Reader Laura Chapman, retired consultant in arts education, often writes powerful comments. Here is her description of the Gates Foundation’s plans for teacher education.



Gates is not the only funder of specific content in EdWeek. Gates is also the major funder of the annual Quality Counts report in EdWeek, a report card.

Even more interesting is that Gates Foundation has recruited Lynn Olsen, a top EdWeek journalist, to replace Vicki Phillips whose farewell note included some self congratulations about getting the Common Core in place and so forth.

New initiatives for the Gates Foundation focus on getting rid of teacher education in higher education except as an authorizer of credentials, including a masters degree in “effective” teaching. More charter colleges of education are the next step. Relay is one model.
The aim is to dump scholarship in and about education within teacher preparation in favor of a bundle of “high leverage” tricks of the trade for raising test scores, with repeated practice In using these until they become automatic.
Practice could begin with teaching avatars followed by doing an on-the-job residency program, with lots of tests, online tutoring and such. Think Relay Graduate School of Education, with Doug Lemov’s bag of tricks, highly prescriptive teaching with no critical thinking allowed, 3.5 GPA for admission, content mastery tests, and so on.

Gates wants to control who gets to teach, where, and all of the criteria for credentialing teachers. He is certain that critical thinking and almost all scholarship bearing on education is an unnecessary distraction from raising test scores and getting kids launched into college and/or career. He has funded an “inspectorate” system for rating teacher preparation programs aimed at replacing existing state and national accreditations.

Look for lots of marketing of those ” high leverage” tricks of the trade via social media, especially the Twitter platform called “teacher2” or TeacherSquared. Gates is paying Relay Graduate a school of Education to exploit social media for recruiting and data gathering. Concurrently, the Foundation is also hiring a new manager to help exploit the Twitter teacher2 platform and others. The manager will be assembling a “portfolio” of social media sites united by some connection to education and, of course, the prospect of mining all of them for data.

The new slogan for the foundation’s work is the fuzzy and warm phrase “teachers know best”…(if they are not critical of the work of the Foundation).

Meanwhile the Foundation is still pushing charters and technology and teacher evaluations with VAM, observations, and student surveys, the latter from his $64 million investment in the deeply flawed Measures of Effective Teaching project.

Like many others, I refer to Bill Gates when the proper phrase should be the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. That is because Bill, far more than Melinda, is vocal about education and speaks as if had earned expertise sufficient to shape policy and practice on a national scale. He has lots of money and a lot of really bad ideas about education.