Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Bill Gates Has Failed

The reason that people listen to billionaires isn't that they are smarter than the rest of us. We listen because their obscene wealth means that when they latch onto an idea, no matter how harebrained, they have the wherewithal to actually try to make it happen.

Since 2009, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $400 million on the creation and implementation of what is called the Common Core, a centrally mandated federal curriculum for public schools, one that from the start was created largely without the input of professional educators. It was a nightmare from the start. As education historian Diane Ravitch said in 2014:

Early childhood educators are nearly unanimous in saying that no one who wrote the standards had any expertise in the education of very young children. More than 500 early childhood educators signed a joint statement complaining that the standards were developmentally inappropriate for children in the early grades. The standards, they said, emphasized academic skills and leave inadequate time for imaginative play. They also objected to the likelihood that young children would be subjected to standardized testing. And yet the proponents of the Common Core insist that children as young as 5 or 6 or 7 should be on track to be college-and-career ready, even though children this age are not likely to think about college, and most think of careers as cowboys, astronauts, or firefighters.

Indeed, the Common Core national curriculum was a driving force nationwide in the cruel, wasteful expansion of the high stakes standardized testing that has come to characterize many of today's public schools. The Gates Foundation was also responsible for the rise in teacher evaluation programs that pitted teacher-against-teacher, and school-against-school, in a misguided attempt to impose his Ayn Randian, competition-at-all-costs ideology on a profession that is, at its best, collaborative. Many of us have been speaking up for years, warning that the Common Core was a significant contributor to a generation of stressed out children who where hating school at younger and younger ages.

And now, after the damage has been done, after nearly a decade of arrogance and insults against professional teachers, after compelling the federal government to direct more than $4 trillion toward implementation, Bill Gates has finally admitted that the Common Core was a failure. Or at least has come as close to an admission of failure as we're likely to see.

This is what we get for listening to billionaires. His hubris, arrogance, and ignorance has damaged a generation of school children and now he's blithely stepping away with a tacit, "My bad." The sick part is that he's now talking about "pivoting" to some other harebrained education idea, and sadly, because he's a billionaire, people will listen. I'm here today to say that I'm already against it, whatever it is. Hasn't this man already done enough damage?

In case you're curious, here are a few other posts I've written about the Gates Foundation and the Common Core:

Common Core's Pustule Encrusted Underbelly
Parents, Teachers, and Students in Common Cause Against Common Core
Pushing the Pendulum
Untethered from Reality
Stopping the Coal Trains
This is Child Abuse
Serving Wall Street
Cruel Sadistic Bastards
Bill Gates is Ignorant
This is What We're Up Against
They Are Willing to Profit From It
Hey Bill, We're Not You're Enemies

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