I will protect your pensions. Nothing about your pension is going to change when I am governor. - Chris Christie, "An Open Letter to the Teachers of NJ" October, 2009

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bill Gates's Ridiculous TED Talk, Part I

I didn't even have to go two minutes into this spiel by Bill Gates before he laid out a whopper so large it's simply stunning:

(1:06) Until recently, over 98% of teachers just got one word of feedback: "Satisfactory."
That is astonishingly wrong. No teacher I've ever heard of ever got a one-word evaluation. Every principal I've ever worked for has written multiple pages about my teaching when doing my summative evaluation. Principals are, in fact, required to give meaningful feedback to their teachers; if they don't, they are derelict in their duties. All good school leadership programs require training in teacher evaluation.

Folks, you know I usually give gobs of links in my posts. But I feel stupid trying to add them here. Do any of you reading this actually think principals simply give one word of feedback to 98% of teachers in their evaluations? Do you really think this is how schools work? Does Gates?

There are only two reasons for anyone to make such a transparently incorrect statement: ignorance or mendacity. I'll give Gates the benefit of the doubt and just say his lack of experience with America's public schools must have rendered him hopelessly clueless.

I'd suggest he spend some time getting himself up to speed. It might be better, however, if he gave up on interfering in public education and instead focused his efforts on fixing Windows 8...

Soon, I'll make public education as good as Windows 8!

ADDING: Dear lord, Gates's talk may be the freakin' stupidest thing I've ever heard. He uses Shanghai as role model for teacher training, because the students do so well. But it never occurs to Bill that Shanghai is one of the most economically segregated cities in Asia, if not the world. Has he never heard of the hukou system?

More in a bit.


Michael Fiorillo said...

Perhaps at the beginning of Gates' entry into education, there might have been reason to give him the benefit of the doubt - although his history as a monopolist alone would have argued against it - but due to his funding of organizations that are aggressively attacking teachers and undermining the public schools, there's no reason whatsoever to cut him any slack.

The man and his foundation should be attacked and discredited at every opportunity.

giuseppe said...

Is it me, am I being a knuckle dragging troglodyte? This whole TED phenomenon is really getting on my nerves? Or I should specify that it's the TED hour on NPR on Saturday. Every other word on the show is TED, TED this, TED that, TED, TED, TED, TED, TED; and at no point during the radio show do they explain what TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) stands for, the acronym which they have repeated 20,000,000 times. It's like some kind of cult. Maybe TED does some good but being subservient lackeys to Bill Gates makes me want to vomit. Gates does some good when it comes to health issues but his educational policies are an abomination. Gates is all gung-ho for getting as many foreign tech workers in the US as possible. Meanwhile tens of thousands of well qualified US tech workers go begging for jobs. This billionaire is so busy stabbing American tech workers in the back and praising Asian tech workers who will be paid less.

Michael Fiorillo said...

Perhaps what's troubling you about TED is the insufferable self-importance of most of the presenters and the overall presentation. Then there's the largely uncritical techno-utopian, free market slant of most of the presentations, which gives it an overall feeling of Silicon Valley/venture capital orthodoxy, rather than free inquiry.

For a healthy antidote, try "The Onion Talks," at The Onion website. They give TED the send-up it deserves, and you'll never watch it the same way again.

KatieO said...

I was still in such pure, active hatred of Angela Duckworth's nonsense about "grit" that I think I zoned out of Gates' talk.

Mrs. King's music students said...

So thats what TED means. We were shown a clip at the after school meeting on Monday with "TED" all over it. It started with a likable Af. Amer. woman talking about teaching for 40 years, and how her parents and grandparents had also been teachers. I waited for some reference to TED when she left. Nothing. In fact I can't recall any message at all after she left. Thats weird. I can usually identify the message.

About teacher evals- I think the one word feedback comment has something to do w/the time honored 'checklist' evals NJ admins. Or maybe, my time honored tradition of scanning for the 'S' and tossing the eval because it has nothing to do with me anyway. For what it's worth, as a pilot school, admins and teachers spent HOURS of available instruction time on mastering the Danielson process (year 2). Then all of our untenured classroom teachers were pinkslipped regardless of proficiency. So yeah - eval scmeval.