June 5, 2017

Word: The educational failures of the Gates Foundation

LA Times editorial board - The Gates Foundation’s first significant foray into education reform, in 1999, revolved around Bill Gates’ conviction that the big problem with high schools was their size. Students would be better off in smaller schools of no more than 500, he believed. The foundation funded the creation of smaller schools, until its own study found that the size of the school didn’t make much difference in student performance. When the foundation moved on, school districts were left with costlier-to-run small schools. Just a murder-suicide in a small UCLA office. And so America shrugs

Then the foundation set its sights on improving teaching, specifically through evaluating and rewarding good teaching. But it was not always successful. In 2009, it pledged a gift of up to $100 million to the Hillsborough County, Fla., schools to fund bonuses for high-performing teachers, to revamp teacher evaluations and to fire the lowest-performing 5%. In return, the school district promised to match the funds. But, according to reports in the Tampa Bay Times, the Gates Foundation changed its mind about the value of bonuses and stopped short of giving the last $20 million; costs ballooned beyond expectations, the schools were left with too big a tab and the least-experienced teachers still ended up at low-income schools. The program, evaluation system and all, was dumped. Paid Post What's This? Forget Social Security if you Own a Home (Do This)

The Gates Foundation strongly supported the proposed Common Core curriculum standards, helping to bankroll not just their development, but the political effort to have them quickly adopted and implemented by states. Here, [foundation CEO Sue] Desmond-Hellmann wrote in her May letter, the foundation also stumbled. The too-quick introduction of Common Core, and attempts in many states to hold schools and teachers immediately accountable for a very different form of teaching, led to a public backlash.

“Unfortunately, our foundation underestimated the level of resources and support required for our public education systems to be well-equipped to implement the standards,” Desmond-Hellmann wrote. “We missed an early opportunity to sufficiently engage educators — particularly teachers — but also parents and communities, so that the benefits of the standards could take flight from the beginning.

“This has been a challenging lesson for us to absorb, but we take it to heart. The mission of improving education in America is both vast and complicated, and the Gates Foundation doesn’t have all the answers.”

It was a remarkable admission for a foundation that had often acted as though it did have all the answers. Today, the Gates Foundation is clearly rethinking its bust-the-walls-down strategy on education — as it should. And so should the politicians and policymakers, from the federal level to the local, who have given the educational wishes of Bill and Melinda Gates and other well-meaning philanthropists and foundations too much sway in recent years over how schools are run.


Anonymous said...

For the last damn time and this is no small point it's the crux of every problem: Bill Gates is NOT a philanthropist - not if philanthropist means someone who gives money. Bill Gates is the RECIPIENT of society's philanthropy, he is the RECIPIENT of society's mad overgenerosity to the rich, he has been heaped with an insane and unjustifiable overfortune - he is awash in wealth that he did not earn by his own work, he has gigapower he wields (so ignorantly and harmfully - see article) given him by society's insane custom/tradition of taking and taking and taking from the working people to egregiously over-reward a fraction few families far far far beyond what it is possible for anyone to earn by his own WORK. For god sake what do people think compound interest paid on money MEANS, anyway??!! The first thousand is harder to make then the second million, let alone the thirtieth billion!! SAY WHAT?

Anonymous said...

6:38 AM:
Philanthropist does mean someone who gives money (even if they do actually receive it) - for reasons of self-promotion, and as a lame substitute for the generous and anonymous grants which are the basis of socialism.

Philanthropists such as Bill Gates, and money generally, are glorified by the media in order to help defeat the inevitable rise of socialism, where quality of life rules, and money is not of great importance.

Anonymous said...

"generous and anonymous grants"? Are you serious? You want to base a society on the whims of wealthpower giants and just hope they will see their way fit to donate a wee bit of justice in wealth to working families? Please! Justice is NOT theirs to give or withhold at whim - JUSTICE belongs inherently to all humans - and money, or pay, justice belongs to the working people who create the world's wealth! And as for money being unimportant that is bullshit. Money is symbolic wealth - symbol of the work people do providing services and producing goods. Work is he sacrifice of time and energies, and work is the first fundamental of staying alive - or had you not noticed that food doesn't just jump into our mouths? Bird no catchee worm bird no eatee! The insertion of money between work and eat does nothing to change the fundamental situation humans are in. Self-earned money is all good - it is as good as eating the vegetables you grew yourself. It is humans being allowed to get and keep other-earned wealth that is the injustice driving this world to hell in a handbasket! Every theft, legal or not, comes with an angry person attached. People are never going to stop trying to get justice - and if you are for putting all the wealth in the hands of the state I remind you that the question is not what form does the state take, the question is always WHO is the state?! There will always be PERSONS at the top of the state, and piling all the wealth that actually belongs to the earners is convenient for thieves. NO. The wealth no more belongs in the hands of the state than it belongs in the hands of a few wealthpower giants! World's Wealth for the World's Working Families in proportion to their sacrifice to working - no more and no less! THIS IS PAY JUSTICE and it is the non-negotiable price of human survival ever since E=mc2! Our choice now is not between pay justice and everescalating miseries - it is now between pay justice and extinction.