The Math Forum



Search All of the Math Forum:

Views expressed in these public forums are not endorsed by NCTM or The Math Forum.


Math Forum » Discussions » Professional Associations » ncsm-members

Topic: [ncsm-members] Bill Gates has a(nother) billion-dollar plan for K-12 public education
Replies: 0  

Advanced Search

Back to Topic List Back to Topic List  
Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,480
Registered: 12/3/04
[ncsm-members] Bill Gates has a(nother) billion-dollar plan for K-12 public education
Posted: Oct 21, 2017 6:47 PM
  Click to see the message monospaced in plain text Plain Text   Click to reply to this topic Reply
att1.html (14.5 K)

*********************************
From the Washington Post -- Valerie Strauss' Answer Sheet blog,
Thurday, October 12, 2017.SEE
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/10/19/bill-gates-has-another-plan-for-k-12-public-education-the-others-didnt-go-so-well/?utm_term=.381cff64296e
*********************************
Bill Gates has a(nother) billion-dollar plan for K-12 public
education. The others didn't go so well.

By Valerie Strauss

Bill Gates has a(nother) plan for K-12 public education. The others
didn't go so well, but the man, if anything, is persistent.

Gates announced Thursday that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
would spend more than $1.7 billion over the next five years to pay
for new initiatives in public education, with all but 15 percent of
it going to traditional public school districts and the rest to
charter schools. (When he said this, the audience at the 2017
conference of the nonprofit Council of the Great City Schools
applauded, perhaps because many education philanthropists direct the
bulk of their education giving on charter schools, which are publicly
funded but privately operated. Gates supports them as well.)

He said most of the new money - about 60 percent - will be used to
develop new curriculums and "networks of schools" that work together
to identify local problems and solutions, using data to drive
"continuous improvement." He said that over the next several years,
about 30 such networks would be supported, though he didn't describe
exactly what they are. The first grants will go to high-needs schools
and districts in six to eight states, which went unnamed.

Though there wasn't a lot of detail on exactly how the money would be
spent, Gates, a believer in using big data to solve problems,
repeatedly said foundation grants given to schools as part of this
new effort would be driven by data. "Each [school] network will be
backed by a team of education experts skilled in continuous
improvement, coaching and data collection and analysis," he said, an
emphasis that is bound to worry critics already concerned about the
amount of student data already collected and the way it is used for
high-stakes decisions. In 2014, a $100 million student data
collection project funded by the Gates foundation collapsed amid
criticism that it couldn't adequately protect information collected
on children.

[The astonishing amount of data being collected about your children
-- SEE
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/11/12/the-astonishing-amount-of-data-being-collected-about-your-children/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.b3ebea6b9802
]

Gates praised the Common Core State Standards, which he essentially
made possible by spending hundreds of millions of dollars to fund its
creation, implementation and promotion. He said his foundation would
continue to support the development of quality curriculums and
professional development related to the Common Core, which was
initially a bipartisan effort adopted by most states but later became
politically charged and controversial, with some states dropping the
standards or changing the name. (President Trump and Education
Secretary Betsy DeVos say they are opposed to the Core - which was
adopted by most states - and want to eliminate it, but only officials
in those states can decide to replace it.)

[Gates Foundation chief admits Common Core mistakes -- SEE
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/11/12/the-astonishing-amount-of-data-being-collected-about-your-children/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.b3ebea6b9802
]

Education philanthropy is a time-recognized tradition in the United
States, though it has become increasingly popular among America's
superwealthy since Gates started in 2000. This has raised questions
about whether American democracy is well-served by wealthy people
pouring so much money into pet education projects - regardless of
whether they are grounded in research - that public policy and
funding follow. That concern has been directed most pointedly at
Gates, because his foundation has spent the most by far on education
philanthropy, and because he was pivotal in advancing some of the
controversial priorities of the Obama administration's Education
Department.

Gates has underwritten a number of projects that have had
less-than-desired results, which he has conceded over the years as he
moves from one to another, sometimes acknowledging mistakes made. In
2014, he gave a nearly hour-long interview at Harvard University in
which he said, "It would be great if our education stuff worked, but
that we won't know for probably a decade."

On Thursday, Gates said he will no longer fund a major multiyear
project to create teacher evaluation systems that in part use student
standardized test scores, a method experts said shouldn't be used for
such high-stakes decisions. The Obama administration pushed the
effort, which became highly controversial and led to a rebellion
among parents, students and teachers against high-stakes standardized
tests. After giving hundreds of millions of dollars to some school
districts to create these programs, Gates seemed to realize in 2013
that things weren't going as planned, and he wrote in an op-ed in The
Washington Post:

As states and districts rush to implement new teacher development and
evaluation systems, there is a risk they'll use hastily contrived,
unproven measures. One glaring example is the rush to develop new
assessments in grades and subjects not currently covered by state
tests. Some states and districts are talking about developing tests
for all subjects, including choir and gym, just so they have
something to measure.

The teacher evaluation project came after an expensive three-year
project that was designed, as a foundation news release said, "to
determine how to best identify and promote great teaching." Part of
it involved videotaping teachers and giving surveys to students to
see what engaged them in class. The news release said the project
"has demonstrated that it is possible to identify great teaching by
combining three types of measures: classroom observations, student
surveys and student achievement gains." That, after millions of
dollars spent.

The effective teaching project followed the foundation's $650 million
investment, which began in 2000, to create small schools in New York
City. The foundation dropped the effort nine years later. Why? The
foundation's 2009 annual letter said, "The hope was that after a few
years they would operate at the same cost per student as before, but
they would have become much more effective," and, "Many of the small
schools that we invested in did not improve students' achievement in
any significant way." However, on Thursday, Gates said something
different. In his speech, as prepared for delivery and provided by
the foundation:

In New York City, graduation rates of students attending small
schools was more than 30 percentage points higher than the schools
they replaced. And almost half of the students attending small
schools enrolled in postsecondary education - a more than 20 percent
difference from schools with similar demographics.

In his speech, Gates said that education philanthropy was difficult,
in part because it is easy to "fool yourself" about what works and
whether it can be easily scaled. He closed his remarks with this:

Our role is to serve as a catalyst of good ideas, driven by the same
guiding principle we started with: all students - but especially
low-income students and students of color - must have equal access to
a great public education that prepares them for adulthood. We will
not stop until this has been achieved, and we look forward to
continued partnership with you in this work in the years to come.

Gates is an innovator, and innovators like to try things and move on
if something doesn't work. In business, that can work well, but it is
hard to negotiate in education, where children are the focus and
experimentation can be difficult and result in unintended
consequences that can be harmful.

[What are Bill and Melinda Gates talking about? -- SEE
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2015/10/19/what-are-bill-and-melinda-gates-talking-about/?tid=a_inl&utm_term=.33b374c8fcda
------------------------------
SIDEBAR PHOTO: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-founder Bill Gates
speaks onstage during Goalkeepers: The Global Goals 2017 at Jazz at
Lincoln Center on Sept. 20, 2017, in New York City. (Jamie
McCarthy/Getty Images for Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)
--------------------------------
Valerie Strauss covers education and runs The Answer Sheet blog.
Follow @valeriestrauss
****************************************************
****************************************************
COMMENTS BY DIANE RAVITCH REGARDING THE ARTICLE ABOVE:

After two high-profile failures that he acknowledges, and one
high-profile failure that he does not acknowledge, Bill Gates is
ready to start reforming the schools of America again.

He jumped into school reform in 2000 with his plan to break up the
nation's high schools into small schools. He promised dramatic test
score gains. It wasn't a terrible idea, but it did not get the score
gains he wanted, and he gathered the creme de la creme to his digs in
Seattle to announce that he was abandoning small schools. Valerie
says he dumped $650 Million into that, but my own Research says it
was $2 Billion.

His next obsession was evaluating teachers by the test scores of
their teachers. He partnered with Arne Duncan on that; Arne made it a
condition of Race to the Top funding. The ratings were criticized by
the American Statistical Association, the National Academy of
Education, AERA, and many individual scholars. Butz Duncan and Gates
plowed ahead. The Los Angeles Times and the New York Post published
the ratings of individual teachers. Duncan congratulated them for
doing so. A teacher in Los Angeles committed suicide after his
ratings were published. Gates gave out hundreds of millions to
districts that adopted his evaluations. Hillsborough County, Florida,
won $100 Million to apply Gates' ideas about teaching, and the
district exhausted its reserves and abandoned the plan. Gates paid up
only $80 Million, and the district was left holding the bag.

Now Gates has given up on that idea, although many states are still
sticking with it. Thousands of teachers and principals have been
fired based on the ideas sold by Gates and Duncan, but that's not of
any interest to him.

The failure that Gates does not yet admit is the Common Core. He paid
hundreds of millions for its development and promotion, and he still
loves the idea of standardizing education. He refuses to accept that
it's dead man walking.

So what's his new idea? I'm not really sure, so I will quote Valerie.
My hunch is that he is still pushing Common Core, but it is not clear.

He said 85% of the money will go to public schools and the rest to
charter schools. Knowing that Gates is a charter zealot, one must
wonder what medicine (or poison) he is offering.

"He said most of the new money - about 60 percent - will be used to
develop new curriculums and "networks of schools" that work together
to identify local problems and solutions, using data to drive
"continuous improvement." He said that over the next several years,
about 30 such networks would be supported, though he didn't describe
exactly what they are. The first grants will go to high-needs schools
and districts in six to eight states, which went unnamed.

"Though there wasn't a lot of detail on exactly how the money would
be spent, Gates, a believer in using big data to solve problems,
repeatedly said foundation grants given to schools as part of this
new effort would be driven by data. "Each [school] network will be
backed by a team of education experts skilled in continuous
improvement, coaching and data collection and analysis," he said, an
emphasis that is bound to worry critics already concerned about the
amount of student data already collected and the way it is used for
high-stakes decisions."

What is he up to? Big data? Common Core? Data mining?

I have often said and written that if he really wanted to help
children, he would open health clinics in their schools. He would
provide doctors to supply good maternal care to pregnant women. He
would not tell teachers how to teach or get involved in evaluating
teachers or writing curriculum. He would stop pretending he knows how
to reform education and do something that is actually needed.

After 17 years of failure, has he learned nothing?

****************************************************
--
Jerry P. Becker
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
College of Education and Human Services
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
625 Wham Drive / MC 4610
Carbondale, Illinois 62901



Point your RSS reader here for a feed of the latest messages in this topic.

[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]

© The Math Forum at NCTM 1994-2017. All Rights Reserved.