled speech, who only wanted an opportunity to converse with her. You see, THEY don’t want to hear the other side of the story, how their reforms are harming people.

    Cami Anderson, who does not attend meetings, who with Chris Christie stand behind the fact that they, Cami/Christie, run the schools and don’t give a rat’s rear what the parents/students and certainly not what the teachers and that Godforsaken union that should just roll over and die so Cami/Christie could close all the public schools, charterize and reopen the schools, and send the rest of the students to jail, think or have to say. I know. That isn’t a cohesive sentence but when it comes to the wrongdoings of Cami/Christie the thoughts come out at 100 mph. Those who are living it daily, know exactly what I mean.

    Gates is so out of touch with us little peons. He doesn’t realize that the folks who earn $8 bucks an hour pay the same as he does for gasoline, for produce, paper products, etc. We have to heat our homes, feed our kids, clothe our kids, pay for gas and electricity, pay car insurance. There is a great divide between what he can afford and what those beneath him can afford. He speaks out of both sides of his mouth. If only we, the turds, would let him run our lives without question…we’d be living in cardboard boxes down by the river and eating out of garbage cans.

    Malaria vaccine? His money would do more good providing mosquito nets and bug repellant – but let us not forget, there is no return on investment on mosquito nets and bug repellant — better for him to fund a vaccine than to prevent the disease. Maybe he can invest in dentistry and buy those poor kids some candy to promote tooth decay?

  11. Derek permalink

    Somewhere it’s written, “let the evil doers continue their evil ways”. Mercedes do not let these evil people continue to trap you and anger you to the point of distracting others. This is what they want. They will use you to continue their vicious cycle. They thrive from the energy you expend putting them more in the spotlight. As a whole people will not remember in their fame what they did more than who they were by name recognition. That is how evil works. Everyone’s name looks better in lights. Jesus is the light of the world, but Satan was an angel of light also, and he knows how to use light as well as he knows God’s word, hence the name, Lucifer. Do not be afraid because of these people in power to speak of the good or what is working in education. You know it well and would better serve your followers, yourself, and God by doing so. You have rebuked this evil long enough. Now forgive them and the divine will follow and let the evil fail by it’s own designs. This will free you to do and speak of the good in education. If you question what I tell you ask yourself why you continue to teach when we all know what you rage against. People get fed up with things that aren’t working and go into politics or volunteer for service to make a difference. Do not choose the one that is the most corruptible for your sake. May God bless you and guild you, Mercedes. He will if youask him. I appreciate what you have been trying to do all this time. Many prayers.

    • LLC1923 permalink

      Derek’s mind-set is exactly what must be stopped in order to restore public education. Mercedes, keep doing exactly what you are doing and ignore the Dereks of the world who use their energy in prayer without personal action and responsibility for exposing the profiteers. Derek would be better served by standing up to the “evil.” Derek does not speak for me and offers outrageous advice.

  12. Reblogged this on onewomansjournal and commented:
    Gates is NO education expert. He’s for himeself.

  13. Threatened out West permalink

    I would LOVE to have “only” 140 students. That number is too high, but I have 225 8th and 9th grade U.S. History and Geography students, over four different preps. If you want to see the “stack ’em deep and teach ’em cheap” model, check out Utah at some point. Don’t get me wrong–it’s awful everywhere. I’m not trying to one-up anyone.

  14. Dear Ms. Schneider: Let’s say Bill Gates’ approach to education reform is simply dead wrong. Okay. What education reform or improvement should he support? You’ve been very good at telling us WHO is wrong. Your book, A Chronicle of Echoes, is a litany of who has bad ideas, bad motives — who is doing terrible things to hurt U.S. education. Got it. Thanks for that service. Now, isn’t it time you deploy your enormous talents and energy to identifying what is right? or what paths toward useful education support might be taken? Even if Bill Gates is totally wrong … because he is not an educator, etc. … he is, we can all testify, an enormously wealthy person who wishes to do good (yes, again, even if in implementation he is misguided). He apparently wishes to be the 21st century’s Andrew Carnegie, spending his profits to benefit the commonweal. (If only the Koch brothers had such a goal, rather than spending to further increase their profits.) There is no evidence that he intends to STOP spending. So: here is the perfect opportunity for Mercedes Schneider. Broadcast to the world what Bill Gates (and others) might do better, how they might better spend their fortunes making life better for kids and teachers and parents. What an enormous contribution that would be! Perhaps you see it as your role to rally the troops against the Evil Enemy. Might we conclude: you’ve done that?! You’ve been successful! Nice work. Done! Now, next job for someone with your exceptional expertise, intellect, writing ability, and inexhaustible energy? Turn from Identifier of the Problems to Identifier of Solutions! I believe you would find a grateful nation. You might even turn around all Those Terrible Persons you’ve nailed in recent years. Who knows? — they could be convinced to turn from evil to good, spending their resources on what you have helped them/us identify as the Better Path. Respectfully. And Happy New Year!

    • Let Bill purchase what he wants for his own kids.

      Got it?

    • LLC1923 permalink

      Max,
      Why isn’t Bill using the kids at Lakeside as guinea pigs for Common Core with ad nauseam Pearson testing?

      Parents don’t want Bill interfering in local public education issues and like his “small schools” – Common Core will fail!
      Happy New Year!

    • The right methods are what teachers were using and developing long before No Child Left Behind, and that is why when China was rebuilding its education system after Mao destroyed it, China sent teams to Europe and the United States in the late 1970s and early 1980s to study what works best. Those teams returned to China and introduced reforms, but not reforms run by greedy CEO’s, oligarchs and corporations. In China, education is based on merit—-not self esteem or profit.

      Just in case you’ve heard that China is a testing monster, there are only three major tests and they are used to rank students by merit for placement in middle school, high school and college in either academic schools or vocational. The student’s rank on one those three tests—the biggest one being from HS to college or vocational schools—places students in schools according to their test score and when the seats are gone in the academic schools the rest are offered vocational training or allowed to attend expensive private schools but not paid for by taxpayers.

      In recent years, while the US has been ramping up testing to insane levels, the Chinese have been debating cutting back on the importance of the few tests they do have.

      Who earned the #1 position on the last two PISA tests? Shanghai, China, and where did China learn how to teach their children? The answer is simple: from the U.S. starting in the early 1980s even before “A Nation at Risk” and even longer before NCLB and the rest of the fake reformer insanity how to rebuild their schools.

      A lot of what goes on in Chinese classrooms these days are exactly what U.S. teachers were doing before NCLB, but the Chinese weren’t satisfied with America’s teacher training programs so they borrows from the top scoring PISA countries in Europe and teachers in China go through a year of training with master teachers with follow up support. In China, if a teacher has a passion for teaching and needs help to improve, China’s schools offer that help—-they aren’t ranking and yanking teachers and closing public schools so some oligarch’s corporation can profit off it..

      I think it is ironic that China students in Shanghai are cleaning house on the PISA in an education system modeled after the United States and the best public school systems in Europe—-pre “A Nation at Risk” and NCLB—while Bill Gates and the other authoritarian oligarchs are doing all they can to dismantle the same system in the U.S. and any other Western countries they can buy.

      China studied what worked best, adopted it and did not chase after an unproven market based model that has already been failing for more than two decades.

  15. Yes, I do get it. I read your blog. I read Chapter 23 of your book. Well reasoned, well written. Your readers are smart, I would gather, so I suspect we all get it. And thanks again for pointing it out. I suspect Bill and Melinda do and will continue to pay for the best education possible for their kids. And then what? Do you think for one minute that continued criticism of what Gates funds in his pursuit to improve American education will convince him to stop funding such efforts? I don’t. (It is usually safe to put one’s bets on the rich guy!) You may believe that he’s not sincere, that he has no interest in improving education, that his funding efforts are a ruse, designed for some unspecified evil intent. I would posit that there is no evidence to support that belief. Like him, hate him, ignore him. He has concluded that he will use much of his wealth to make the world better. There is no reason to believe he will stop that pursuit. There may well have been folks who suggested that Andrew Carnegie not build libraries, but I doubt that he would have stopped. Your view may be that Carnegie’s libraries were a good thing and that Gates’ ed reform initiatives are ill-designed. That’s fair. But I doubt that Gates will stop spending money on something he genuinely believes will improve the world. So: you certainly can MAKE SURE that we all “get it.” You have the right to rail about every dime Gates spends. And I’m not suggesting that doing so is not a public service. It may, indeed, be quite useful criticism. I certainly respect smart, well-intended critics. You’re quite good at being one. And if that’s the path you choose, fine. You write well. I’ll read your posts and books, and I’m sure others will, as well. My point, in case I did not make it adequately, above, is that you have another choice. You can turn those enormous talents to helping the nation figure out what works and SHOULD be supported. Perhaps Bill et al will learn from that and change courses. Perhaps not. But you will have made an incredible contribution to what we would all agree is the most important work ahead of us all: improving life for our children. Forget Gates if you will. He’ll do what he does. Help the rest of the nation figure out how to make the wisest contributions, in time and effort and intellectual energy — and, yes, financially, in making our schools the best they can be. We need that more than anything. With great respect. May your 2015 be productive and happy.

    • Max, you need not write another word.
      The matter is settled for me.
      I will continue to write about Gates so often as I please.

      Happy 2015 to you, as well.

  16. And we’ll be reading every word. If that’s your chosen role in life, go for it and bless you.
    Here’s my 2015 fantasy wish: that Bill Gates hands to you all his wealth with the stipulation that you spend it on education. I’d then be interested in watching how you choose to use those resources. I know you believe that you’d make smarter decisions than he has. Fine. It would be fascinating to see what those decisions might be.
    And here’s my 2015 more realistic wish: that you continue to write anything that pleases you, of course, but that you devote one blog every 90 days or so to writing about something that is good, positive in education. That would be useful for all of us.
    May the sunshine be on your back!

    • LLC1923 permalink

      Follow Max and WestEd to the Gates Foundation mega-bucks. Shine the light on you Max!

    • Follow the money to the Gates Foundation. Max and other apologists for the corporate reformers/profiteers are always on the payroll or getting a kickback or working to trash public schools for personal gain.

      Mercedes, keep exposing reformer fraud!

      • policyjazz permalink

        😉 Whoops, LLC, appreciate the promise of illumination, but the spotlight is misdirected.
        I’ve been a public school supporter my entire life — public school educated, public university educated, public school teacher, public school advocate. Misdirected flashlight, I’m afraid.
        Curiously, I saw your post on 12/31, the day in which I write personal, annual, end-of-year checks to local public schools. Not charters, not private: public.
        Bravo: public school teachers; they are deserving of 10-times the support our parsimonious state legislators (and often taxpayers) provide.
        I’m also a Mercedes fan: super talented researcher, writer. My intent (above) was but to suggest that her identification of problems be balanced with proposals of positive, alternative solutions. To quote a literary social critic a lot smarter than I: “What does the critic leave but a trail of noted annoyance? Give me, instead, the weaver’s bequest, which, if even imperfect fabric, offers warmth, not vexation’s chill.” [George Bernard Shaw, “Letters, 1920-1945”]
        Best wishes to you, too, LLC. May 2015 provide you great warmth.

  17. Brilliant, as always, Mercedes. Happy New Year.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Common Core Weekend Reads – 12-28-14 | Lady Liberty 1885
  2. Schneider on Bill Gates, Our Leading Education Expert | Diane Ravitch's blog

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