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Bill Gates Proclaims US High Schools Obsolete

CmdrTaco posted more than 9 years ago | from the i-coulda-told-you-that dept.

Education 971

bryan sent us a story about Bill Gates' take on US High Schools. He says 'America's high schools are obsolete. By obsolete, I don't just mean that they're broken, flawed or underfunded, though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean our high schools even when they're working as designed cannot teach all our students what they need to know today.'"

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Bill Gates is right (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794382)

CmdrTaco went to high school and he still can't even edit Slashdot properly.

MOD PARENT UP !!!! (0, Offtopic)

lord_rob the only on (859100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794425)


frosty pisty (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794389)

i am king!!! bill gates is right america suxx donkey ass

So, what does he propose? (-1, Troll)

Mr Ambersand (862402) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794391)

That the 9th grade girls MS is making a pitch to go directly from Jr high to working for them (at $4.50/hr, perhaps?).

I agree! (5, Interesting)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794392)

Hey for once Bill Gates and I actually agree. HS was fun and I did enjoy a select few classes but for the most part everything else was a waste of time generally designed to prepare students for the years ahead. Not a bad idea in theory, but for those who are already prepared and are actually interested in learning...HS life can be somewhat lacking.

In my opinion college was even worse. Here I am paying thousands of dollars per semester for the same "I'm a kid, beat on me until I can handle Real Life." stuff. I loaded up 18 credits every semester like an eager naive person only to discover 3 (1 class) of those 18 had any relevance whatsoever to my area of specialization. Once in a while another class would act as a supporting class, but more often than not the rest was just filler designed to keep me busy for a few hours every day. The result? After about 3 years of this I was sick of it...I could barely stomach a fourth. I was tired of seeing my money--earned by working--being spent on some idiot teaching an Economics class who readily admit his sole purpose at that university was to make our lives as difficult as possible and possibly actually teach something relevant to the course.

Looking back, I still feel it was a total waste of money. It made my life so miserable I didn't even have time to stop and enjoy the "college life" that many say makes it all worthwhile. It's my money, I should be able to spend it as I please...not to have someone tell me that I have to waste it on filler courses rather than something of actual use and interest to me.

In the end? I discovered I enjoyed the life of employment much more. All those years of having some teacher/professor telling me how hard life is and how clueless and naive all us students were. Truth be told, I learned most of what I use in the workplace either on the job or on my own. Not to mention I was no longer paying my boss to allow me the privilege to work--I was finally being paid to be there!

Re:I agree! (0, Offtopic)

Primotech (731340) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794397)

Uhm, just out of curiousity. How did you type all that so fast? :P

Re:I agree! (1, Insightful)

nuclear305 (674185) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794429)

Why, my typing class of course allowed me to type that fast!

Actually I was preparing my reply while it was still in the mysterious future. It's a subject I feel extremely passionate about--some kind of education reform is needed, unfortunately I can't say I have many better ideas.

Re:I agree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794465)

Uhmm... just click on the '*' next to the parent's name, and read. Hint: must be a subscriber, gets to read stories a bit earlier than the rest of us.

Learning is More Than Mathematics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794458)

When you see international assessments of learning across various countries, you soon discover that Chinese students [] outperform American students in areas like mathematics and science. Yet, learning is more than mathematics. The typical graduate from an American high school is more likely to condemn human-rights abuses. The typical graduate from a Chinese high school (including those from Taiwan province and Hong Kong) is more likely to ignore, or even to advocate, gross human-rights abuses [] .

Even though the density of Ph.D.'s in Taiwan is much high than the density in the USA, why is the USA a much better place in which to live than Taiwan?

Re:I agree! (5, Insightful)

wheelbarrow (811145) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794532)

I agree somewhat but we must tread carefully if we are going to overhaul things. Your main point seems to be an objection to any classes that were not 'relevant' to your area of specialization. I'll admit that there were classes that I hated because I was not interested in the topic and I objected to surrendering my time and energy to some idiot professor who could demand work from a captive audience. However, some of my fondest memories are of general education classes in literature, philosophy, and history.

There is a danger that people will miss these useful general ed classes if we track kids into a specialty too early. I have a friend who was tracked into math and computer science in the British education system. From age 16 onwards he never took any class that was not 'relavant' to specialized match and computer science. He missed all of those experiences I loved in taking some general ed as a more mature 21 or 22 year old. I also think it is limiting and mistaken to track kids too early because a lot of kids simply are not mature enough to choose a track when they are still teenagers. I was a late bloomer. I did not choose computer science until I was 20. If I was too deeply tracked at 16 I would have been wrong and miserable.

Our education system must produce thoughtful and contemplative adults. I think there are a lot of people that just want universities to crank out trained worker bees at age 22.

Re:I agree! (2, Insightful)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794545)

What was your major? At most US universities, the number of credit hours you spend on electives is usually a very small fraction of the total number of hours you need to graduate if you're working toward a BS (BAs spend about half of their time on electives). Most of them are finished during your first and second year, and by your third year all of your time is spent on courses completely relevant to your field.

And in the end, your degree probably helped at least a little in getting the job you have now, granted it wasn't everything.

Re:I agree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794551)

The 3rd and 4th years are where it really picks up! Towards the end of your 3rd year you will be taking classes soley devoted to your field. The 4th year should be nothing but senior- and grad-level courses with somewhat large projects and involved labs, depending on your field. Your senior design project is where you will be let loose. Reading your comments I think you might have actually enjoyed that. You have to figure out a project to do and then you have to do it. Your hand will not be held. It's quite challenging depending on your particular skill set and the technical difficulty of your project, but it is definately a good learning experience.

Re:I agree! (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794553)

If college and high school are a waste as you say, then we shouldn't do them. But if you don't go to high school and college, where do you learn? Although you may have felt parts were a waste, you did learn, if nothing else, how to deal with people.

Re:I agree! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794561)

I'm sorry you didn't get laid in college. My intuition tells me you were a business or management information systems major. If you don't have the social skills to have fun while studying bullshit classes like Economics, you should have studied a real science to expand your mind and actually challenge yourself.

I'd be upset too if studying for my classes consisted of memorizing a glossary in a paperback book AND I didn't have any friends.

Re:I agree! (3, Insightful)

AthanK (844650) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794568)

I think college was definitely worse than high school. I learned more during the last two years of high school than I did during all of college. If anything, I believe high school needs to teach kids that it is up to them to educate themselves, and that they cannot rely on classes or college to really prepare them for even 10% of life.

I see people graduating from college with the attitude, "Finally...I don't have to learn anything more." Instead, they should be thinking, "I know how to teach myself whatever is necessary." It's all about changing the attitudes and empowering people to be personally responsible for their education and future.

Just a stab in the dark... (5, Funny)

D-Cypell (446534) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794395)

This critique doesnt happen to co-incide with the release of "Microsoft US high school 2005" does it?

It's already been released. (1)

game kid (805301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794483)

In the Bronx (my place), Bill Gates always promotes smaller schools (basically by splitting up giant high schools into small "academy"-type schools; my second HS after Bronx Science was the first of many), and my college (and high schools before that) are filled to the brim with Windows PCs. It's no coincidence; he wants to fund schools too, if only to put teh Windows logo in them.

Re:It's already been released. (1)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794528)

Bill Gates always promotes smaller schools (basically by splitting up giant high schools into small "academy"-type schools

In Iowa, we are trying to close small schools and form those giant high schools.

Nothing like modeling our education here in the state after those that don't work as opposed to keeping what has worked well for generations (small schools).

I agree. (5, Interesting)

LiNKz (257629) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794399)

As a recent former High School student, I concur. They spent so much time trying to prepare us to take a test, they didn't stop to think that maybe they should prepare us in general, and design a test that would -- test -- us. We seriously had a class everyday that was nothing but practice testing for the FCAT [] .

Teaching to educate the students became a lesser priority. Teaching what we needed to pass a test so the school could get a good grade, that is what happened -- and still occuring. Out of the day, at least two hours of it is being spent teaching students nothing but what is on a test. Every single day.

I feel like complaining to someone.

Re:I agree. (5, Insightful)

0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794449)

Interestingly, Asian education is extremely exam-oriented. We are not forced to do tests daily, or anything of the sort, but we only study material that is related to our syllabus, on which we are examined.

However, the difference as I see it, is that the entire educational structure is planned to teach everything needed to prepare students for tertiary education. As such, the tests are only used to measure a student's performance.

The US education system seems to only have copied the testing procedures of the rest of the world, without understanding how or why it works.

Re:I agree. (1)

Exocrist (770370) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794470)

Being a senior in high school, I definately agree with this. Lots of classes skip information because "you dont need to know it for the test." A lot of the time, it's because there are tons of kids in the class, and there isn't enough time to make sure every kid learns this material that isn't needed for them to pass the test. AP classes are no better. While you do learn more and go further in depth, there are tons of topics in Calc and Physics that we skipped because we "didn't need to know them for the test."

Re:I agree. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794527)

as a recent graduate from a Florida HS, I totally agree with you. Not to brag, but I wasn't one to worry about the FCAT (a standardized test whose passing was required to graduate). Not many people I knew actually worried about it. So far the smart kids, it became just another test. To everyone else (administrators, teachers, other students), it became a focal point of the school year. Is this what we need? Do we need to sacrifice curriculum in the name of some test that says we can operate in the 'real world'? sorry, much like linkz, i'm just rambling, but I'm glad this came up because its something that has bothered me as well.

Re:I agree. (1)

rekenner (849871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794530)

Florida represent.
Yeah... Florida schools are hell bent on teaching the FCAT. At my school, if you get a 1-3 (3 being passing, 5 being highest you can achieve), you must take a class for the subject that you got a 1-3 in. Even if you passed both math and reading, you could end up taking a course in both. That means an hour and a half a day year round or 3 hours a day for a semester.
All of this mostly because school funding is based on how well students do. The schools with the best scores get the most money. Anyone ELSE see something incredibly wrong with that?

I'm lucky in that I can pass this junk with my eyes closed, but the process is still bunk.

Now, even worse, is that the superintedent of my district was trying to cut out all but academic electives for all students. Stuff like foreign lanugages and writing courses would be all that students could take. The rest of the time would have been put to more academics and - you guessed it - FCAT preparation. This got shot down, but that it would even be proposed is scary.

Schools are broken? Hell yeah.

I agree... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794401)

What they need to know today is that the last time industrialists partnered with the state and made gigantic returns on investment, we called it "World War II". The republicunts are showing all the classic signs.

Well then... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794402)

Put your money where your mouth is, Moneybags!

On a non-related note (0, Offtopic)

teckjunkie (840404) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794406)

Alot of high schools are beginning to switch over to linux and open-source applications to save money.

Re:On a non-related note (1)

sH4RD (749216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794451) [] - And not to save money, just because we can. We also try to avoid this high school problem of stupid classes and useless teaching. We even have senior technology research projects, on whatever the student is interested in. Better yet the current mood is to try to get rid of some useless (but state required) classes such as a 4th year of history in order to allow students to participate in classes they find useful to themselves.

Re:On a non-related note (1)

jbash (784046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794511)

" Alot of high schools are beginning to switch over to linux and open-source applications to save money."

Good point. Also, why isn't school online? There should be tutors and supervisors online that help you. The sale of those massive school facilities would do a lot to finance other things.

High school reall needs to go the way of college, ie the scheduling system. Kids don't need to be there for "study hall" and any other filler class.

New in Microsoft Office family (2, Funny)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794407)

Microsoft HighSchool 2006

Re:New in Microsoft Office family (1)

Jozer99 (693146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794567)

Numbers are out. It would be

Microsoft HighSchool XP


Microsoft HighSchool Experience.

Captain Obvious to the Rescue. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794410)

"..such as, where they want to go today?" Gates added.

yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794411)

"I mean our high schools even when they're working as designed cannot teach all our students what they need to know today."

so he does propose a microsoft-first-aid course? imagine how everybody were able to fix a simple "i cannot move any icons"-error by themselfs!

thank you bill!

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794413)

Is he going to start leading the fight against teaching religious fairy tales as scientific fact?

I'm afraid he's right. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794414)

Unfortunately, it's not just high schools, and not just U.S. We are now in the information age where knowledge is accessible through many more sources than the regular "classroom" setting. The world's education system has not changed much since the Middle Ages, whereas technology has.

That's not "obsolete" (5, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794415)

That's just "broken". Something is obsolete when it is superseded by a superior alternative. I'd be very happy if current high schools were obsolete- it would mean the kids had somewhere else to go that would give them a better education. Sadly this is not the case, so "obsolete" is incorrect.

Re:That's not "obsolete" (2, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794436)

"it would mean the kids had somewhere else to go that would give them a better education"

They have: it's called libraries and the Internet. All a school needs to do is teach kids the basics of reading, writing and maths, and the rest they can learn from a good library and net connection.

There is simply no justification for 'public schools' these days: they exist to keep teachers and bureaucrats in cushy, well-paid jobs, not to teach anyone anything (other than to turn up on time and do what they're told, like good little corporate drones whose jobs will be outsourced at the first opportunity to cheaper corporate drones abroad).

Re:That's not "obsolete" (1)

Exocrist (770370) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794500)

The problem with just learning it all from the internet and libraries, is that most kids (and adults, probably) dont have the discipline to actually study all the information in depth. There's no way of "testing" their information to see how much they've learned.

Re:That's not "obsolete" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794560)

Exactly. I'm a high school senior, and although I'm the top in my class I know very well that if I weren't in school there's no way I would have learned as much as I did. As interesting as education is, I'd usually find some way to procrastinate or goof off. The vast majority of people -- especially teenagers, judging from my classmates -- need external motivation and enforcement to keep us focused. It's just human nature.

Re:That's not "obsolete" (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794513)

You find me someone who has the motivation to do enough studying on their own to compensate for not going to school and I'll find you someone who already does.

Re:That's not "obsolete" (3, Insightful)

rekenner (849871) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794569)

Indeed. Those truly motivated CAN learn things outside of school. My school doesn't offer programming courses. So what am I doing? Taking classes online through the state's online course program. Hell, aside from slashdot breaks, that's what I'm doing right now.
If a one wants to learn, they can; regardless of if the person is in school or not.

However, the average student would not devote nearly as much time to learning.

Re:That's not "obsolete" (3, Insightful)

tehshen (794722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794584)

You sound like someone with a serious grudge against the education system. I wonder what it is.

Leaning stuff from books and Internet is boring. Learning stuff from a teacher with other pupils can be fun. I have been reading Dive Into Python for about two months, and although I could probably complete it all in a day I am only about a third through, because I get bored and play some games instead. However, I have been doing maths for about 13 of the 16 years I have been alive, and I enjoy it. All taught by a teacher, with other people.

Not to mention you do not make any friends.

If learning from library and Internet is so good, why are schools still here?

Re:That's not "obsolete" (1)

darkmeridian (119044) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794586)

The government has to take on the job of teaching children. Children need discipline. Give a kid a good library and a net connection, and he'll at best read slashdot. AIM and chat rooms will take up the rest of his or her time.

Anyway, education is too important to privatize. The government should give this opportunity to propagandize to the next generation away. We are not (yet) at a church-state, but if we let Catholic schools take all the children then where will our scientists come from? Not here.

Re:That's not "obsolete" (1)

badriram (699489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794478)

There are alternative definitions to obsolete:

Obsolete: Outmoded in design, style, or construction

outmoded: No longer usable or practical;

So in this case it means the highschools are not practical, does not mean they have a better alternative

Re:That's not "obsolete" (1)

badriram (699489) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794496)

Ofcourse it is from :)

Re:That's not "obsolete" (1)

ShadyG (197269) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794557)

omething is obsolete when it is superseded by a superior alternative.

It's spelled "homeschooling".

This isn't Bill Gates (5, Informative)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794416)

Bill Gates may be repeating it, but these are the ideas of the Aspen Group, a coalition of business leaders and billionaires. Their opinion is that schools were designed to make kids good factory workers, and they are obsolete because kids no longer grow up to work in factories. This is true, schools are obsolete. However, be use a skeptic's eye when these people tell you what the replacement should be.

This is largely a group of Fabians out to preserve the social hierarchy. It's members include everyone from Steve Case to Jack Valenti. Anyway, I just thought you should know who that even if it is Bill advocating the ideas this time, he is really just the spokeman for a larger group.

Re:This isn't Bill Gates (4, Informative)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794440)

Oh, and here is the link [] to the Aspen Institute homepage.

You can read more about them here [] .

Re:This isn't Bill Gates (2, Interesting)

lampajoo (841845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794461)

right, if it's good for them it's probably bad for us.

Re:This isn't Bill Gates (4, Interesting)

Z0mb1eman (629653) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794538)

The first interesting post in this story, that might actually lead to some intelligent discussion... thank you.

Why SHOULDN'T schools train kids to work in factories/IT? (really, I wouldn't differentiate too much between the two).

No matter how much we might dislike it, someone has to work in factories and in all the "low" jobs. The only feasible social hierarchy IS a pyramid; anything else just wouldn't work.

IMO, what makes the difference between a good system and a bad system is how flexible that pyramid is. Something like Brave New World, where your place in the pyramid is determined at birth, is bad. Something where anyone can move up (or down) to the best of their ability is good. The tricky part is defining "the best of their ability"... is it how smart they were born? (and no, all people are NOT born equal). Is it how well their parents planned for their future? Is it how wealthy their parents are?

Re:This isn't Bill Gates (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794542)

I think you'll find schools real use is to keep kids out of parents hair while they work, it's a basic prison to keep kids entertained.

We started to see this and now everything is revolving around a system based on popularity and how well you can do on tests. Any real exprience you have is instantly invalid because some kid fresh out of college with a degree has papers saying he can do it and will take half the money because he doesn't have two kids and a wife to help look after.

This isn't even going into the bullshit politics of "oh I know the boss, I'm his daughters living dildo, so I come before you do dickhead".

Lets face it, the stone age was better then this, because at least then you could beat the pretty rich boy round the head with your not so smooth and pretty rock. Now it's "touch me and my daddies lawyers will sue you!"

public schools (3, Insightful)

Coneasfast (690509) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794419)

i think he is referring to public high schools, which ARE quite horrible in america.

here in canada, we have a 1-tier school system (as well as health btw), all normal schools are public, and it works out quite well. note though: our taxes are very high compared to the US.

Re:public schools (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794548)

Yes, but, SHOCK, the money is spent on the people! Thus taxes are merely redistributing the wealth, rather than going to bomb someone else in another part of the world, or paying for someone's pork barrel project that no one will actually use!

Re:public schools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794576)

Canada === 1 Tier?

Hmmm. Catholic, Pentacostal, Baptist, etc.etc.etc.

These are just some examples of where the 1 tier changes. I live in a Canadian town where the Catholic and Public schools share the same school yard.

They have staggered recess and actual school days. Why? To segregate the kids. Hmmmmmmm. Weird.

And a single tier'd health system?

No I'm afraid not.

If you are a hockey star, politician or rich person you get the support/tests/doctor time that most people who actually need it don't get.

Go figure.

standardized testing (1)

joelanders (743036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794420)

Public high schools base their education too much on the standardized tests. They teach the students only what they need to know to score well on the tests and therefore make the school look "good".

waystation (2, Insightful)

IAmNotACowboy (827513) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794421)

high schools obsolete? well, perhaps. i just sort of saw them as a waystation between middle school and college (always assuming you manage to pick a good one).

Just like Linux (2, Funny)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794422)

Try this version

He says 'Linux is obsolete. By obsolete, I don't just mean that it's broken, flawed or junk, though a case could be made for every one of those points. By obsolete, I mean Linux even when working as designed compare to windows today.'

It's all the same drivel with a few words edited. I suggest we stop posting crap by this guy because he's clearly talking out his arse all the time and only gets away with it because he rode the "in 2000 we'll be in flying cars" fad of his era and is now a rich bastard out of touch with the world he helped create.

Re:Just like Linux (1)

sH4RD (749216) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794493)

You know, most people who rode the "in 2000 we'll be in flying cars" fad are poor, insane men living in the back woods of West Virginia. But okay. Fair enough.

Re:Just like Linux (1)

Gallamine (610774) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794533)

That's a faulty comparison. There's no reason to exchange the two words. Why not put the word "banana" in there and it would make just as much sense.

Running Start (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794424)

That's why they have the "Running Start" program. So that your sophmore or junior year, you have the option to go to college and your public school will pay for the credits...

"America's high schools are obsolete" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794430)

As for me, I'll wait until netcraft can confirm this.

nothing for you to see here, move along!

Money (2, Informative)

tyman (831421) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794432)

"He said high schools must be redesigned to prepare every student for college"

What about the kids who cannot afford to go to college. The funding for scholarships is just as important as preparation. As a high school student in Canada but it's not extremely different, I know that if kids know they don't have a chance of being able to afford college, they will not even try to go. [] states that the money spent on the Iraq war could buy over 7.5 million college scholarships. However, if you have a room full of corporate execs who probably have contracts in Iraq, this is not a favourable opinion.

Re:Money (1)

SamSeaborn (724276) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794590)

I know that if kids know they don't have a chance of being able to afford college, they will not even try to go.

Boo hoo. Suck it up Nancy! Life is what you make of it -- you don't have to work a hundreth as hard as your grandfather did, and compared to people 200 years ago you live like freakin' royalty! Get a job, get a student loan, get an education and a trade.

You live in the best country in the world, and every opportunity on the planet is open to you. Stop yer sobbin and get in the game.


Learning is More than Mathematics (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794433)

When you see international assessments of learning across various countries, you soon discover that Chinese students [] outperform American students in areas like mathematics and science. Yet, learning is more than mathematics. The typical graduate from an American high school is more likely to condemn human-rights abuses. The typical graduate from a Chinese high school (including those from Taiwan province and Hong Kong) is more likely to ignore, or even to advocate, gross human-rights abuses [] .

Even though the density of Ph.D.'s in Taiwan is much high than the density in the USA, why is the USA a much better place in which to live than Taiwan?

Re:Learning is More than Mathematics (3, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794526)

What makes you think that American students are more likely to condemn human rights abuses? That article about Tibetans didn't say a word about American students' views.

The fact is, they seem pretty willing to give up their own rights [] . Yes, education is more than math - but that doesn't mean we're doing a better job at any of the rest than we are at math.

Re:Learning is More than Mathematics (1)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794556)

"Even though the density of Ph.D.'s in Taiwan is much high than the density in the USA, why is the USA a much better place in which to live than Taiwan?"

Erm, could it be that the measure of PhD's per square foot is totally irrelevant to measuring the "goodness" of a particular society ?

Re:Learning is More than Mathematics (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794572)

The grandparent writer uses density to mean "Ph.D.'s per capita". It is not measured in terms of area. Are you Chinese?

Oh Noes! (0, Offtopic)

phazethru (785978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794434)

I've been blinded by a flash of the obvious!

who cares? (0, Troll)

lampajoo (841845) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794435)

fuck him

Re:who cares? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794591)

The only post so far that doesn't tip-toe around, and it gets modded troll. Good work, morons.

Contrast that with the Magical School (2, Funny)

seppy (2431) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794438)

Now the magical school, that is where the action is. I can't figure out why people send their kids to public schools, because studies by Magical Schools for Action has proven that "Magical Schools that Solve All Probable and Forseeable Problems" get better test scores. Man, I just don't get people who haven't taken that next step into the future. It's there waiting for you, we just can't keep educating this kids like we're doing it now. Enroll your child in a Magical School that Solves All Probable and Forseeable Problems today. You'll be glad you did.

imagine.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794445)

a bunch of first graders, drawing a surrealistic picture of motion-blurred 60ies-colored windows floating through the air.

that funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794446)

as a Linux loving highschool student i was going to say that i thought Bill Gates and Microsoft to be obsolete...


Interesting - only high schools? (4, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794450)

I really hope they're not planning on just focusing on high schools. How can you increase the rigor of high school so much if a good percentage of the kids coming in are reading below grade level and not even doing pre-algebra?

Look at any math curriculum across the upper elementary and middle school grades - it's so much repetition it'll blow your mind. Kids learn almost nothing new in sixth or seventh grade unless they're in pre-algebra. This kind of thing has got to start a lot lower than high school if they're serious about it.

Bill Gates the great architect of our future? (3, Insightful)

Yonder Way (603108) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794454)

He also thought that "Microsoft Bob" represented the future of computing, that 640KB of RAM should be enough for everyone, etc. The guy lucked into a fabulous opportunity and held onto it through lies, extortion, establishing a monopoly, and other non-competetive practices.

Yes, the public school system is broken. But I don't have any faith that Gates of all people will have the answer to repairing it.

Strangely... (3, Insightful)

Roguelazer (606927) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794462)

Strangely, I'm inclined to agree with Mr. Gates on this one. The High School experience has become that of "7 hours of MCAS [] -Prep" here in Massachusetts. Hell, they've dropped World History from the curriculum. Entirely. Gotta love the NCLB act, eh?

This is an old idea (2, Interesting)

sakusha (441986) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794471)

This has been a generally accepted idea for many years. For example, Neil Postman's book "Teaching as a Subversive Activity" advanced the idea back in 1969. He declared that since schools were run by school boards that were responsible to the parents of the schooled kids, and not the kids, schools would always be designed to teach the same things the parents learned, which would by definition already be obsolete.
It's sort of like the old maxims about the military always preparing for the LAST war, and always being unprepared to fight using the methods the NEXT war will require.
I don't see any real solution to the problem. You really can only teach using the methods that presumably worked on the past generation, there's no proven track record for experimental techniques in teaching. I've taken courses in college by teachers developing new methods and the classes were just as likely to be a disaster as a success.

todays schools face increased crime activities (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794472)

because of those linux-lamo-criminals who pirate well developed software.

where have the good ol' days of crack dealing gone.

well, what an amazing modern time we live in..

The problem is such a wide range of students. (2, Interesting)

jbash (784046) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794479)

The range of abilities among students has gotten so diverse, most high school classes have literally become day care settings. Half of the class is asleep on their desk, while the other students are IMing eachother from their cell phones.

I TAed CS to college undergrads and once I was trying to teach C code for finding factorial to the class (most of them had already completed 75% credits).

There was a pindrop silence and finally one tard managed to ask "what is a factorial?"

This stuff is taught to Indian children in their 6th grade. And they are learning binary number system in 6th grade. And they are going to normal Govt maintained public schools.

HS education in US is a JOKE!

HS is 4 years. However, the educational value is much less than that. I think the average US HS curriculum can be mastered in one year by a bright teenager.

The bottom line is that after sixth grade, there should be three options:

1. Smart kids do a college prep track
2. Dumb kids do a vocational track
3. Troublemakers go to reform school

Re:The problem is such a wide range of students. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794518)

Smart kids go to google
dumb kids go to SCO
troublemakers go to Microsoft

Re:The problem is such a wide range of students. (1)

supmylO (773375) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794579)

I agree with you here, but in reality this isn't going to work. What happens when a rich kid is one of the #2 and his parents don't want him to go to school to be a carpenter? There is no way this would ever happen, people in power (rich) aren't going to send their kids to a lesser school than some poor smart kid.

Something for everybody (2, Insightful)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794481)

Gates is right-on.

The public school system is trying to be everything for everybody and has wound up being nothing for nobody. (I love the irony of that last sentence!)

It's not jsut broken -- it is based on a paradigm that is obsolete. No amount of "fixing" is going to work. We must rethink the entire enterprise.

If we continue to manufacture passive students ready for 19th century factory work and then complain about all the factory jobs going overseas, well we got what we asked for -- an outdated workforce.

The new age will be creativity and knowledge-based, and will require students to work in knowledge areas as adeptly as master bricklayers build stone walls.

The Titanic is going down -- we had better stop re-arranging the deck chairs and start building a new boat.

Well, they are! (2, Insightful)

tbuckner (861471) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794484)

My daughter is in college and she's going to be getting $10 an hour for tutoring high school kids in a method called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). It includes 'Cornell note taking' and other techniques. She, and the other tutors, indignantly wanted to know why they had not been exposed to this when THEY were in high school. "I'd have probably gone to Harvard," she told me. That's just one obvious example of how our schools do things much the way they did a century ago, even though we've learned a lot about neuroscience since then. Math, especially, is badly taught here in most schools (rote rule-learning instead of letting kids beat their head against a problem and then giving them the shortcut, a superior approach used in many a foreign classroom). And then there's the funding mess, what with local property taxes and all. Do you seriously think wealthy elites all want the inner-city ragamuffins to get an equally good education and compete for jobs against their own offspring? Why do you suppose those punitive, distracting high-stakes tests are applied to public schools, but not to private/parochial schools nor homeschoolers? Jeepers, the schools here are a headache.

Bill Gates Finally gets one right (1)

rossayoung (786496) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794487)

I think he finally got one right you know. How many schools in foreign countries require calculas in their schools i think all high schools should have 4 years of english 4 years of math 4 years of history 4 years of pe (because you know we need it) 4 years of computers and electives (this is the geek portion ;) 4 years of science

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794488)

When will schools be fully funded, I want to hear a dollar amount given? But I would like to bet you that even with that dollar amount, our education system will still fail. It's corrupted to the core and needs to be scrapped or overhauled dramatically.

Tying education to a political system... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794491) a huge mistake. Our education systems have become a government propaganda machine first, and jobs programs for teachers second, and an under funded pensions system third. There are only scraps left over for actual education of children.

This is obvious to anybody who goes to college. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794494)

My high school just didn't offer any kind of preparation for college-level courses, especially in the math department. The only computer course it had was basically Microsoft Office 101. We didn't even have basic calculus. The highest level course offerred was Trigonometry for Christ's sake. While important, this is not nearly enough to prepare you for college. I had to take a few remedial courses just to catch up to where I should have been. This included basic courses like College Algebra and Trigonometry. It was kind of embarassing that I would have to go through these classes as a Computer Engineering student. But doing it definately helped to build my math foundation. I found Calculus classes to be relatively easy. Differential Equations was a bit hard at first, but that turned out to be my favorite math class.

Today I feel confident in my math skills, but it would have been easier and I would have made progress faster if my high school had any decent offerings in the math department. On the other side, I think the langauge skills were sufficient. As you can see, I can form full sentences using (mostly) correct grammar and punctuation. I am also somewhat of a grammar/spelling Nazi, so maybe it was more self-education than anything else. We did have a Latin class, though. I don't remember much, but it helped somewhat in my literature classes. The Latin teacher was really great.

I guess public high schools can be a mixed bag. You'll have a very few great teachers, some bad teachers, and the rest will be somewhere inbetween. Students need to take an active role in their eduation if they want to get ahead of the pack. I wish I had known this when I was still in high school.

Bill Gates then went on to say... (1)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794501)

There won't be anything we won't say to people to try and convince them that our way is the way to go.

Left hand side of the Curve (5, Insightful)

rueger (210566) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794519)

"The most blunt assessment came from Microsoft chief Bill Gates, who has put more than $700 million into reducing the size of high school classes through the foundation formed by him and his wife, Melinda. He said high schools must be redesigned to prepare every student for college"

Hmmm. So Bill, what of the say twenty percent of the population who just aren't going to be able to make the grades to get into college? The left hand side of the bell curve so to speak.

Used to be that those folks would train for a trade or even go to work for a manufacturer or similar employer where loyalty and hard work would make up for a lesser intelligence.

Whoops - those jobs have been shipped offshore.

What of the twenty percent of the population who might have good enough grades to get into a college, but who can't afford the tuition or the loans? Sure some folks can work two jobs and attend college full time, but that's not possible for every student in the country.

Bill, before offering half baked solutions to the "education problem" try to think of one that takes all of these people into consideration.

Re:Left hand side of the Curve (5, Insightful)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794578)

You're absolutely right. Not to mention the fact that if somehow they did get it to where every student went to a four-year college, then a college degree would mean as much as a high school diploma does now. Then we'd have a whole new set of politicians saying that we need to prepare every American for a master's degree... Eventually, we'll be a nation of students, getting several PhDs apiece and not entering the work force til we're 30-35. You'll need a bachelor's to work at McDonald's, but if you ever want to make Assistant Manager you better work on that MBA!

(Sez the girl finishing her Master's and getting ready to start a PhD program in the fall... *sigh*)

I agree with Bill STOP THIS VEHICLE (1)

Tab is on Slashdot (853634) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794531)

As a current High School student, I concur. A story was posted awhile back about how the schooling system essentially evolved as a submissive-working-class production line, and I've found this view to be exceedingly accurate. It's become very apparent to me that the High School grading system has nothing whatsoever to do with actual intelligence and absolutely everything to do with ability to follow directions. Aside from that, I couldn't dream of quantifying how ridiculously unhealthy twelve years of getting up at around six in the morning, being forced to take part in things you don't at all enjoy, averaging four to five hours a night (in the later years, anyway), and not eating when you're hungry is (AND APPARENTLY NOT LEARNING ANYTHING ABOUT SENTENCE CONSTRUCTION EITHER). To boot, 90% or more of what I've learned in the past four years has been learned on my own free time, spending too much time online. The fact is that high school fucking sucks. But everyone who could possibly change it no longer has to put up with it, ergo no longer gives a shit. Good to at least see the idea getting around, anyway.

High School Classes Are a Joke (1)

Zolotkey (701883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794534)

The school system here, cuts classes that could help our career. They are starting to only offer basic and some Pre-AP/AP classes. But the only tech part of our Science-Math-Technology magenet is freshmen typing or web design.

On the high schools going about the tests. Well orginally in the SMT, as stated above, when you are a freshmen you take Physics and Chemistry. Well now ts just basic science to prepare the students for next years standardized state test.

Of course (1)

RaguMS (149511) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794537)

Of course high schools are obsolete - If children are being taught to reject the notion of evolution in some states, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Every year it seems as less importance is placed on teaching science in schools. Simply purchasing a computer for students is not a magic solution that can grow geniuses - we all know that.
Sadly, schools will never be reformed properly while the current administration (and all of its followers) decide the course for our children.

Flamebait (0)

ICECommander (811191) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794539)

articles are obsolete too

I think he is partly right (1)

reassor (817660) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794565)

Most of the things a company does,wasn't learned in schools.Only the Basic Education are provided there.But it is not the Task to teach somebody how to do Things 10 Years upfront.The People itself have to educate themselfs AFTER the school!

Living on the edge of nowhere,i have to learn all the time,since i started working 10 Years ago.So if the company goes poof,i could search for jobs needing other skills.

Not the school's fault. (2, Insightful)

Krankheit (830769) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794573)

It is the fault of the students. Even my private school has had this problem. I have excelled in all my classes and received high honours. However, 85% of the students get poor grades that are not honourable. And it is all their fault. Their mindset "chemistry is boring, and math is too hard" is their own fault and they don't deserve an education if they don't even care about learning.

Drop Out? (2, Insightful)

nixdorf_ (161552) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794577)

Why should we listen to a college dropout talk about the importance of education?

I agree that it is important, but what makes a college dropout an authority on education?

I agree with Billy G.. (1)

tmasky (862064) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794580)

And it reminds me of this book review pointed to me by a someone: html?tid=146&tid=103&tid=6

Keep meaning to pick a copy up.

Quoting the header:
"His verdict is not what you'd expect: the school system cannot be fixed, Gatto asserts, because it has been designed not to educate. Skeptical? So was I."

Education... DIY (1)

adam31 (817930) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794585)

You make your own education, Period.

All it takes is initiative. Which is something kids today have never needed to learn. I think kids are in a situation where they expect success to be handed to them even if they don't bother to try. And this story is just more ammo to blame the teachers, blame the government, blame blame blame.

If your kids are dumb, if they don't feel the need to learn, it's your fault. Teach your kids that things in life aren't just handed away.

Bill Gates is on the mark. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11794588)

Many colleges and universities end up having to teach what their students should have learned from half-assed high school teachers. Alternative schools can give someone their diploma in a half the time it would take a regular high school. In high school, many teachers just waste the time and don't teach anything. The taxpaying public get nothing for their tax dollars and elementary teachers get the axe when it's time crunch the budget. High school teachers receive higher pay than elementary teachers who help students learn. It's time to change that.

Nothing new here... move along. (1)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 9 years ago | (#11794592)

Let's see... Teachers aren't paid enough, so while a child is growing up, they are bombarded with images of money, possessions and other *bling* by TV and celebrites who are otherwise uneducated (anybody think that the actors/actresses/singers are college grads?). So these children see these images and want professions that pay well enough to buy this crap. Teacher isn't one of them.

Sure being a teacher is a honorable profession, but it barely pays the bills. My mother has been a teacher for 20yrs and I made more than her after 3 years as an engineer. She made have taught over 400 students in her career, and how is it that I make more than her? How many doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers have resulted from passing through her class?

If you pay the teachers more, then you'll have more people WANTING to become teachers which will increase the quality of those who teach..

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