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12 June 2014 @ 05:14 pm
The business model and how it fails kids  
I mused earlier this week about the long history of someone from outside of education deciding what is best for education. It is sort of like someone from outside of the medical community deciding on the best treatment for a disease, say diabetes. Someone without any background in medicine and science might advertise a "cure," but they are snake oil salesmen at best and murderers at worst.

And so it is with Bill Gates and his involvement in the CCSS. See an article here that contains a 25 minute interview where it should be apparent that he is defensive and dismissive of any criticism of CCSS: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/how-bill-gates-pulled-off-the-swift-common-core-revolution/2014/06/07/a830e32e-ec34-11e3-9f5c-9075d5508f0a_story.html.

He is especially upset when someone talks about his financial interest in CCSS. He does not want to talk about it as it is not "substantive." He talks about funding not going to political groups but to "think tanks" that investigate the various aspects of education. He denies that his think tanks have any sort of political agenda. Disingenuous, anyone?

He does refer to a "national test" that kids need to pass to be successful in college and career and yet demurs that these are not national standards. He talks about R&D constantly as if education were some sort of business. And that is the bottom line in this interview. The talk is about business, measurement, results. Never mind that there are kids involved here. He points out that average teachers are not up to the task of using technology effectively or less capable of teaching to the new, rigorous, better standards.

CCSS were not subject to rigorous design, he says, but the progression of standards are better. Huh? Assessments? Gates responds to the withdrawal of many states from the assessments. It is OK to have different tests for every state, etc. according to Gates. Test score comparability is not a big deal. Anyone can build a test. He never mentions any other assessment than tests and talks about the 2 companies in glowing terms nonetheless.

I am fine with this discussion in a business community. Education is not a business. Gates is not an educator. Herein lies the problem.
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