Bill Gates, the world's richest man, has appointed himself our national education expert. It's pretty clear he's got the ear of Arne Duncan, who gleefully repeats whatever Gates says. If Gates says we need higher class sizes, so does Arne. If Gates says release junk science scores of individual teachers, Arne wholeheartedly concurs. If Gates says don't release them, Arne's on board with that too.
This begs the question, has anyone ever seen Arne Duncan speak while Bill Gates drinks a glass of water?
This notwithstanding, Bill Gates has determined, after having been responsible for closing scores of schools, after having decimated neighborhoods, after having privatized public schools, after having seriously cut into the power of teachers, the last bastion of vibrant unionism in these United States, that he needs to branch out. It's not enough to degrade and codify K-12 in ways his limited intellect can process. Apparently, we need to do the same in college.
Gates looks at the figures, which are all that matters. There aren't enough college graduates, determines Gates, and we must correct that. Let's get rid of all these teachers and buildings and simply have people sit on computers. Socializing is not an important part of college. Who cares about all those wasteful discussions about literature, morality, society and other such nonsense? Let's stick to the meat and potatoes. That way, we can make sure Americans get not only a one-dimensional K-12 education, based solely on test scores, but also an equally shallow college education.
Who cares whether or not the graduates end up getting jobs? That's not Bill's job. Who cares whether or not kids are raised in poverty? That's not Bill's job either. He doesn't think he can fix that problem. What he can do is bring "accountability." That means unionized teachers get fired if they don't get enough kids to pass the tests Bill's BFFs collect millions to design.
Why can't we export this model to college? Since K-12 teachers cannot be trusted to design tests, let alone grade them, why can't we use this model in college? Let's have all American students rated on standardized tests only, and graded by computers. Let's dispense with that human factor Bill can't comprehend.
Because anything Bill can't comprehend, apparently, is not worth considering.
Actually, all that talk about American education being in crisis, or left behind, or whatever they call it is abject nonsense. In fact, if you discount poverty (as Bill Gates does), American students are doing fine. If you were to address poverty (as Bill Gates does not), a whole lot more American students would perform a whole lot better.
It's a sin that we allow a clueless billionaire to toy with our national education system just as a two-year-old will toy with anything she can find. Just as we preserve things from our two-year-old, so they don't get irrevocably broken, we need to fight to preserve our schools, our legacy, our country, from this idiot savant.
This is particularly egregious as whatever is, was, or was perceived to be savant about this idiot continues to become more elusive.
Views expressed herein are solely those of the author or authors, and do not reflect views of my employers, the United Federation of Teachers, the MORE Caucus or any other union caucus.
Stories herein containing unnamed or invented characters are works of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.