Bill Gates is apparently an expert on educational policy

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by porque_pig, Nov 20, 2010.

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  1. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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  3. DallasTeacher

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    I actually agree with Gates. Seniority does not necessarily make a teacher better. My teaching "partner" has over 15 years in the public school teaching, yet her students score much lower on district tests and other assessments than mine - almost 50 points lower. Why should she get paid for seniority? Also I'm being paid for having a Ph.D. that relates in no way to teaching. Innovation in the classroom and student avhievement are what should be rewarded, not years of service.
     
  4. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    My concern: what about teachers who don't teach tested subjects? In most cases, "student achievement" means test scores. It seems that teachers who don't teach subjects with standardized tests are left out of the merit pay system.

    Also, a lot of school districts require that advanced degrees be directly related to the subject being taught. Many teachers spend a lot of time, money, and energy on earning degrees and board certification (also, I'm neck-deep in a Master's program now and am having a hard time seeing the light at the end of the tunnel--I would hate to discover that people like me are wasting their time in good programs).
     
  5. DallasTeacher

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    I teach 4 classes that are not "state" tested but my students do take benchmarks and other common assessments. I am part of a pilot program involving Gates and have a video camera in my classroom that actively records. The Gates Foundation is trying to develop another way to measure teachers beyond just test scores. I'm being paid something like $3000 over a two year period for allowing cameras in my class. I'm notified during the time period the camera can be on, but not the specific day. I know last year I was recorded coming down sternly on a boy and calling his probation officer. I didn't know the cameras where on but I received a follow-up asking what had happened to the young man.

    It's a tough call but there are too many folks in the teaching field who should not be there. I see too many during the interview process, which we happen to still be going through as we have 2 slots to fill due to enrollment.
     
  6. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    So they can't come up with another way to measure teachers besides video taping them and their students? WOW. Seems obtrusive to me unless used to ensure student safety. I still think Bill Gates if way off the mark with most of what he promotes, but I didn't read this article, I've had enough of him and others like him for the rest of my life.
     
  7. nasirahc83

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    I am also in a master's program but it is towards earning certification and in one of my classes the professor inform us that there are studies that claim class size has no impact on learning but in my persepctive, I teach only 14 students but another teacher has 24 and she always looks overwhelm therefore, I think class size does have an impact. especially in lower elm. I know in Maryland they cut the teacher aides out kindergarten due to cost.
     
  8. Major

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    Good point on seniority, DallasTeacher.......

    I'm sure there are (many) teachers with 3 years experience who are (infinitely) better educators than (some) teachers with 20 years on the job.

    Good teachers should receive LARGE pay increase........ Poor teachers should be fired.
     
  9. Cerek

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    Bill Gates thinks teachers should not be paid for experience and advanced degrees. I suppose he would also agree the Microsoft programmers should not receive pay increases based on years of service or learning the newest programming languages.

    Of course, if he implemented such a policy, many of those top programmers would go to competitors or band together to form their own company.

    Being successful in business doesn't make one knowledgeable in the field of education. If it does, then we should also be inviting Ross Perot, Michael Dell, Donald Trump and others into the discussion of education.

    OR....maybe...just maybe....we should consider asking those actually WORKING in education what changes should be made. Naaaaah, that would just be crazy. :rolleyes:
     
  10. Chalk

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    Why is anyone listening to college drop out anyway......
     
  11. Harper

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    Hmm...a really smart person for whom the traditional education system did not work? No shock that he quit. :whistle:
     
  12. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Oh dear Mr. Gates....the one who has given so wholeheartedly to various schools, especially in Washington to help out. The one who lives in the area I used to live in. Shame, shame, shame on you Mr. Gates for stating that experience and additional education means nothing...... I'm disgusted by this.


    exactly!

    Even though I'm disgusted by Gates's comments on the matter, this is just.....a dumb statement to make. Why should anyone listen to him? Because even though he dropped out, he is a giant in the industry, not to mention a billionaire.
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Bill Gates is a GIANT in this industry? Surely he is interested in education, and
    Has started some schools, but he's no educational guru...he's a giant in the tech industry but not in education, which shouldn't be classified as an 'industry'.
     
  14. Soccer Dad

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    I agree with Gates that we must seek some type of reform. I can't speak for the nation as a whole, but there can certainly be some pay decreases on Long Island, NY. Yes, we have a really high cost of living; however, when every other industry is making pay cuts, so should the education field. BUT I don't think that's fair to do to a NYC teacher at all.

    Secondly, I really do think that he has a point about seniority. I know many, many teachers that began to slack off the year they got tenure and it only increased as they got more "experienced" in slacking. Now, there are teachers I know that have been working 20+ years and doing the bare minimum AND earning close to $130,000 on Long Island.

    I think we need a more effective way to deal with teachers that just don't perform well. In any other field, you're fired if you don't meet benchmarks. Why should teachers be exempt? I know there's a whole lot of "what ifs" but getting rid of ineffective teachers is, to me, the most important thing we can do for our students.
     
  15. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    :yeahthat:

    Exactly. If being a "giant in industry" makes one an expert on education, then again, we should be inviting Ross Perot, Michael Dell, Donald Trump, Ted Turner, Dana White and many others to discussion as well.

    Or (again), perhaps they could ask those who actually work in the education field what changes should be made. That includes the teachers experiencing all the consequences of budget cuts, larger classes, longer hours brought about by the current budget crisis.

    I suppose the logic behind involving Bill Gates is that it helps to get an outside (and therefore "objective") opinion and analysis of the situation. That logic is flawed, however, because teachers - for the most part - are more worried about what is best for the children rather than just improving their working conditions and pay. MOST teachers are going to advocate for changes that directly affect the learning opportunities for the kids, not just changes that shorten their day and increase their pay.

    Also, successful business models do NOT automatically lend themselves to successful education models. I remember the story related by another poster about the business tycoon with the famous blueberry ice cream. He spoke at a convention and ranted against the assembled teachers, stating they would all be fired if they worked for him and their work showed the same lackluster results being exhibited by their students. A teacher approached him after the lecture and asked him about the quality control he uses in his company. What happens when a crate of spoiled blueberries arrives at his dock? They accept only the BEST blueberries to ensure the top quality of their product.

    The teacher then pointed out that educators did not have the luxury of refusing the "bad" blueberries in their field. They had to take every "shipment" that came through the door - regardless of quality, ability, skill, or interest - and still turn out the best product they could.

    The same is true with Bill Gates. Let's see how well Microsoft products perform when he has to use EVERY memory chip (including the damaged ones), EVERY software package (including those that still contain glitches) and hire EVERY person who submits an application.

    Microsoft currently spends about 3-4 years on each new version of their software. Even then, thousands of customers complain about inherent flaws in each version of the software. Now just imagine if he were required to make the software available during the year it was developed - and work on bugs in the system after the software has already been sold.

    Would Bill Gates still be a billionaire? Or would Microsoft be barely staying afloat as they devote 80-90% of their working day troubleshooting existing software while still trying to develop improved versions? How effective would his techs be if they had to constantly re-install components the software should already contain (much like teachers have to re-teach material and concepts the students should already know)? How good a job could a new tech out of college do if he walks in and is given the job of correcting problems with software that is two-three years behind current technology and bring it up to speed with the newest programs on the market? Teachers do this everyday when they get students that are 2-3 grade levels behind where they should be. It doesn't matter that core material is missing from these kids, teachers are still expected to "get them up to speed" by the end of the current school year.

    Finally, I am perfectly fine with Bill Gates being invited to discuss improvements in the education field, as long as HE is willing to let ME come in and give advice on how he should improve HIS business.
     
  16. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    :yeahthat::yeahthat::yeahthat::yeahthat:
     
  17. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Well, Sarcasm .. do you treat everyone you know that way or just people you meet in the internet?
    I am Genuinely curious about it and thought I might do a research project on why people forget basic social constructs of polite discourse when using a dehumanized forum of media like this forum.
    Would it be a reflection of ones true nature and would people be more polite if they they were required to reveal their true identity?

    Take sarcasm for example, the phonic casm or Chasm which is a wide deep space that typically separates one side from another and the distance across a chasm often obscures the view of one side to the other.

    Why would anyone use a still of speaking that has the red flag word casm (Chasm) in it, seems like it would be a warning that if one speaks this way, one is likely to create a distance and open up a wide hole between one and others around them.

    Distance and obscurity creates wariness and wariness leads to anger which leads to hate and hate only breeds destruction and that is not a good place to be.

    Hurray thesis statement!
     
  18. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Only one of these posts contains sarcasm: the one that alleges it.

    Chalk, you owe Harper an apology.

    By the way, the word sarcasm contains the concept "chasm" to the same degree as the word history contains "his".
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  19. Beth2004

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    I'm not even sure what post this is in response to because it seems to have no connection to the post that was quoted. Am I missing something? :confused:
     
  20. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    I don't agree with everything Bill Gates suggests, but he's been putting thought, energy, and a great deal of money energy, and thought into the matter of education via his foundations for most of a decade: surely that gives him some right to voice his opinions.
     
  21. Cerek

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    And consumers have been using Microsoft Windows for almost two decades. Surely that gives us some right to voice our opinions about changes that should be made in the software.

    Yes, Bill Gates does have a right to voice his opinion - but that is all it is - an opinion. Supporting education through foundations still is not the same as WORKING in the field day-in and day-out.

    What I am trying to point out in my analogies is that having an opinion - or even a vested interest - in a certain field still doesn't make one an expert in that field.

    Most teachers also agree there need to be changes made in our education system. Unfortunately, we are usually the LAST ones asked to provide input, if at all.

    I appreciate the funding Bill Gates has provided and the interest he has taken in education. I do believe he is sincere in his desires, but I will STILL take the experience-based suggestions of a teacher who has been in an inner-city school for 20 years over his regarding what changes would be most effective in our education system.
     
  22. TeacherGroupie

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    The trouble, though, is exactly the trouble one has seen over the years here on A to Z: teachers are extremely good at identifying what's wrong with someone else's idea, but, when pressed, they don't exactly tend to be forthcoming with solutions.

    If the insider's perspective were automatically correct, none of us would ever need psychotherapy, no?

    (I'll add that Microsoft is in fact responsive to outside influences: that's why, over the years, the OS has come to look more and more and more like... um, Apple's.)
     
  23. Beth2004

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    I'm just tired of teachers getting blamed for all of America's problems by people who think donating money makes them experts on education.
     
  24. indigo-angel

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    The problems I have with the whole education reform bandwagon is that they ignore the reasons behind student failure and administration mismanagement. I would be willing to bet that even if Tenure ceased to exist tomorrow, we will still see the exact same problems with various school systems, and probably more.

    The thing with eduaton is that it is a political polarizing issue, which makes me skeptical of any type of reform ideas preseted by no-educators.
     
  25. TeacherGroupie

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    In which case, I suppose it's time to tell Mr. Gates to take his money and shove it somewhere else?
     
  26. hzminda

    hzminda Rookie

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    “We know that experience makes a difference in student achievement — teachers get better,” said Bill Raabe, director of collective bargaining at the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union. “And additional training, too, whether its a master’s degree or some other way a teacher has improved her content knowledge, we think it ought to be compensated.”

    It really makes me upset when people still assume that ALL teachers are female. "....has improved her content of knowledge, we think it out to be compensated."

    Steven Paine, the West Virginia superintendent who is the council’s president, said the group invited Mr. Gates because “he has a perspective that we need to consider.”

    “He’s been fairly successful in the business arena,” he added.

    Exactly, Gates is a Business Man....

    About $50 billion pays for seniority-based annual salary increases for teachers, he says. The nation spends an additional $9 billion annually to pay salary increases to teachers with master’s degrees, he says.

    This just makes me upset. I agree, teachers should be evaluated before they get paid seniority pay, but cutting pay for master degree holders? What kind of incentive is that? Don't we want are teachers to be top-notch?

    -My personal opinions.
    M.H.
     
  27. teacherheath

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    I fully accept responsibility for my teaching and the academic growth of my students, I think that's very important. But what about the fact that I have a student who has missed 20%+ days so far and is severely behind? What about the kids on IEPs who are pulled out and I don't even teach for part of the day? Or the kid who is living in crisis and is living in a motel? I don't mind them looking at PROGRESS, but I get irritated when we look at who has made the benchmark and growth is ignored.
     
  28. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    So, as TeacherGroupie has mentioned a couple of times, what can we propose in place of Gates' ideas? We all know that the current system isn't working. It's been broken for decades. Everything that's been imposed on us, from teacher testing to NCLB has been in response to legitimate problems that have existed in education for decades. The "good old days" never really existed. What should we do instead?
     
  29. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    He can do whatever he likes with his money.

    I give money to Dana Farber and other cancer research organizations, but I know almost nothing about cancer research. I would never presume that I could tell those researchers how to best do their jobs just because I donate money to their work. I mean, they haven't found a cure yet, so my money must be going to waste, right? Those researchers must be getting paid way more money than they should, so we should probably cut their pay until they find a cure.

    I'm not saying that Bill Gates is completely ignorant about the educational system, but when someone who is not in a school on a daily basis publicly speaks about things that he has very little first hand knowledge of, it bothers me.
     
  30. Harper

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    Thanks, TG.

    Mr. Gates may be wrong about lots of things (including some of what he proposed in that speech), but dropping out of college does not make him any less intelligent. On the contrary, I think we should be listening to people for whom our educational system has not worked, not just Bill Gates.
     
  31. bros

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    Microsoft actually has a division in their company dedicated to making their operating systems work with as many configurations and software suites as possible.
     
  32. webmistress

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    Many teachers do have many ideas and solutions that will work better instead of Bill Gates' proposals, the charters, Rhee, NCLB/RTTT etc.

    I have briefly given what I would like to see. I could certainly go into much more detail about what should happen in classrooms and schools. I do not just sit around and criticize reformers, I have solutions that I think will work somewhat better, I have ideas, but I don't have the faith that anybody is listening nor will it make a difference. And I certainly don't have the money.

    He and the billionaires really could keep their money IMO. It doesn't impress me nor is it getting to the root of the problems.

    I also follow more experienced teachers and organizations who do have many many answers, rebuttals and solutions to go against what the politicians are suggesting. And I agree with everything they say 100% and I could backup with my own short-term experiences.

    Diane Ratvich, Alphie Kohn, NYC Educator, Angela Powell, Jesse (can't think of least name), Anthony Cody, Sabrina (can't think of last name), Million Teacher March, Rethinking Schools, Civil Rights Groups, etc are just some of the sites/people I read and that I can think of off the top of my head, but there are more.

    But again, no one is listening to us and it doesn't get huge media attention because, one reason being, they/we are not billionaires.

    ETA: I've signed petitions, written to governors, and have a letter drafted to Pres. Obama but I keep editing it and can't get it right. What letter is ever good enough for the President? However, I try to make my little voice heard. In the end, I feel like a nobody. You cannot beat the system, but I will let my voice be heard anyway, and that's all I can do without going absolutely crazy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2010
  33. pete2770

    pete2770 Comrade

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    Bill Gates is retired now and he can donate his time/money where he sees fit.

    I have an idea, why doesn't he earn a teaching degree and teach for a year?

    Not where he chooses though...I'm thinking urban, definitely not the Pacific Northwest either. How about, Chicago?

    Let him go about his business using all the strategies in the world and let's see the progression of his class when kids come from broken homes, live amongst violence, hustle in hopes of joining a gang and all students are perfectly fine with being expelled. Amongst other factors.

    Then let's see how he evaluates in his ideal world.

    Not like he would ever do it though, and if he did he would be teaching in some comfortable community surrounded by gates where each student has a private tutor for each subject and he would exclaim 'see, my system works perfectly!!!!!'

    I'm not saying I don't agree with anything he says. I'd like to see a lot of accountability in some way, I think that's required in teaching as much as it is in the business world. But, evaluations have to understand a lot more than has been proposed.

    I don't think the best teacher in the world, in the worst district, is going to evaluate as well as the worst teacher in the world, in the best district.

    Just my :2cents:.
     
  34. Muttling

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    :thumb:
    I was getting ready to post the exact same thing.
     
  35. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    When it comes to education, something isn't working. We all know about plummeting graduation rates, student behavior, poor student performance on standardized tests, low reading skills, low reasoning skills, and a tremendous lack of resources for teachers and parents.

    I don't begrudge anyone for giving ideas about changes that might work. I don't agree with some of them, but that doesn't mean that they are invalid.

    I also think that it's not fair to say that people who want to improve or reform education should become teachers first so that their input is more valid. People come to the table with vastly different life experiences that can shape their ideas and visions. Given the sad and sorry state of education today, we need all the help we can get.
     
  36. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    I agree that education as it is now isn't working. But I DO think education reformers should have a background in the field. I don't tell my doctor how to diagnose illnesses nor do I tell my accountant the best way to do my taxes. Therefore, I am annoyed when people with no experience in the realm of education tell me how to do my job.

    Why isn't education working? Perhaps it is because very few people in policymaking positions in education have firsthand teaching experience (I'm specifically referring to state superintendents and the Secretary of Education). Maybe it's because teachers aren't being effectively trained. Maybe it's because schools simply don't have the money to provide students with the materials they need to succeed. Maybe it's because formative assessments have taken a backseat to ill-devised standardized tests. Maybe it's because the family unit is breaking down and causing emotional and intellectual problems among students and teachers. Maybe it's a combination of all these factors.

    Teachers are being punished for everyone's mistakes. I think nearly every aspect of society deserves the blame for our failing schools, but nobody wants to take the blame for it. Teachers DO make mistakes and HAVE contributed to a lack of learning in the classroom. But what do schools intend to do to help teachers become BETTER teachers? Simply taking away money won't help. Extra training and mentoring would be more effective (especially from skilled teachers who ARE considered to be "effective teachers").

    Also: I don't see how students and teachers can bear larger classes. If class sizes grow, the quality of the feedback I give to my students will suffer greatly. Fewer students = better feedback = more personalized learning. Perhaps THAT would help matters.
     
  37. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I do think that the primary reformers should have a background in education. That doesn't mean that others can't or shouldn't also participate in the process.
     
  38. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This sort of contradicts what a lot of people have been saying in this thread. If teachers should be paid for their advanced educations, then shouldn't that education/training be effective enough to produce positive results? If their training does not produce results, then perhaps there's some logic behind the idea that they shouldn't be paid for that.
     
  39. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    This, and 110% to the bolded. It's kind of like a professional day when you have to listen to a motivational speaker who has never spent a day in the classroom. A much smaller scale, true, but along the same lines.

    Beth
     
  40. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    What? Do you feel that because you have so many post or something you can dictate who needs to apologize to who?

    Harper made a sarcastic remark to a tongue in cheek comment of mine and I called him/her out on. What does that have to do with you exactly?
     
  41. Soccer Dad

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    How about we just focus on the bigger picture here, guys? Ya know, the whole educational crisis? Sorry, but if you're going to fight, do it through private messages, please.
     
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