At a meeting in Los Alamos, Bill Gates said it was easier to find cures for malaria and other diseases than to “fix” American education. Being the richest man in America, people hang on his every word.

Gates again knocks U.S. education. He said that technology should help, but it only benefits motivated students, and the U.S. has lots of unmotivated students. Usually, he blames teachers. Now he blames students.

My favorite line in the article: Gates could not land his private jet at the Los Alamos airport because his plane is too big for the runway.

What Gates needs to know:

1. The terrible effects of poverty on children’s ability to succeed in school. The fact that the U.S. has the highest child poverty rate of all advanced nations. He should read Richard Rothstein’s enlightening book, “Class and Schools,” which summarizes the social science on this issue. Or, if he doesn’t like reading books, he might read this article from the New York Times about counties in Texas where the economy is booming yet 39% of the children live in poverty. He should think about children who miss school because they are sick. Think about children who don’t get routine medical care. Think about children who are not sure there will be dinner on the table. They don’t need more tests. They don’t need schools where their teachers are evaluated by their test scores. They need economic security. If Bill thinks long enough about the lives of these children, maybe he will come up with some big ideas to do something about it.

2. His ideas about fixing education are wrong. He is surrounded by yes men and women who don’t want to break the bad news to him.