Earlier this week, the Post gave Bill Gates some prime space on the op-ed page so he could offer “a fairer way to evaluate teachers“.*
And he begins with a really crappy analogy, comparing developing “fantastic teachers” with the way that football teams “identify and nurture” their players.
Completely ignoring that those players, although evaluated as individuals, do not work in isolation. Their success, even that of a star quarterback like Gates’ example, Tom Brady, is very much dependent on the great support of many other people in a well-funded organization.
Teachers, however, in the view of Gates, many politicians, and other education “experts”, are expected to be rated based only on a very narrow measure of their work with absolutely no regard for any other factors.
The remainder of the piece is a messy mix of clichÃ©s in which he talks about using “multiple measures” and how “teachers want an environment based on collaboration” without any specifics. Certainly he doesn’t offer anything to convince the reader that he has a clue about the teaching process or how to evaluate it.
Although Gates and his business friends have been accorded a great deal of influence in the discussion over education reform, they do so with no accountability whatsoever. Â To correct that situation, Anthony Cody writing at Education Week Teacher proposes The Billionaire Philanthropist Evaluation, noting that the kind of accountability they demand from teachers “is a street that goes one way only”.
Needless to say, Gates does not fare very well, starting with his lack of awareness of the social conditions that impact the learning of many students and extending to his poor understanding of effective instruction.
The bottom line?
Mr. Gates falls below standards in all four of the areas that were observed. His philanthropic activities should be suspended immediately pending his completion of the recommended professional growth activities.
Of course that won’t happen. He has enough money to buy a higher grade.
* Just for good measure, the editors included a video of Gates giving expert opinion on cyber security (which he might know something about considering how buggy Windows was while he was CEO), and… the new pope?