Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What’s Good for Bill Gates Turns Out To Be Bad For Public Schools

And, actually, bad for Microsoft too, as we learned recently

Schools have a lot to learn from business about how to improve performance, declared Bill Gates in an Op Ed in the Wall Street Journal in 2011. He pointed to his own company as a worthy model for public schools. 

“At Microsoft, we believed in giving our employees the best chance to succeed, and then we insisted on success. We measured excellence, rewarded those who achieved it and were candid with those who did not.”

Adopting the Microsoft model means public schools grading teachers, rewarding the best and being “candid”, that is, firing those who are deemed ineffective. “If you do that,” Gates promised Oprah Winfrey, “then we go from being basically at the bottom of the rich countries [in education performance] to being back at the top.” 

The Microsoft model, called “stacked ranking” forced every work unit to declare a certain percentage of employees as top performers, another percentage as good performers, then average, then below average, then poor. 

Using hundreds of millions of dollars in philanthropic largesse Bill Gates persuaded state and federal policymakers that what was good for Microsoft would be good for public schools (to be sure, he was pushing against an open door). To be eligible for large grants from President Obama’s Race to the Top program, for example, states had to adopt Gates’ Darwinian approach to improving public education. Today more than 36 states have altered their teacher evaluations systems with the aim of weeding out the worst and rewarding the best.
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Bill Gates and his vaccines....what an evil man. Everyone still thinks he is such a lovely philantrophist. He is one of the large stockholders of Monsanto. Does that say anything to you?


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