September 30, 2014

Bill Gates compares America's students to electric plugs and railroad tracks

Robby Soave, Hit & Run -  Bill Gates was atypically direct about what peddlers of standardization are trying to accomplish during a Politico event. Rather than defend Common Core from accusations of creeping nationalization, he finally confirmed that yes, this is exactly what Core proponents are trying to accomplish—less local autonomy is a good thing, as he says in the video:

    "Common Core I would have thought of as more of a technocratic issue. The basic idea of, 'should we share an electrical plug across the country?' Well, you can get partisan about that I suppose. Should Georgia have a different railroad width than everybody else? Should they teach multiplication in a different way? Oh that's brilliant [sarcasm], who came up with that idea? Common Core, the idea that what you should know at various grades, that that should be well-structured and you should really insist on kids knowing something so you can build on it, I did not really expect that to become a big political issue."

There you have it. Gates views the education system—the many myriad ways Americans could pass on knowledge to their children—as akin to choosing the correct railroad track size. The implication is obvious: after all, there is only one right railroad track size! Similarly, there is only one correct way to teach children, and all children must be taught that way, according to Gates.

This way of thinking goes against everything the reform movement has come to understand over the last few decades about what works in schools: greater standardization is not the answer; schools languish under stifling centralization; every kid is unique and has different educational needs; and local authorities—especially parents—are best suited to the task of plotting their children's educational paths.

Nurturing the mind of a child is an infinitely more complex task than choosing an electrical plug. It's not as simple as plugging the right cord into a child's brain and flipping a switch.


Anonymous said...

In order to preserve their education system the Lakota hid children from the imposed system. Today an option is home schooling. The optimal program would be that which Charles Sumner undertook as a child, history, latin, euro. literature, french, geography, art music with practical political education, father was a lawyer and sheriff. Sumner was unique in his courage, but his education prepared him. The education if Henry Adams asserts that the padt does not prepares, except that somehow paradoxically it does. Sumner was prepared to be president with the impeachment of Andrew Johnson, but probably the idea never occurred to him.

Anonymous said...

Is it wrong to ask what else we should expect from a childlike, autistic corporate predator?

I would pay serious money to see what's on Gates' doodling pad.

MAMADOC said...

Gates is a brilliant asshole, always has been and will be... Basically IGNORANT in so many ways... That is where the problema comes in... people who have been successful at milking the predatory system we are still living in, are listened to as if they should know what is best when all they know is what is good for their mounting fortunes (inevitably to collapse, sooner than later...)

Anonymous said...

'We\'ve gotten everything mixed up.

We saw a man in a factory say, "I can guarantee that if you put piece A and piece B and piece C together according to this blueprint, you will get the following result, and I can guarantee it will happen every time."

We saw that, and it seemed good.

And so we took it to our schools. "Put text A and kit B and qualified teacher C together according to this blueprint, and we can guarantee they will all read at level D at the end of one year."

We tried that, and it was not good.

--Eliot Wigginton, teacher and founder of the Foxfire oral history project in Georgia