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Gates takes us back to the future

Bill Gates is out to transform American education the way he transformed American technology.  Too bad he doesn’t know nearly as much about the former as he does the latter.

After years of dismantling iconic New York high schools (some of them admittedly having outlived their greatness), he now admits that, “many of the small schools we invested in did not improve students’ achievement in any significant way.” At least that’s what he told New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

Kristof was asking about Gates’ first annual letter on his work. So I read the whole thing at www.gatesfoundation.org. That’s where I realized that we were putting major education reform decisions into the hands of someone who clearly knows nothing about teaching and learning. Here’s his Next Big Idea:

Whenever I talk to teachers, it is clear that they want to be great, but they need better tools so they can measure their progress and keep improving. So our new strategy focuses on … how best practices can be spread throughout the education system so that the average quality goes up. We will work with some of the best teachers to put their lectures online as a model for other teachers and as a resource for students.

Put their LECTURES online?!?!  OK all you great teachers. Get ready to lecture.