Home > Uncategorized > This Just In: Bill Gates Believe in His “Reforms” Despite Evidence They Don’t

This Just In: Bill Gates Believe in His “Reforms” Despite Evidence They Don’t

I just finished reading Carol Burris’ Washington Post op ed article on Bill and Melinda Gates’ recent interview with PBS journalist Gwen Ifill at the U.S. Education Learning Forum and came away bewildered at how someone who made billions of dollars in software development could not see that his “reform” agenda has failed miserably and completely derailed the efforts to provide equal opportunity for children born into poverty.

Burris began her article with an extended set of quotes from a prescient Education Week blog post Rick Hess wrote in 2012 about the true believers in the Common Core, one of Gates’ major “reforms” that included these quotes:

First, politicians will actually embrace the Common Core assessments and then will use them to set cut scores that suggest huge numbers of suburban schools are failing. Then, parents and community members who previously liked their schools are going to believe the assessment results rather than their own lying eyes. Finally, newly convinced that their schools stink, parents and voters will embrace reform.

Common Core advocates evince an eerie confidence that they can scare these voters into embracing the “reform” agenda. And this conviction has become the happy Kool-Aid that allows would-be reformers to ignore the fact that they’re not actually offering to tackle the things–like world language mastery, and music and arts instruction, that suburban parents care about.

After pointing out that this abandonment of schools by suburbanites has not happened, Ms. Burris goes on to eviscerate other elements of the Gates “reform agenda” including VAM, charter schools, and choice. She concludes her analysis with this paragraph about the Gates’ inability to acknowledge that “reform” is NOT succeeding:

They don’t seem likely to admit that in a school where 98 percent of the students receive free or reduced priced lunch, 50 percent do not speak English and 1 in 5 students have learning disabilities, you need to spend a lot of money, far more than is being spent today, and even then it will be an uphill battle. And they certainly will not take a long and hard look at a harsh economic system that benefits the mega-rich on the backs of the poor — a system in which losers are needed in order to create the unimaginable wealth and power that we see today in the hands of Bill Gates and other billionaire education philanthropists he praised.

I still believe Bill Gates’ heart is in the right place, based on the work he’s done to address international poverty.… but I remain distressed that in light of evidence indicating that nothing is changing in terms of equity of opportunity as a result of his “reforms” he is persisting in staying the course. As often as he’s changed and upgraded Microsoft office it’s hard to believe he hasn’t changed his thinking about school reform.

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