To Bill Gates’ credit, he periodically announces that some education reform fad boondoggle he has credulously financed has failed empirically. For example, in the 2000s he dropped a huge amount of money on “small learning communities,” but then in 2009 came the news:
And now, from Education Week:
‘An Expensive Experiment’: Gates Teacher-Effectiveness Program Shows No Gains for Students
By Madeline Will
June 21, 2018
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundationâ€™s multi-million-dollar, multi-year effort aimed at making teachers more effective largely fell short of its goal to increase student achievementâ€”including among low-income and minority students, a new study found.
This conclusion to an expensive chapter of teacher-evaluation reform shows the difficulty of making sweeping, lasting changes to teacher performance. The results also demonstrate the challenges of getting schools and teachers to embrace big changes, especially when state and local policies are in flux.
The evaluation of the program, released today, was conducted by the RAND Corporation …
So good for Bill for hiring RAND instead of some Ed School to crunch the numbers on his brainstorm.
Here’s a proposal for Bill Gates to test out: Go to a place like St. Paul, where the Obama Administration’s war on disparate impact in public school discipline was taken seriously, and see how much you can improve things by boosting discipline.
The Obama Administration jihad against school discipline — because blacks are suspended three times more than whites, the only possible explanation is a racist conspiracy among public schoolteachers — is biased against the kind of discipline that leaves a paper trail. So school administrators tell teachers they have to handle discipline themselves without getting the front office involved. Use your personal charisma!
But private schools like the one Gates attended support their teachers with out-of-classroom discipline. They often will, say, make the offensive line assistant football coach the Dean of Discipline and have him run detentions.
As Adam Smith noted, division of labor works. If you want teachers who love thinking about better ways to teach The Great Gatsby, you need administrators who love thinking about better ways to put punks in their places.