Why I Have Little Respect for Bill Gates on Education

If this statement doesn't convince you, then I give up.  From The Hill:
Bill Gates said Tuesday that President-elect Donald Trump’s potential to bring innovation to the U.S. resembles that of President John F. Kennedy’s. 
Gates, the billionaire Microsoft founder and philanthropist, told CNBC that Trump can lead the U.S. “through innovation” and compared Trump’s ideas to Kennedy’s expansion of the U.S. space program in the early 1960s. 
“But in the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that, I think whether it’s education or stopping epidemics … [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Trump’s] administration [is] going to organizing things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation,” Gates said.
There are no words for the words of Gates except that, well, it's business on parade.


Anonymous said…
Mr. Gates clearly realizes that it is important to have the powerful on his side. Gates spent lots of time and huge money pushing Common Core. Trump ran against Common Core.

Mr. Gates sees no benefit in opposing Trump.

Side note: It appears from recent NAEP and PISA results that Common Core Math as implemented is an expensive step backwards.

While PISA calls its math testing a measure of Mathematics Literacy (whatever that is) there was a particularly sharp decline in USA scoring at it highest levels. Percentage of age level population scoring at levels 5 and 6.

Country - 2012 score - 2015 score
European OECD average - 10% - 11%
USA - 10% - 5%
Singapore 40% - 35%

Just level 6 scoring in 2015
OECD - 2%
USA - 1%
Singapore - 12%

As to where Betsy DeVos might take the US Dept of Education, I have no idea. It is likely the coming new US DoE will not be an arm of the Gates Foundation unlike the Obama/Duncan US DoE.

-- Dan Dempsey
Po3 said…
Well maybe he'll have better luck than Romney did.
Anonymous said…
I don't think a reality TV star with a long history of bankruptcies will be able to "inspire" US intelligentsia. If he delegates funding for research and development then, fine, it will happen in spite of him. Gates is completely out of touch, or as Dan points out, is playing the sleaze game.

Anonymous said…
I feel like we are becoming a corporatocracy and that the latest appointment of an oil giant spells doom for our democracy. It is going to be business, business, business from her on out.

That for me is the first real scare I've had from Trump believe it or not. As for math, all our Math in Focus books are sitting in the workroom or in surplus. I can't keep up with it anymore. As for Singapore scores, they test only a fraction of the kids - right? and those kids are highly motivated by parents and society to succeed. My parents mostly want their kids to have fun in school. I want school to be fun as well but is it so wrong to expect kids to shoulder a little hard work as well? I'm back in the game after almost twenty years out of it and I cannot believe the disrespect and the out-of-control behavior of many middle class children at elementary. I used to teach very diverse classes because my school was a receiver school for bused children. Today's kids are so disrespectful. I can't believe it.

As for bankruptcies, I thought that was his plan. Bankruptcies enabled him to become the billionaire he is.Instead of failures, he probably looks on them as strategic decisions that contributed to his eventual wealth. He isn't taking any umbrage about those bankruptcies. Part of Wharton's education plan I suppose.

new reader
Anonymous said…
If he isn't taking any umbrage about his string of bankruptcies then why didn't his son allow his tax returns to be scrutinized? He said it would be "distracting". I think you overestimate the positive effect that his unusually high number of bankruptcies have had on his net worth - about which he routinely lies. He claims that all businesses use bankruptcy law but actually less than 20% of companies with assets of 1 billion or more are forced to pursue this route. In fact, when he applied for a loan from Deutsche Bank (which he eventually defaulted on) their assessment of his net worth was < one fourth of what he claimed and placing him neatly out of the class of "billionaire". So do use caution when praising Trump's "business acumen". He is a pathological lier, an incompetent businessman and he's the President.

The Seattle Public Schools have already had a liberal taste of corporatocracy under MGJ. Where deals with publishers trumped (no pun intended) challenging and time-tested curriculum. We have seen where that goes and hopefully, with the help of Melissa, can remain vigilant in the future to corporate incursions into education.

Anonymous said…
Gates sends? sent? his kids to private school the whole way through. Ditto Trump. Ditto DeVos the new head of the DoE. We need to repeat it over and over and over. They have no credibility on the topic. Zero.

Business people love their Case Studies and White Papers. There isn't one example of a slam-dunk nationally privatized public school system in the entire world. Not one. Vouchers and for-profit "public" schools are the devil in 10 different ways and as much as we have a fight in SPS for better service we have a bigger fight at the national level on our hands. Who is ready to rumble?

Charlie Mas said…
The private sector and the public sector operate in completely different universes. Little private sector experience or expertise is applicable in the public sector.

Let's remember that the profit motive, which drives EVERYTHING in the private sector, does not exist in the public sector.

Let's remember that the private sector is driven, to a significant degree, by competition, which does not exist in the public sector.

Let's remember that the private sector works by defining target markets while the public sector needs to provide universal service.

Let's remember that the primary goals of the private sector and the public sector are completely unaligned.

Anytime that anyone tries to apply private sector models to the public sector we need to inform them that their private sector models do not apply and will not work in the public sector for all of the reasons listed above.

Our culture wants to idolize business leaders and ascribe to them a bunch of virtues they don't really possess. Remember how everyone used to care what Kerry Killinger, the former CEO of Washington Mutual, used to think about public education? He was regarded as an expert - until Washington Mutual became the biggest bank failure in US history. Then, magically, his expertise on education was wiped out at the same time.

Here's how it works for the corporatists: they starve the schools of funding by using their money to control the political process. Then they offer the cash-starved schools a little bit of private money (plus a lot of public money) to do things the way the corporatists want. It looks like a bargain for the schools, but they end up spending a bunch of their own money on something they neither need nor want and they can't afford. That money somehow winds up in the hands of the corporations that dangled the bait. It works far more often than you would imagine. And with the rapid turnover at the leadership of school districts, the corporations get to pull the same trick over and over with new stooges.
Anonymous said…
So what, Trump only had 950 million and not 1 billion, that's still 949.99 millions more than you will ever have! Enjoy the next 8 years.

--Sour Grapes
Anonymous said…
Dan you have no idea what Bill Gates thinks or what president Trump thinks.

Dan what have you done with your life that give you the right to scrutinize anyone another person's life and their accomplishments.

I'll wait
seattle citizen said…
Wow, I'll wait, you really think that no one can comment on anyone because we aren't inside people's head and "have no idea" what they think?!
Ummm, news flash, we can listen to them, read their words, right? That gives us an idea of what they think, right? Or maybe you are unskilled in such endeavors and aren't familiar with them....
And attacking someone's life history as inadequate to the task of scrutinizing others?! That's just cold...and dumb.

Go away, troll.
mollyspringer said…
Bill Gates realizes that the way to Trump's heart/ego is through sincere or insincere flattery.
I'll wait, these are public figures who have great sway in our lives. Yes, we do get to parse what is in their heads by their actions and words.

Anonymous said…
Charlie, you keep using that word, "corporatists." I don't think it means what you think it means.

And before you write another diatribe like your last paragraph, I would suggest you read the following: http://citizen.education/index.php/2016/01/05/the-progressive-addiction-to-educational-bullshit/.

Charlie Mas said…
I'm not a progressive. I'm a pragmatist. If a reform works, I will support it. If it doesn't work, I won't.

The educational ideas pushed by the Gates Foundation have not worked. Bill Gates may be an expert in his field, but he is not an expert in public education - as evidenced by his numerous failures in that field.

All rhetoric aside, the reforms that work are the ones put forward by teachers and families, not the ones put forward by millionaires and business leaders.
Anonymous said…
charlie, you should let it go.

4ft Monster
Anonymous said…
I thought I heard a rumor that one of Gates' kids went to Bellevue International High. Maybe the just toured...dunno, but i remember hearing this. I don't want Gates running schools, but some money to help lower class sizes and provide curriculum and teacher training would be great! (District curriculum, not Microsoft Point and click curriculum)

Swinging Gates
Patrick said…
Swinging Gates, it doesn't work that way. If Gates contributes even a little money toward education, he expects to set the agenda. And he's convinced that lower class size doesn't help.
Victoria said…
I thought California had a terrible Public Education System, and then I came to Washington State, where School Districts and Public Schools Run the Show of Power and Greed. Public Schools and School Districts in Washington State have created a War fare between Parents and them. They Lie, Cheat, and are in Total Dominance of the Education market. They laugh in Parents faces.
Is like a Civil War going on in Washington state between the Public School System and the Parents. They have too Much Dominance and They Get Away with Anything, Not even Hiring a Lawyer You will Get Civil Rights for Your Kids in the Washington's State Public School System. It Simply is Corrupted. Sadly, as Parents, Our Hands Are Tied. We as Parents, Just have deal with Our Frustrations. It really is All and Only About Money.
Victoria said…
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Victoria said…
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Victoria said…
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Victoria said…
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Teacher Greg said…
Sounds like someone is looking for a cabinet post!

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