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Tue Feb 5, 2013, 01:55 AM

 

Is This What Bill Gates Means by Good Education?

Last week, Bill Gates wrote an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal in which he explained how to solve the world’s biggest problems. The article was titled, modestly, “My Plan to Fix the World’s Biggest Problems.” The answer is simple: Measurement.

To prove his point in education, he pointed to the Eagle Valley High School, near Vail, Colorado. He said that the school adopted his recommendations about measuring teacher quality, and test scores went up.

Drawing input from 3,000 classroom teachers, the project highlighted several measures that schools should use to assess teacher performance, including test data, student surveys and assessments by trained evaluators. Over the course of a school year, each of Eagle County’s 470 teachers is evaluated three times and is observed in class at least nine times by master teachers, their principal and peers called mentor teachers. The Eagle County evaluations are used to give a teacher not only a score but also specific feedback on areas to improve and ways to build on their strengths. In addition to one-on-one coaching, mentors and masters lead weekly group meetings in which teachers collaborate to spread their skills. Teachers are eligible for annual salary increases and bonuses based on the classroom observations and student achievement.


What he didn’t mention was another interesting and sad fact about the school. Last May, it laid off its three foreign language teachers and replaced them with a computer program.

The board bought a foreign language teaching program. The students will have to pay $150 per semester to take the computer course.


Is this good education? Would they do that at Lakeside Academy in Seattle, where Bill Gates went to school? Or would they boast of their foreign language department?

http://dianeravitch.net/2013/02/04/is-this-what-bill-gates-means-by-good-education/


Every dollar that goes to evaluation is a dollar taken out of the classroom & given to administrative overhead and corporations. Every hour spent on meetings is an hour taken out of the classroom. Every dollar spent on 'bonuses' = fewer teachers.

As for 'spreading teaching skills,' teaching is one of the truly collaborative enterprises. Teachers routinely share materials and techniques -- or did, until the education deformers made teaching a competition for jobs, and invented professional 'coaches'.

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Arrow 19 replies Author Time Post
Reply Is This What Bill Gates Means by Good Education? (Original post)
HiPointDem Feb 2013 OP
iemitsu Feb 2013 #1
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #2
iemitsu Feb 2013 #19
davidn3600 Feb 2013 #3
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #4
Victor_c3 Feb 2013 #11
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #12
Rex Feb 2013 #5
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #6
Rex Feb 2013 #7
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #8
ljm2002 Feb 2013 #9
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #10
icymist Feb 2013 #13
cemaphonic Feb 2013 #14
ReRe Feb 2013 #15
HiPointDem Feb 2013 #16
ReRe Feb 2013 #18
xchrom Feb 2013 #17

Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:14 AM

1. Bill Gates is the bain of educators all around America.

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Response to iemitsu (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:25 AM

2. Bill Gates is a pox on humanity generally.

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 09:03 AM

19. I could rant about Gates all day but I have to prepare to be constantly measured.


To earn an "Excellent" on this year's evaluation one's students must demonstrate that they can read the directions from the board, preform all tasks listed with the assignment, discuss an issues with each other (in the context of a classroom discussion) and finish the daily work, all without any disruptions of un-necessary talking. Most classes in graduate school don't have students who can perform in this manner, must less Middle-School or High School kids.
And their behavior determines how successful I am as a teacher.
The expectations are impossible to achieve and are designed to demoralize teachers and make them feel inadequate.
Bill Gates' "Taylorism" fantasy is not the panacea for all social ills.
Perhaps if one only dealt with motivated children of the elite this would seem practical or reasonable but public schools do not cater to that crowd.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:25 AM

3. It works for the university system

When I was in college, at the end of the course, we had to fill out an evaluation that covered everything from the professor to the content of the course, to the textbook, to the facilities at the school. It takes 15 minutes. The administration reads these evaluations and consider their recommendations when it comes time to give raises or promotions to professors or even if a course should be renewed or not. Or if the textbook should be re-evaluated.

Why is this such a horrific thing to do in public schools? Are you suggesting teachers should be given the job and not have any evaluation, not have any constructive criticism, not have any feedback in what they are doing?

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Response to davidn3600 (Reply #3)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:28 AM

4. Public schools have been doing evaluations since they were founded. You don't get it. We're not

 

talking about *one* evaluation at the end of the year; we're talking about *dozens* of evaluations, of both teachers and students, given literally every month, taking hours of time out of the classroom, and BILLIONS of dollars out of education.

YES, BILLIONS. AND MORE BILLIONS TO COME AS THE EDUCATION DEFORM PLAN RAMPS UP.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #4)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:37 AM

11. And don't forget that, unlike the defense budget, education spending isn't important and guaranteed

by the government.

If education was so important to our children, then why do we as a country tolerate it taking a back seat in our budgets? I guess there isn't any glory to be had as a country if we aren't spending all of our time and resources killing and maiming people.

There is no way we could be a proud and glorious country by merely taking care of our sick and educating our children.

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Response to Victor_c3 (Reply #11)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 04:02 AM

12. +1

 

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:33 AM

5. Bill Gates should be forced to go back and fix Window Me.

Letting him anywhere near the public school system in this country is a bad idea imo.

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Response to Rex (Reply #5)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:35 AM

6. God yes. though i actually doubt he *could* fix it. He wasn't the skilled programmer in that bunch

 

or so I heard. He was the guy with the business connections.

I doubt he's kept up since the early days of MS.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #6)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:38 AM

7. I just wish he would understand that giving money to the system

doesn't give you any special privileges. For all his grandiose plans, I wonder has he ever served on a local school board?

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Response to Rex (Reply #7)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 02:39 AM

8. it *does* give you special privileges. it gives you the right to direct policy, and the rich have

 

been doing it since the foundation of the country.

it's just gotten more blatant -- because it's more corrupt.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:15 AM

9. Bill Gates is of course one of the elite...

...and as such, his children will never have to deal with schools that have to choose between constant testing vs. offering enrichment programs such as music, language, art and drama. They will never have to deal with schools that have 50 students in a classroom and that don't have current text books, or sometimes any text books at all.

I don't know if he is sincere in his efforts; and I don't really care. All he knows is the corporate model. I've worked in a few different corporations and have observed first-hand the use of measurement for everything. It isn't all it's cracked up to be. It's kind of like painting by the numbers: the results are predictable, not innovative. And that makes sense, when you think about it. If you are driven purely by measurements, then you will get exactly the results you are measuring for (well you will also get corruption, such as principals and teachers who falsify test results -- but that is a different discussion). Therefore it becomes hard to innovate because to go off-program means that your measured results will not look as good, at least for awhile. Managers don't want their numbers to look bad, so they will stick with the program at all costs, regardless of whether it is best for the company. They won't say a word about it either, because it won't help their career.

The great ideas and innovations did not start out as measured activities. They occurred to people with imagination, who looked at what exists and thought up different ways of doing things. Being driven by measurement alone means you may become more efficient at doing what you already know how to do; it does not provide incentives for innovation.

I am not arguing against measurement, by the way. I am arguing against measurement as the be-all and end-all. It is very stifling approach. Our whole societal setup these days puts everyone under measurements: credit scores and ideal weights and IQ and all the rest of it. But the changes that we need will not arise out of these systems. They will come from people with vision, and as of yet we have not figured out how to measure that trait. I don't believe we will. It's like the nature of light: it's both a particle and a wave. Human nature is both analytical and holistic. By squashing the creative side we are squandering a huge part of what makes us human. And by taking away all the enrichment programs in so many public schools we are squandering our children's futures.

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Response to ljm2002 (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 03:22 AM

10. +1

 

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Response to ljm2002 (Reply #9)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:00 AM

13. Wow! You have a grip on it!

+1000

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:06 AM

14. Would they do that at Lakeside Academy in Seattle, where Bill Gates went to school?

Haha, lord no

Middle School

High School

They do things like interview native French speakers for a documentary, and sending their Chinese teacher to China on sabbatical.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:07 AM

15. Gates "Plan to Fix the World's Biggest Problems" =

Gates plan to put more money in his pocket by eventually eliminating the need for teachers, period. Computerization of all schools. Roboticization of the Dept of Education. And eventually, all of our children will be educated by their computers at home. Gone will be the social interaction between teachers and students, students and students.

What I think the word's biggest problems are are entrepreneurs like Bill Gates with dollar signs in their minds eyes. Our biggest problem is not being able to understand or see how vulture capitalists have us as a species in their talons. Picking apart our commons.

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Response to ReRe (Reply #15)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 05:13 AM

16. Exactly. Bill Gates & his ilk -- the people who crashed the world economy through massive fraud,

 

the people withholding tax money by locking it up in tax-free private foundations, the tax-free investment profits of which they can use to make entire countries do their bidding, the people laundering the drug money gained through the blood and lives of the poor, the weapons manufacturers selling death to the third world, the frackers and exxons & coal companies polluting water supplies, driving indigenous people off their land, removing entire mountains --

it goes on and fucking on.

These people are the biggest problems in the world today. These people have too much power.

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Response to HiPointDem (Reply #16)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:16 AM

18. K&R

Absofuckinglutely! And the saddest thing about it all is that it seems we have no recourse but to figure out how to live with it. It's all one big tragedy, if you think of what we could have done for good instead bad. Their interpretation of the word progress has nothing to do with the real meaning of the word. We are going backward, not forward. We look back at the fall of Rome, and realize that we are now looking at the fall of the world.

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Response to HiPointDem (Original post)

Tue Feb 5, 2013, 06:15 AM

17. Du rec. Nt

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