While cleaning out my files, I came across this amazing article written in 2009 by the editorial page editor of the Washington Post. The historian in me finds it difficult to throw anything away, so the best way to save it is to share it.
It is a succinct and worshipful description of the ideas that we now recognize as corporate reform.
What would Bill Gates do to fix the schools? Expand charter chains like KIPP and improve teacher effectiveness.
The article goes on to say:
“In both cases, institutions stand in the way. School boards resist the expansion of charter schools. Teachers unions resist measuring and rewarding effectiveness. In fact, Gates said, evidence shows no connection between teaching quality and most of the measures used in contracts to determine pay. Seniority, holding a master’s degree or teacher’s certification, and even, below 10th grade, having deep knowledge of a subject — these all are mostly irrelevant. It follows that some of the money devoted to rewarding teachers who get higher degrees and to pensions accessible only to those who stay 10 or more years should go instead to keeping the best teachers from leaving in their fourth or fifth years.”
“One purpose of measurement would be to deploy the best teachers to the neediest schools, and pay them accordingly; another, to fire the worst teachers. But the main point, Gates said, is that effective teaching can be taught: “The biggest part is taking the people who want to be good — and helping them.”
“President Obama and his education secretary, former Chicago school superintendent Arne Duncan, are on the same wavelength. During an electronic town hall forum at the White House on Thursday, Obama cited as his priorities pre-K education, charter schools and teacher effectiveness.”
This article bears re-reading. It predicts every policy disaster of the last three years.