Karl Kapp wrote a post about Bill Gates’ latest move via the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation. In it, he notes the complexities that these announcements overlook. Echoing his sentiments, I wrote a rather long comment that I decided to reproduce here (with some context in [square brackets]):
Karl, this article backs up the point about the problems of a one-dimensional focus for incentives [cf teacher bonuses for test scores].
I’d suggest, that, worse, test scores aren’t measuring the important skills (cf Jonassen on relation between school problems and real world needs, Downes and others on competencies vs knowledge, etc). [As I’ve also argued, knowledge isn’t enough, and competencies are the critical differentiator going forward.]
I’ve argued that our ‘man on the moon’ project should be an entire K12 curriculum online (which *would* be a set of common academic standards), but overall, I worry a bit when someone can wield this much influence based upon his wallet. Just because he knows how to flog software (triumph of marketing over matter), doesn’t qualify him as an educational expert, and here it may be politics trumps policy.
I agree with reform in Teacher Ed programs, but if it’s not coupled with other reforms, it still won’t work. [Like standards, administrative policies, and more]
It’s complex, and like so many situations there are solutions that are simple, obvious, compelling, but wrong. We need to go to the mat with this, not toss off homilies. Thanks for the pointers!