When Melinda Gates was interviewed on the PBS Newshour on June 4, she said something that surprised me. I will give you the full quote, which I copied from the Newshour website. I was surprised because I never heard that claim, I don’t know whose research she was citing or if it even exists. I checked with Linda Darling-Hammond, who seems to have read every study of teacher effectiveness, and asked her if she knew the source; she said she had never heard this claim and had no idea where Melinda Gates got this information, if it exists.
So, I ask my readers, and I ask you to ask your friends in the academic world, do you have a citation for this statement?
MELINDA GATES: Well, we know from good research that the fundamental thing that makes a difference in the classroom is an effective teacher. An effective teacher in front of a student, that student will make three times the gains in a school year that another student will make.
And so what the foundation feels our job is to do is to make sure we create a system where we can have an effective teacher in every single classroom across the United States.
The second claim is that the foundation has the knowledge to “create a system where we can have an effective teacher in every single classroom across the United States.” Someday, someone might ask whether they have achieved that goal. Right now, I would be content if the Gates Foundation were able to point to a single district in the U.S. where they had achieved that goal.