Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ed Etc.

College dropout Bill Gates is truly beyond the pale:

In an April Washington Post op-ed, Bill Gates added his voice to this chorus. Achievement scores, he argues, should not be the primary basis for determining which teachers get fired and which get rewarded. "I'm all for accountability," Gates wrote, "but I understand teachers' concerns and frustrations. . . . If we aren't careful to build a system that provides feedback and that teachers trust, this opportunity to dramatically improve the U.S. education system will be wasted."

Gates held up for special ridicule a "Physical Education Evaluation Instrument," used by the Ohio Department of Education, to assess gym teachers on (among other measures) how fluidly students can skip and how accurately they can throw a ball underhand. While this looks like a perfect shooting-fish-in-a-barrel example of test mania, his criticism is more than a little hypocritical, since Gates himself has been a driving force in promoting such metrics in every dimension of teaching.

In 2009, Gates announced a $290 million donation to the Tampa, Memphis and Pittsburgh school systems, along with a charter consortium in Los Angeles, to implement a system that relies heavily on test scores in rewarding and punishing teachers. These districts were expected to devise quantitative measures for every subject--including phys ed. What's more, Gates has poured millions into organizations like the Data Quality Campaign, the National Council on Teacher Quality and groups like Teach Plus, which advocate such hyper-accountability. The educators Gates lambasts were doing precisely what he was demanding.

Add to the fact he has tainted the AFT.

He can talk out of both sides of his mouth, but he has long discredited himself.

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