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Bill Gates On What Business Can Teach Schools

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the principals-need-golden-parachutes dept.

Education 272

Hugh Pickens writes "Most workplaces build a system to evaluate worker performance, provide feedback that yields information employees can use to improve, and then hold employees accountable for results. However, Bill and Melinda Gates write that in the field of education, we really don't know very much at all about what makes someone an effective teacher. 'We have all known terrific teachers,' write the Gates. 'But nobody has been able to identify what, precisely, makes them so outstanding.' For the last several years, the Gates Foundation has been working with more than 3,000 teachers on a large research project called Measures of Effective Teaching to get a better sense of what makes teaching work (PDF) so that school districts can start to hire, train and promote based on meaningful standards. 'Once the MET research is completed, we hope that school districts will work with teachers and their unions to create fair and reliable evaluations that reward teachers who are effective and identify and help those who need to improve. When that happens, we believe that districts will be on the cusp of providing every student with an effective teacher, in every class, every year.'"

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272 comments

Teachers already have performance reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822502)

They're called Parent-Teacher Conferences.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (3, Insightful)

schlesinm (934723) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822640)

Parent-Teacher Conferences only let the parents talk to the teacher about how the child is doing in school. There is no way for the parent to know if issues in the classroom are from poor learning on the child's side or poor teaching on the teacher's side. I've dealt with both sides where I've had to complain to the teacher about how they were teaching my child and also make sure the child knows what's expected of them in the teacher's classroom. And it is hard to tell at times.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (4, Insightful)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822660)

They're called Parent-Teacher Conferences.

That was effective back when parents were interested in making their kids knuckle down and accomplish something in school. But that's becoming less and less common. Instead, we have parents showing up to yell at the teacher for not giving their idiot slacker offspring better grades even though the urchin does none of the work required to earn the grades.

No, I think this effort by the Gates foundation is a noble one. We really do need to come up with a realistic way to evaluate our entire educational system (not just the effectiveness of teachers). We need a way we can identify the real faults in our educational system.

Realistically, I don't hold out much hope that the territorialism and politics that are pervasive in our educational system can be overcome. So I'm not sure how effective this drive will be at affecting change. But the goal itself is noble.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822718)

That was effective back when parents were interested in making their kids knuckle down and accomplish something in school. But that's becoming less and less common. Instead, we have parents showing up to yell at the teacher for not giving their idiot slacker offspring better grades even though the urchin does none of the work required to earn the grades.

Those parents probably got their grades for free, so why should Little Jimmy have to work for them?

We really do need to come up with a realistic way to evaluate our entire educational system (not just the effectiveness of teachers). We need a way we can identify the real faults in our educational system.

That's easy: get the government out of the way. Then parents will send their kids to good schools and bad schools will go bust.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (1)

hexghost (444585) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822754)

That's easy: get the government out of the way. Then parents will send their kids to good schools and bad schools will go bust.

Right. Because poor people or people living in bad school districts ALWAYS have the option of doing that.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (3, Insightful)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822886)

Right. Because poor people or people living in bad school districts ALWAYS have the option of doing that.

Even if true, how is that different from now?

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (2)

grimmjeeper (2301232) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822910)

Those parents probably got their grades for free, so why should Little Jimmy have to work for them?

Hardly. Parents these days just want to be friends with their kids and make it easier for them than they had it. Either that or they want to make sure their kids have the grades to get scholarships or just admittance to some trendy prep school, etc. Or their motivation is banal enough to just want the stupid "my kid is an honor student" bumper sticker to put on their car to show off at the local overpriced coffee shack.

That's easy: get the government out of the way. Then parents will send their kids to good schools and bad schools will go bust.

That may be an enticing slogan for someone who doesn't think the issue all the way through. And it's unlikely someone who only spits out one sentence talking points like that will put forth the effort to investigate the real causes of the problem, no matter what kind of well documented research is posted. Suffice it to say that while the government doesn't get everything right when it comes to education, removing the government altogether will only cause more problems than it solves.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823202)

The people with money are already doing that.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (4, Insightful)

Jawnn (445279) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822750)

Let's see..., percentage of all parents qualified to evaluate a teacher's effectiveness - (being generous) maybe 20%. Percentage of that set that has the interest and ability (time) to get involved to an effective degree, maybe 20% again? Yeah, I can see why the PTA has been such a huge success in setting effective performance metrics for teachers. Just like those standardized tests handed down by state bureaucrats...

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822826)

Those are student performance reviews. Further, there's no repercussion to a teacher from negative feedback during a parent-teacher meeting. Complaining to a principle or higher is far more likely to correct teacher problems.

Re:Teachers already have performance reviews (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822920)

You mean a principal?

Roland Piquepaille, is that you? (2)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822524)

This guy Hugh Pickens, he's Roland Piquepaille [wikipedia.org] back from the grave, right?

Not again.... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822544)

Once the MET research is completed, we hope that school districts will work with teachers and their unions to create fair and reliable evaluations that reward teachers who are effective and identify and help those who need to improve.

How many times have people tried this? How many different answers do we need anyway?

Re:Not again.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822588)

Poor teachers...forced to teach to 'no child left behind' and then being graded based on their student performance on that test. Now they'll be graded on this too, and I bet the two systems don't play well with each other. Rock, meet hard place...

Re:Not again.... (-1, Flamebait)

Gerzel (240421) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822686)

Shhhh!

It's BILL GATES!

He's like the most successful man in the world because he made a lot of money. Thus he knows a lot about teaching children. Far more than our crappy, oh there are some good ones out there, teachers and schools do.

Bill is worth while because he's worth a lot.

Re:Not again.... (2, Insightful)

sigipickl (595932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822912)

How many times have people tried this? How many different answers do we need anyway?

Many, and the teacher unions have shot it down every time. Good teachers can not be rewarded and bad teachers can not be punished. The only reward is for those who stay around the longest.

Re:Not again.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823554)

Good teachers can not be rewarded and bad teachers can not be punished. The only reward is for those who stay around the longest.

Great. Unfortunately business is good at rewarding bad employees and punishing good employees, so there's not much education can learn from business....

Elements of a good teacher (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822958)

1) Gives a shit.
2) Knows their shit.
3) Low tolerance for shit.

Or, more to the point, the elements of a bad teacher:

1) Wants to expend the least amount of effort to collect a paycheck.
2) Has a head full of stupid ideas like: these kids probably aren't doing drugs or bullying each other. The stupid ones will always be stupid and the smart ones will always be smart no matter what I do. Cheerleaders wouldn't lie to me. I don't have to know my subject to teach it well, I can just read the book as I go. Disagreeing with me means the answer is incorrect, even if it is clearly an opinion-seeking question. The correct remedy to low grades is MORE HOMEWORK! Rote memorization of boring facts is a great way to get young minds interested in higher learning. etc.
3) Refuses to adequately punish the trouble-makers or under-performers, to the detriment of the rest of the class.

While we are at it, we should more intelligently align the curricula with age groups, as suggested by Piaget [wikipedia.org] (e.g. young kids should study foreign languages rather than math, because the brain is far more capable of learning language when young, and will be able to pick up basic math very quickly when a bit older).

Oh, and the phrase "zero tolerance policy" usually means "zero thought put into proper enforcement or deciding what constitutes infringement" which means "zero respect for authority learned at an early age."

Ok I'm done.

Re:Elements of a good teacher (1)

pseudochaos (1014063) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823658)

I wish I had mod points. Great post!

Re:Not again.... (2)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822978)

Well that is the problem. How do you know if teachers are teaching. The old answer of "you just know" isn't good enough.
Looking back the teachers I had varied from very good, over worked, and some where just terrible.
My second grade teacher hated kids. She was very old and really disliked me because her son knew my father and got into a lot of trouble a decade before I was born. She was the only 2nd grade teacher so i was stuck. My third grade teacher was great and found out that I was reading way above level but was in a very low reading group. She moved me to the top reading group and I got all As. Fifth grade teacher hardly ever taught science because she didn't like it. She also refused to use the new Science books because she knew the old ones. So in fifth grade I had book with a Gemini capsule on it and it talked about how some day man would walk on the moon. The funny thing was that we lived only 50 miles from Cape Kennedy and all the kids grew up with the space program. I could go on pointing out really good teachers and really bad ones but i think you get the point. And just for the record I lived in a very well town and my elementary school was in a well to do area.
So how do judge teachers?
When you test the students they game the system by teaching the test.
It isn't a secret and not one gets upset over it which is odd. The FCAT was a test for teachers but it was turned into a test for the students.

Re:Not again.... (3, Insightful)

eln (21727) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823254)

I think the problem here is that such a system seeks to evaluate teachers as if they were line workers, cogs in the machine. In reality, teachers operate more like managers. As anyone who has been involved in management or management education should be able to attest, getting a good read on exactly what makes good managers so good (and bad managers so bad) is a lot harder. The metrics are a lot fuzzier, and there tends to be a lot of different ways to get good (or bad) results. In many cases, two people doing things that look on the outside to be very similar can lead to wildly divergent results.

Go to any random business school and take a look at their various case studies on managers. It's usually quite difficult to find any common thread in any of them, other than "this guy's company was successful, therefore what he did is the right way to do it." Of course, in every one of those studies, the manager did things differently than the other managers. The upshot of it is that the best managers are unique snowflakes who follow their own rules and are successful, while the worst managers are unique snowflakes who follow their own rules and aren't successful

In short, why does Bill Gates think business can help evaluate teachers (leaders of students) when business isn't even very good at evaluating their own managers (leaders of corporations)?

Apples and Oranges (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822590)

It's not that we don't know HOW to evaluate teachers, it's that you have to cut through miles of bullshit from teachers unions, state employee unions, and assorted political allies to actually DO IT and USE IT for anything. If you think that unions are about to negotiate away things like teacher seniority, tenure, automatic raises, etc. then you're high. They protect their own, and they have the emotional political/public appeal of the underpaid noble teacher to use if they need to (even though teachers are actually usually very WELL paid).

There are also real world issues that no one wants to talk about that effect teacher performance at the best and worst schools. Poor schools tend to be in shitty neighborhoods where teachers don't want to work, for example. Improving a school in a shitty neighborhood isn't as simple as "We need to get good teachers." You're NOT going to get the good teachers because the good teachers would be fucking crazy to teach at Gangbanger High when they could make more money and put up with less threats of physical violence if they go to the suburbs and teach at Whitey McRichkid High. So you're stuck with the worst teachers, the one's who had no choice but to come there. School stays shitty, vicious cycle continues.

Breaking that cycle requires real money to recruit better teachers, and the shitty schools usually have the LEAST money. If you want to get rid of the bad teachers in a crappy school, what are you going to do, fire everyone? Where are you going to get replacements? Some crappy schools are having to recruit overseas in places like the Philippines just to find teachers as it is.

This is approaching the problem the wrong way. In an ideal world, it would be great to evaluate teachers and pay/promote/fire based on performance. But in the real world, it doesn't work that way.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1, Interesting)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822678)

Wish I had mod points.

Remove government regulation public schools, make them have to compete, and we'd see the end of teachers unions that force high pay and automatic raises, tenure, etc.

Re:Apples and Oranges (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822944)

Make them compete.

With WHAT? The problem is that poor schools already can't compete even with regulatory pressure to help them. They need MONEY. If they had money, they wouldn't have the problem they are having. The poorer neighborhoods are already at huge disadvantage to Elrous' "Whitey McRichkid" schools. If they have to 'compete' on a flat playing field, exactly what would they bring to the table?

Re:Apples and Oranges (4, Informative)

sigipickl (595932) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823338)

Money is not the problem, accountability is.

Here in California, local property tax money is redistributed throughout the state. Often schools is poorer neighborhoods get more money per student than the schools in more affluent areas. Heck, in some districts teachers get paid more to teach in the under-achieving schools. Nothing has gotten better except the employment at schools.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823560)

Exactly how is money going to help?

Its not going to help the way the fucking twits and geeks think its going to help.

First the kids need to be taught that the ghetto is not the "real world".

It boils down to the fact that the children need a safe environment where learning is actually encourage. Most of them don't have books at home, and aren't in an environment where education matters. The kids in the poor neighborhoods are starting school where their parents never read to them, and they weren't taught to read first.

These bad schools are fighting a losing war against the parents and the community.

Sure there are a few loud-mouths out there, but most of the parents don't give a rats ass about education, and even the ones who do don't know or have the resources to take advantage of things.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

john.r.strohm (586791) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823624)

If what you said was true, then the schools that spent lots of money would CONSISTENTLY get better results than the schools that didn't.

The problem is that they don't. New York City and Washington DC have the highest per-pupil expenditures in the United States, and they have the WORST schools in the United States.

Meanwhile, dirt-poor schools in the Rio Grande Valley routinely get better results than schools in New York and Washington DC.

Re:Apples and Oranges (3, Insightful)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823654)

Everyone, please pay attention!
This is a republican/libertarian that wants to remove government regulation of public schools.
The stated purpose is to end the "high pay" and raises of teachers.

The high pay of teachers.

Think about that. He doesn't want better teachers. He doesn't want poor schools to do better. The entire goal he's going for, in the grand sum of two sentences, is to pay teachers even less than what they're paid now.
This is why we need unions. This is why teachers unions fight this sort of thing. This is a roadblock to progress.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823770)

What would they compete on? Parents have no idea what makes a school good (if they did, presumably Bill Gates could just ask them). When you compete you have to have a good metric for success that can be measured. There are lots of places where people do not have this metric and really crappy businesses thrive (snake oil anyone?)

If you think markets are efficient, then you have to say things like the people who buy the "anti-virus" that pops up when you get a virus are really good AV programs (after all, they cost as much as the real deal).

Re:Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822760)

Oh do tell!

How, exactly, do you concretely evaluate teaching? Details, please. I want an algorithm

Re:Apples and Oranges (5, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822818)

You touch on some good points, but fail to address the real issue with education today; Parents. Education starts, and never ends, at home. If parents aren't valuing education at home, then kids are learning that education is a waste of time.

An overwhelming majority of parents today view education as free day care. That's it. The best teacher in the world has a 50/50 chance of any kind of impact on a child when their parents don't care. That's why poor schools tend to have poor results; it's not the money specifically, but the fact that poor folks tend to be less than college education and, generally, hold a negative view point of higher education.

Just some things to think about.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2)

khallow (566160) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823246)

You touch on some good points, but fail to address the real issue with education today; Parents.

And if you do nothing about parents, then that observation is garbage. Similarly, the "real issue" with living is the dying part at the end. But nobody has the fix for that either. (Also, if you happen to disagree that dying is the "real issue", then maybe that same consideration applies to your assertion about parents.)

There are two things to remember here. Teachers are the ones typically held responsible by society for the education of their students, not the students nor the students' parents. Given that, it makes sense to hold teachers accountable for the outcome.

Second, a good teacher or a good school can encourage students and their parents to be more receptive and responsive with respect to education. A bad teacher or school would IMHO be far less likely to.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823620)

There are two things to remember here. Teachers are the ones typically held responsible by society for the education of their students, not the students nor the students' parents. Given that, it makes sense to hold teachers accountable for the outcome.

Teachers are only being held responsibly by individuals who wish to have society raise their children. No competent parent thinks teachers are the source of their childs education. They're absolutely there to HELP and GUIDE, but it is a parents responsibility to be involved in every aspect of their education.

Second, a good teacher or a good school can encourage students and their parents to be more receptive and responsive with respect to education. A bad teacher or school would IMHO be far less likely to.

That may very well be the most ridiculous statement I've seen on this site to date. A good teacher can encourage bad students and their bad parents to suddenly be involved? Mr. Jones is going to convince Jimmy's mom to stop smoking crack so she can read to her son every night? You're out of touch with reality.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823250)

Wish I had mod points. So true. I recall my mother helping me and my brothers with english. Really just the fact my parents were interested in our performance and did not instantly blame the teacher was probably a good deal of the reason I did well in school. I am so tired of people blaming the schools. And oh, more money for the schools is always the answer. The answer is for parents to start caring about the lives they brought into this world and make sure those lives can survive after they leave the nest.

Re:Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823280)

If parents aren't valuing education at home, then kids are learning that education is a waste of time.

Maybe. Or maybe education IS a waste of time. Where does a high school diploma get you, exactly? Fry cook at McDonald's? What about getting into debt in the amount of $20,000-40,000 for a bachelor's degree? Lab tech making $10/hr? What is the economic value of an education? (And let's face it, in today's climate, if it can't be monetized, it has no value. Just ask the corporations.)

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823850)

20 to 30 year olds with college degrees in 2010 make twice as much as 20 to 30 year olds with just a HS degree. They also enjoy 1/4 the unemployment rate. (from the current population survey, easy to DL and confirm yourself.)

However, based just on this data, this could be entirely "those who went to college" instead of "those who finished college."

Re:Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823352)

Where are your datasets? What algorithm did you apply to them? Repeating the same thing your great-grandfather said on the topic doesn't make it right ....

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

lptport1 (640159) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823788)

Parents are also a handicap if they feel that their child put in the effort to make the grade, and that they deserve appropriate marks for the effort.

I'm of the opinion that schools need to maximize the number of C students, not A students. If you push the bell curve of scores toward the middle, then you are challenging the majority of the students, and not neglecting the people who should be at the high end of the curve. People need to stop thinking of them as an statements of worth, and start thinking of them as an evaluation of challenge. Winning all the time does not lead to success. Even video game designers know that.

(I would probably be somewhere in middle of that curve, honestly)

Re:Apples and Oranges (4, Interesting)

bbasgen (165297) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822836)

I think your premise is incorrect: evaluating teachers is actually very difficult to do. I think that one way to sum up the challenge is that teacher's don't have a "boss" in the way of most other professions. Consider, for example, in higher ed where a faculty member may have something that amounts to a dotted line to an administrative dean. That dean may have 50 or more faculty under them, with no intervening layers of management. This is obviously untenable by design. One could go on and talk about the dynamics of student evals, department chairs, and student learning outcomes. For the sake of brevity, I'll just say that evaluating a profession that is as much an art as a science is rather difficult. I'm hopeful MET comes up with a good model.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1, Interesting)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822850)

A lot of what you say makes sense, but you need to rethink the first paragraph. What about all those states, primarily in the South, that have toothless unions or no unions at all?

I'm in education and I agree that we don't have a good evaluation system. I also agree that unions push too hard against real evaluation systems. But I won't go as far as saying that we know how to evaluate teachers. Gates, Arnie Duncan and their ilk would have us pretty much use test scores. That's not a realistic measure of teacher ability. We need real assessments that include input from multiple administrators, as well as highly rated teachers and even students. This, combined with test scores might give us a better picture of which teachers are good, which need help, and which need a new job.

But the real problem is that if we could snap our fingers and fire all the idiots tomorrow, we don't have anything better to replace them with. That's where your "recruit better teachers" idea is right on. We need to look at Finland, where most people who apply to ed schools can't don't cut it. They accept only the best, train them well, pay them well, and then let them do their thing without a lot of meddling. It works.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823026)

Gates, Arnie Duncan and their ilk would have us pretty much use test scores. That's not a realistic measure of teacher ability

You obviously didn't RTFA, but whatevs. The Proposed Teacher Evaluation and Development Criteria chart on page 2 describes a more holistic system incorportating: rigorous classroom observations, school working conditions, student feedback, and pedagogical knowledge content. Hardly a simplistic test score approach.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823756)

The problem with "pedagogical knowledge content" is that education, perhaps more than any other profession is polluted with horrific pseudo-science fads and fashions. Good teachers ignore the b*ll*cks in teaching trends and keep doing a good job. This metric would harm good teachers and reward bad ones who're willing to follow the management checklist. Just like in businesses.

Now that's what education can learn from business: what gets measured gets managed, and nothing of value can be measured, so measuring rewards valueless attributes.

HAL.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823126)

What about all those states, primarily in the South, that have toothless unions or no unions at all?

They may not have unions in private industry. They still have teachers' unions. And they aren't toothless.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2)

Pumpkin Tuna (1033058) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823166)

Expound on that for me. for example, in NC, the "union" can't negotiate contracts, they can't require members to join, and pretty soon, they might not even be able to allow members to deduct dues directly from their paychecks. The only thing they do is lobby, and they don't do that very well any more. I don't even call that a union.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

ShavedOrangutan (1930630) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823400)

IN VA, the "union" is basically a group-buy for liability insurance and a magazine every few months. It does nothing else.

It's not a money problem (3, Informative)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823466)

As you say, Finland accepts only the best, trains them well and lets them do their thing. It does work.

But the US spends more per child on education than Finland does. We're actually ranked #4 in the world, way ahead of Finland. So saying "more money" without serious reform for quality of education just means throwing more money down a hole where it won't necessarily make anything better.

Re:Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822918)

If you look at countries with the best secondary school education, such as Finland or Japan, they also have very strong teacher unions. You can either keep arguing against unions because you hate them or you can try to actually understand the issues, because right now most of what you're saying is coming out your ass.

Re:Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823268)

Correlation is not causat...oh, what the fuck is the use?

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822968)

They protect their own, and they have the emotional political/public appeal of the underpaid noble teacher to use if they need to (even though teachers are actually usually very WELL paid)

[citation needed]

This is approaching the problem the wrong way.

Since you're clearly enough of a visionary to say the Gates Foundation's research is a waste of time, what is your approach?

Re:Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823046)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/24/rhode-island-teachers-fir_n_475234.html

Yes you are going to fire all of them.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823068)

Also there is the issue that in the real world you can expect a promotion once in a while. In Schools not so much. You are a teacher and one of them becomes a director of the school. That means the majority will not ever get a promotion.

How motivated would you be if the job you took at first would be the same job for the rest of your life? How motivated would you be after 25 years?

Making this about business, it will be worse for school who already have no money because of the neighborhood. Do we want toddlers to take student loans so they can get into the better schools?

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823304)

I live in a state where teachers get automatic 4% cost-of-living raises every year, where they get automatic *substantial* raises for various certifications, at certain intervals in their career, etc. and where they're virtually bulletproof once they get tenure (pretty much a job for life after just a few years of service). That would certainly motivate me, promotion or not.

Re:Apples and Oranges (3, Interesting)

tbannist (230135) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823102)

Actually, it is. Frankly most organisations do a terrible job of evaluating the performance of any complicated role. If a job can't be automated, most businesses are unable to reliably evaluate performance. How do we evaluate doctors? Engineers? Software developers?

This things are difficult to evaluate and when pressed, businesses usually come up with terrible measures of performance. Just look at the games that CEOs play with their bonus requirements. They're often able to hit all of their bonus requirements even while the company struggles along with below market average performance.

I have no confidence that Bill and Melinda will come up with anything other than another wacky scheme that implodes after the first couple of years when it can be shown that it promotes people who game the system and punishes those who don't. After all, Bill Gates put Steve Ballmer in charge of Microsoft. If that doesn't call his judgement on competency into question, I don't know what will.

Re:Apples and Oranges (1)

unimacs (597299) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823276)

That's crap. If a principle wants a teacher to move on, there are a variety of ways to get that done. The principle needs to be savvy and needs to be willing to do it. I worked with such a principle and he definitely wasn't the only one.

The bigger issue is that kids are not "one size fits all". You can take a teacher that's performing well in one school and put them in another school with a different demographic and they may have a very difficult time duplicating their past success.

Not saying that there aren't bad teachers and good teachers. There are. But people are vastly over simplifying if they think the biggest problem with the educational system is tied to teacher performance. It is unrealistic to expect schools to deal with problems that are societal in nature and start well before a kid ever sees a classroom.

Can schools do more than they are? Yes, absolutely. Training teachers in methods that work for a given demographic is key. So is hiring the right kind of teacher for the right kind of kids.

Re:Apples and Oranges (3, Informative)

msobkow (48369) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823344)

I agree that there is a real issue with getting rid of a bad teacher over the objections of a union about "seniority", but it can be done. Many of my relatives are or were teachers (most of them retired now), and every one of them had to deal wtih parents who were screaming to the board about how they're a "bad" teacher for failing or reprimanding their precious and flawless child. Some of those parents engaged in rather vicious smear campaigns against teachers they hated. So the union system is needed to protect teachers from arbitrary firing when those outraged parents are on a mission to destroy their careers.

What Bill is talking about, though, is the actual process of evaluating teachers and teaching techniques fairly. The effectiveness of different approaches in the field have never been properly evaluated before. Some districts "evaluate" a teachers performance by considering how their students do on standardized tests, but such simplistic approaches are white-wash to appease people who are demanding that the teachers be evaluated, not an actual evaluation of the teacher's skills as a teacher.

Worse, such simplistic approaches don't make any attempt to evaluate why one teacher's students do better on the tests than others. If teachers are to improve, they need that feedback so they know how to improve.

No matter what the results of the studies are, there will be teachers, unions, school boards, and parents who resist acting on that information. Bill and Melinda are to be commended for tackling the issue when they know full well that it's going to be a battle to get the results of those studies applied to practice.

Re:Apples and Oranges (2)

asylumx (881307) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823426)

It's not that we don't know HOW to evaluate teachers

Uh, yeah, it is. It is exactly that. There are so many variables and so few ways to measure. Is a student doing poorly because the teacher is bad? Is it because he is dyslexic and nobody has identified it? Is it because he's distracted by the fights going on in his home every night? Is it because he has to take care of his little brother while his single mother is at work, and he doesn't get enough sleep, or enough to eat? There are communities where these types of problems are the not the exceptions, they are the rule.

On the other side of measuring teachers, the only method we seem to have is to do standardized tests... and even if the rest of the issues I mentioned above are non factors, all these tests really do is judge a teacher's ability to get students to memorize answers. It's really hard to actually judge whether the student has learned the material from a pen-and-paper test. So you are bound to have teachers who are really engaged with their students but are not necessarily teaching the test material, and they get failing grades... and on the flip side you might get really bad, unengaged teachers who know how to get their kids to remember a few test answers to make them look good.

Poor Schools actually get the MOST money (1)

davek (18465) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823480)

Breaking that cycle requires real money to recruit better teachers, and the shitty schools usually have the LEAST money.

I agree with the rest of your post, but you miss the point entirely here. The problem isn't that poor schools aren't being funded. In fact, per-student costs in poorer districts is actually multiple times what it is in more affluent areas (if you want a citation, watch the documentary Cartel [thecartelmovie.com] and count the luxary cars found in school admin parking lots in the "poor" school districts of NJ). The problem is that a tiny fraction of that function actually makes it into the classroom. Most of it goes to pensions [nationalreview.com] and unions [go.com] .

Re:Apples and Oranges (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823610)

As the son of two retired school teachers I spent a lot of time looking at my public school years from a different perspective. One perspective was as a student and the other perspective was observer listening to teachers to talk outside of work. My father elected to a position in the NEA, so I got to see that side of it as well.

Not surprisingly, teachers come in all shapes and size: a few are lazy; a bunch are burned out from years of pouring energy into their profession; some are passionate about their material and their mission; others will bore you to death. Just like normal people. I also learned that teaching takes an enormous amount of energy, patience and dedication. And I learned that teachers who go into the profession without passion leave teaching in a few years-- it is impossible to sustain the level of effort required of a teacher without the passion.

When I was in high school, the teacher's union went on strike. They picked the school buildings. There wasn't any violence, but it was pretty ugly. I stayed out of school until the strike was over. The teacher's union had two big issues. The first was class size. The second was a provision that allowed school administrators to retroactively change students' grades without notifying the teacher. Would the teachers have taken to the pick line for three weeks if there were not passionate about their work?

The drop-out rate (from the start of freshman year to graduation) at my school was close to 50%. None-the-less, I felt like I got a good education. The value of education was instilled in me from a very early age. My parents attitude toward learning contributed more to my success than anything else. A teacher can open a door, but the student has to walk through it. Focusing only on evaluating and culling teachers will not improve public education.

Personality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822594)

PERSONALITY, persistence and patience.

Headline: Schools Respond to Gates Suggestions (1)

tacokill (531275) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822604)

Dear Bill,
Thank you for your comments and concerns but we got this, thanks.
P.S. Please keep sending the money though
Sincerely Yours,
The Teachers Unions


Sad, but this has been the response for a looooong time now and as my good man Bob Dylan says.....the times they are a changin'

Re:Headline: Schools Respond to Gates Suggestions (1)

dwarfsoft (461760) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822904)

"we got this"? You must be one of the teachers that could use some improvement according to Mr. Gates suggestions.

Bravo Mr Gates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822618)

Now if anything actually comes of this, maybe capitalism isn't all bad after all. If not, BURN WALL STREET!

What makes a good teacher? (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822626)

One without tenure...

Re:What makes a good teacher? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823576)

No, that makes an ex-teacher who opts for a higher-paying, more stable, less-stressful job.

That's an easy one (1, Insightful)

mvar (1386987) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822710)

Bill Gates On What Business Can Teach Schools

1) patent
2) lawsuit
3) profit!

Re:That's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822856)

1. embrace
2. extend
3. extinguish

Re:That's an easy one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823264)

More Lawyers! More advertising!

Why doesn't he go try to cure a disease that hasn't had the cure patented for a change?

3,823,142 teachers in the US (2)

More Trouble (211162) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822758)

Teaching 55,203,000 students, at 132,656 schools. There is no larger group of professionals in the US. So, if you want to improve education in the US, you can pretty much forget about "hiring the best, firing the rest." You need to build a teaching work force that meets your needs.

Re:3,823,142 teachers in the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822842)

But then... who teaches the teachers?

Re:3,823,142 teachers in the US (1)

Sir_Sri (199544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823678)

Other teachers and professors. Professors experiment, and get it wrong, a lot, you take the tidbits of things you learned to do right and you put those into a classroom.

And like every other job, you take people who've done it well, ask them how they did so well, if they know, you stand them in the front of a room of their peers and tell them about it.

The root problem the gates foundation has is that they aren't sure what constitutes a good teacher. That's probably in part because it's a moving target. A good teacher today, and a good teacher 20 years ago aren't the same thing, the classroom has changed as have childrens approaches to information and their access to alternate data. In an evolving market place it's hard to know how to do these things.

With teachers parents always had a fit on PD days, because they had to pay someone else to take care of their kids that day. Teachers had to show up and go to conferences or the like - that was where they're supposed to learn to be better teachers.

Re:3,823,142 teachers in the US (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823688)

It should be pointed out that building a teaching work force that's totally awesome means paying teachers rates that are totally awesome. And judging from battles I've seen over school funding, a lot of Americans don't really want to do that - they want top-notch teachers at bargain basement rates.

Useless (1)

Ashenkase (2008188) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822770)

Job performance evaluations are useless. Most of the time the completion of performance evaluations are tied to Manger bonuses.

What makes someone great? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822778)

It takes two things, and it doesn't matter what the field is: heart and talent.

As a country, we do a decent job training a teacher in what they need to know to teach (both curriculum and method). But you can never instill the right heart--that has to come from within. No amount of money or any other external incentive will ever give someone a passion to teach. The passion, placed in the hands of the person with the right knowledge is what makes a great teacher.

Any policy or incentive will always get the wrong results. We need to foster a love for education rather than bribe people to love their children.

Do gooders (1)

trolman (648780) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822864)

Way too much time on their hands

In January 2011, the National Education Policy Center (a think tank funded by the National Education Association (NEA)) published a paper by Jesse Rothstein, an economist at the University of California – Berkeley. In his paper, Mr. Rothstein stated that the MET project’s preliminary finding that teachers with high value-added on state tests also tend to help their students master cognitively challenging tasks is not supported by the data collected in the first year of the project. Are Mr. Rothstein’s criticisms accurate?

I've worked in the private sector. They expect results. - Dr Ray Stanz

Ah yes business does such a good job -- not! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822870)

The fallacy here is not whether one can or cannot measure teacher performance, or whether or not teachers unions etc will let any change happen.

The real fallacy here is thinking that businesses know anything about evaluating their employees. Businesses do regularly build systems to evaluate their worker's performance, and those systems are almost universally crap and reviled.

Why would one take advice from business on performance evaluation -- their track record isn't exactly inspiring.

Even the best teachers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822908)

Are hamstrung by poorly planned curriculum and the current application of memorization and regurgitation that is the standardized testing system of today.

How you teach/learn (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37822984)

I think it should be easier to identify a *bad* teacher than a good one.

Different people excel at learning different ways. I can't prove it, but different teachers will be better at teaching certain ways. No doubt an effective teacher would try multiple methods, but time may not be divided equally and the teacher will likely better at some methods than others. Ideally I believe students would be divided by how they learn the fastest, then you could assign them to appropriate classes and teachers.

In the current system, if a teacher uses method A to teach (let's say oral fill-in-the-blank with the class followed by worksheets) and 90% of the class learn 90% of the material but 10% of the class only understands 50% of it. Alternatively the teacher could use method B (let's say read instructions from book, take a practice quiz, then go over answers with Q&A) and 100% of the class understands 75% of it, which method is better? Is it better for everyone to get a C or 90% to get an A while 10% fail...

Comparison to Japanese Cars (Deming) (4, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37822996)

Back when Mazda joined with Ford to make cars in the US they had a problem. Ford was building all the parts to spec but the transmissions didn't run as nice as the Japanese built ones. Then Ford ripped apart some Japanese engines and found the parts were made to MUCH tighter tolerances than the specs called for. This was because of Deming's Quality program he taught the Japanese. Basically it is never stop improving quality. Even when you are within specs keep getting better because quality will improve and your customers will be happier.

This is what needs to happen in education. It's not setting a standard and making sure teachers meet it. It is setting up a culture of excellence and pursuit of perfection even knowing it is unobtainable.

Re:Comparison to Japanese Cars (Deming) (1)

bratloaf (1287954) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823282)

Wish I had Mod points... Bit how to implement this in regards to teaching? Again, what are the metrics? Its simple to measure a gear/bearing/physical tolerance. How do you measure teaching? But I do agree, Total Quality as an overarching goal, even a mantra or culture, would go a long way. The Japanese have a culture that melds very well with this philosophy, in the US not so much...

Re:Comparison to Japanese Cars (Deming) (1)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823710)

Again trying to apply business solutions to public institutions. Your suggestion is particularly ironical since what is stated here is that the problem is actually the difficulty of measuring performance.

What's more, the obsession with measuring performance in education, regardless or resources invested or support for teachers, is getting ludicrous. You want good teachers? Then make taching a profession worth pursuing. The suggestion of trying to measure when real measure would cost more that educating in the first place, or would become the primary focus when it shouldn't, will make teaching as a profession even more unstable, with constant interference from well meaning people who know nothing about public education imposing new controls and imposing artificial measures of performance. The end result will be that you are just going to increase cynicism and drive even more good educators out.

Bill needs to looking a little deeper (2)

tiberus (258517) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823048)

While finding a way to quantify what makes someone a good teacher is all well and good, IMHO it's looking at a symptom and not what, at least what I consider, one of true challenges (problems) in education... That being which persons should and should not get a degree in education. It's stunning how many people think teaching is easy and teaching younger kids is easier. There are too many cases of hey I flunked "insert course here" I'm gonna major in education.

For one, student teaching needs to occur much earlier in the program and a down-check from a qualified evaluating teacher should result in your being dropped from the program, similar to having to pass your core classes in most majors with a B or above.

In short, it's rather pointless to evaluate teachers and hold them accountable when there simply is no one to replace them with.

Good teachers are only part of it. (2)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823070)

The problem is finding good teacher to improve education is good in a perfect world but it isn't.
You got suburban schools with most of the parents working at a good middle class job. The students will on the whole do better then the students who live in the slums.
Also you have the overall culture of the school. Where some schools cultures are setup as an education facility where they demand the students to learn things. Then there are other schools who operate more like a day care that just make sure the kids are safe for when they are there, and they use teaching as a way to try to pacify them.
School have a hard time separating the slackers from the people who want to do good but are having problems.
There are parents who put unneeded political pressure on the school to make sure if F+ turns to a D or his C turns into an B+.
There are parents who do nothing and let their child slide.
Discussion about politics, religion is forbidden.
Standardized test make sure every child thinks that everything must have a right answer.

You take a good teacher and put them in a bad environment they will not perform, or they may get fired very quickly.
You take a bad teacher and put them in a good environment the students will learn in spite of them.

I spent my childhood in spite of most of my teachers. I got the message every year from one teacher "There is no way you will be able to make it threw the next level of school" I didn't get this message during Grad school though. Granted I wasn't an A+ student a Solid B+ was my standard. But it let me go by and by no means was I ever in any threat of failing out. The problem is I have a learning disability in writing it is a minor one so it never was considered a disability, however it makes getting my point across difficult.

Teams (1)

sgt101 (120604) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823100)

Because, just like in every big company in the world, in teaching it's all down to an individual heroically battling the odds to make a success.

Reward that hero, beat those who stand in the way, throw them to the dogs or the dole queue.

What is most important is that those that do what they are told, and tell you how good things are, are rewarded. And you will retire (in 18mths with $40m in the bank) sure in the knowledge that all will be well forever, or at least until the next fucking lunatic with a year of business school shows up to mess with everything.

And now they have jumped over the cage bars and into schools. Great.

sorry, but its the truth. (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823164)

When that happens, we believe that districts will be on the cusp of

finding a way to fire all the older more expensive teachers and replace them with fresh college grads at the bottom of the salary scale.

Any number can be gamed, and this once certainly will.

The unions make BG look wimpy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823198)

You think BG is a tough negotiator? You wouldn't want to be bought out by him? The unions make him look like a wimp.

If they haven't already corrupted this study, when the results come out they'll make damn sure the contracts still have tenure and that it costs 10X to fire a teacher as it does to hire one.

If Apple had to follow the hiring and tenure policies of the public school system, your iPad would probably have 10 apps that crashed every 5 minutes.

A teacher's work yields results much later (3, Interesting)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823214)

You can only understand to full extent what a teacher has done when the kids they have taught grow up.

Re:A teacher's work yields results much later (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823740)

A good example of this: My second grade teacher taught us all how to use different bases. Her effort helps me to this day in reading and understanding octal and hexadecimal without even thinking. And yet using octal was on no standardized test.

(Yes, as Tom Lehrer points out, base 8 is just like base 10, if you're missing 2 fingers)

Re:A teacher's work yields results much later (1)

openfrog (897716) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823746)

Most insightful comment in this thread in the least amount of space. Thank you.

What research can teach education policy makers (2)

DoctorLard (926224) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823286)

Large quantitative HLM studies show that (the variance in) academic success at school is determined more by home life (social capital - upbringing basically, positive self concept) than by any other factor - the school, the teaching or genetics (although they are contributing factors). If governments - or indeed the Bill Gates Foundation - want to raise student results, then the best place to spend the money is to address poverty, domestic violence and healthcare.

How to hire effective teachers: pay them. (1)

Changa_MC (827317) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823314)

I taught for 3 years. Unfortunately the low pay and long hours and lack of facilities sucked, so I left. I find IT is much better by all relevant metrics.

School districts in California are so broke they are literally moving the kids into the least badly neglected buildings and letting the other half rot to the ground, while paying the teachers less than before to try to reach 40 students in one room all day.

You spend less on schools now than in the last half a century: less per child per year than you would sending them to 2 months of university classes.

You get what you pay for.

California pays teachers the most (1)

Quila (201335) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823742)

Highest average pay in the country, yet very low in the education rankings. It mainly goes by seniority, so if you taught for only three years you were entry-level.

Many of those teachers protesting in Wisconsin were making well over $80,000 per year, and Wisconsin is only in the middle for teacher pay. The average California pay is over $60,000.

I call bullshit. (1)

slashfoxi (610738) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823408)

Performance reviews in companies are a sham to justify the HR VP's salary. If Bill Gates knew how to motivate productive then I would expect Microsoft's tens of thousands of employees to give OSX and Ubuntu a little stiffer competition. Most of Microsofts productive inovations come from acquiring startups. Startups do know how to motivate, by employing small teams of people who large stakes in the actual success of their project and using natural selection to weed out those who can't or won't succeed.

Apples and Oranges (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823450)

One of the basic problems with teacher evaluation projects like this is that it assumes that the effect of a good teacher --- a qualitative value --- can be measured in the same way as we measure employee performance --- an essentially quantitative value. When you are a "good" employee, this means that you are productive, that you do what you are told a majority of the time; at the most simplistic, that you produce X + n widgets, with n being a value above the mean. This has nothing to do with teaching, where education is not the product: educated students are the product. A key ingredient of good teaching is getting students to understand that they have the ability to question, observe, theorize and think --- and to make them feel good about doing it. There is no standardized test that will show whether a teacher is providing feel-good-a-tivity to her students a priori, and until we begin to assess teachers with a different approach than we do with employees producing Taylerite widgets in the business world, we will continue to degrade both the quality of the education we can provide, and the value we attach to it as a society.

measurement vs the market of ideas (1)

scamper_22 (1073470) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823504)

Measurement is great. However business schools have become obsessed with measurement as they try to emulate science. Wouldn't it be great if you could just have a metric for everything? After all, it makes decisions pretty easy at that point. You just compare numbers.

However, in anything complex, large scale measurement is difficult... if not impossible. Just like your engineering/it job. How do you measure performance? Lines of code is easy... but stupid. Bug fixed/week... well that doesn't account for the person who writes high quality code that doesn't need so many bug fixes... In the end, like teachers... you just 'know' them. Colleagues can recognize them.

At the end of the day you'll spend more time, money, resources trying to have metrics than actually producing things of value.

And don't forget that bad metrics are worse than no metrics.
If you have two groups of software developers.
One doesn't use metrics at all.
Another uses lines of code.
The one with no metrics will produce better results than the one that with bad metrics.

In education, if we have bad metrics, it could produce worse results. teachers might do all kinds of things to get their numbers to look good that would be detrimental to the students.

The way we have solved it as a society has been via the market place of ideas. Everyone is free to try out their ideas. Everyone is free to start a business. They try and entice people to try their goods/service... good companies tend to gain more market share and better ideas thrive.

[insert disclaimer about crony capitalism, monopolies, legal .... all the things that stand in the way of the free market place of ideas... ]

It's far from perfect. let's face it, the best product is often beat by the one that is better marketed, or from a more 'reputable' company. However, no one needs to prove it is perfect. Only that is better than the alternative. The alternative being that you can predetermine success by reports/metrics.

I don't know what the best school policies are. I don't know what makes the best teacher. I don't know how applicable those are to every community and student. I don't know how policies today can change with conditions tomorrow. It's a million variable equation.

I have more trust in the market place of ideas than on bureaucracy to predetermine the winner.

My solution to education is simply to open it up. At its most basic level, let schools do their own thing. Empower local schools do manage their own resources and policies better. Yes, you will get some bad school of course as they would be poorly run. That's a trade off you make for diversity of ideas... some will be bad. You can set a basic set of limits of course, but push more decisions locally.

Going a bit further than that, you could introduce free entry so anyone can setup a school (maybe mandate it be non-profit)... and people just choose the school they want.

Mood of the class (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823550)

I'd have gotten a better attitude from some teachers if they were replaced by robots.

Wrong answer (1)

wcrowe (94389) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823642)

Teachers should be cooperating with each other, not competing with each other. This is why business practices should not be applied to schools. Schools are already suffering from this kind of thinking, and the teaching ranks are being filled with sociopaths who could care less about students.

Bill needs to ban Powerpoint (1)

Illpalazzo (2084816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823676)

As someone who is recently started up college again. I have to say one of the biggest factors that separate the good teachers and the blatantly horrible teachers are those that overuse powerpoint. I'm once again being reminded of one the horrible truths of college is the number of 'teachers' whose teaching methods are reading off powerpoint slides being projected in front of the entire class. I can't help but think "I'm paying this person how much to read text for me?" I recall all my favorite teachers from high school to college and I remember the one thing that separated them from the others was how they interacted with the class.

If you interact with your class like a human being, you will see results.

If you blankly read off a presentation that you didn't even write, you will put your class to sleep.

I'm being tortured every week by sitting through 2.5 hours of staring at this screen and thinking "I'll just read the textbook at home". So I can't help but appreciate the irony of Bill Gates wanting to contribute to education. When it was his company that I think helped contribute to the laziness it now practices.

um..... (1)

trum4n (982031) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823702)

Theft?

In the words of Steve Jobs... (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 2 years ago | (#37823732)

Forget Bill Gates, in the words of Steve Jobs [pcworld.com] :

"what is wrong with our schools in this nation is that they have become unionized in the worst possible way. This unionization and lifetime employment of K-12 teachers is off-the-charts crazy."

"What kind of person could you get to run a small business if you told them that when they came in, they couldn't get rid of people that they thought weren't any good? Not really great ones, because if you're really smart, you go, 'I can't win.' "

the real problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37823782)

It's a wonderful effort Bill's trying to do.
But until we remove tenure, nothing will work.

It doesn't belong in grade school or high school.
It was meant for professors that are doing research
on potentially controversial work.

So, in a way the, the way (currently) to find a good
teacher is one that hasn't made tenure yet.

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