This is Why You Don't Listen to Wealthy People on Public Education

In what is a fairly astonishing piece of video, The Answer Sheet has the CNBC interview with Bill Gates AND Warren Buffet AND Charlie Munger (of Berkshire Hathaway) opining on public education.

Munger on McDonald's as one of the nation's educational institutions (just starting from the premise that education is what McDonald's does is ridiculous):

“It’s fun by the elite academic types in America to say McDonald’s is the wrong kind of food and its the wrong kind of this, and the jobs don’t pay very much and so forth. I have quite a very different view. I think McDonald’s is one of the most successful educational institutions in the United States. They take people and give them a first job which enables them to get a second job. They do a very, very good job of educating troubled young people to be good citizens. And they are probably more successful than charter schools. So I am a big fan of McDonald’s.”
Even I would not say McDonald's does better in public education than charter schools.

On teaching:
MUNGER:And I like to ask Warren what he wants to be remembered as, and he says a teacher. Who else in America who is a CEO says he wants to be remembered as a teacher? I like it.

BECKY: Charlie, what do you want to be remembered as?
MUNGER: Well, I wouldn't mind being remembered as a teacher, but I won't be. (Laughter)
Gates said charters are educating students in the "inner city."
“It’s not easy [ to change the public education system]. School boards have a lot of power, so they have to be convinced. Unions have a lot of power…. We need more pilot programs, more dialogue to get all the entities — government, school boards, unions — moving towards more intensive educational process..
Ah, get everyone involved.  Does that mean mayors appointing school boards so that you consolidate that power, Mr. Gates?  Why yes, it does.
The best results have come in cities where the mayor is in charge of school systems. So you have one executive and the school board isn’t as powerful. So New York city made real progress. In Chicago, they are making real progress. But those area really the only cities where the mayor has a strong role.”
(At the Board retreat on Saturday, this was precisely the OPPOSITE of what the presenter told the Board and, in fact, Chicago and NYC parents are very unhappy with their inability to even talk to anyone in charge of schools.)  
Buffet, the lesser offender:

He recalled how his own father had served the “thankless” job of being a member of a local school board, and he said that city schools would improve if the rich cared more about them. 
“We are spending the money. It isn’t like there is any lack of resources going into it…. If the only choice available were public schools, we’d have better public schools, but the wealthy in many many cities have opted out of the public schools system. They might vote for the bond issues out of conscience, and some of them may engage philanthropically, but with their own kids they send them to private schools, and by having this division essentially between the rich and poor….In the end the people who don’t have their kids in public schools and know their kids are not going to go to public schools or their grandkids… .. are not going to have the intensity of interest across the board.”
 He left off (or doesn't realize) that many wealthy or well-off people would NEVER want the kind of schools being pushed by Gates for "inner city kids."  


Anonymous said…
This clip made me smile. Near the end, Warren (and Charlie, to some degree) discusses his experience as a student in public school and his father's role as a school board member. He says that public schools are now worse off because all of the wealthy (powerful) families go to private school and have no skin in the game. Bill couldn't have looked more uncomfortable. I suppose the emperor has no clothes. Ha.
Anonymous said…
Students in private schools, by the end of middle school, receive literally multiple years more instruction, because they aren't taking over 100 pointless, standardized tests. That alone is reason to send any kid to private school if you can. Opting out doesn't help. That just means your kid is twiddling her thumbs while others are subjected to mind numbing tests.

Ironically.... SBAC was interrupted to give the Science SBAC. Kids, can you say "irony".

Stop the Insanity
Anonymous said…
@ Stop the insanity

I agree with your statement about "literally multiple years." I have one child in public and one in private. Words don't exist to describe the difference. One teaches exploration, love of learning, respect, curiosity. The other teaches compliance, mediocrity, keeping one's head down, pretending to be dumb. And that's without comparing the actual content of the instruction.

Anonymous said…
Err. I meant.... SBAC interrupted for Science MSP. Super sucky interrupted, for moderately sucky. Don't worry, SBAC will continue, must continue...

Stop Insanity
Anonymous said…
Organizations tend to take on the characteristics of the leader.

Nyland is not the leader you want your employees following. I don't see him generating any positive energy for employees or students.

You need a younger inspiring leader who would want and act like they will be in the position for 25 years.

I asked my students who is the superintendent and what does he stand for.... they did not know who the super was!


Anonymous said…
Some thought Enfield's relative "youthfulness" was an asset until Mirmac posted the TFA emails.

Ethical compass, backbone and competence are the traits that would serve Nyland and the district way more than being forty and pretty.

--enough already

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