We all know Bill Gates is an expert on education issues. Almost everyone who isn’t actually working in a classroom says so.
It turns out he’s also an expert on ending poverty using chickens. Or something like that.
Bill Gates has been upsetting teachers for years. He’s spent a fortune to push education initiatives that he liked, even though educators thought they were, at best, a waste of money. Now he’s insulted a Bolivian government minister by doing the same thing. But this time, it’s over chickens. And the minister reacted publicly in a way teachers simply do not.
So, what’s the problem the all-knowing Mr. Gates plans to solve with lots of money and chickens?
This time, the philanthropist has come up with a way he thinks will people who live in extreme poverty in poor countries around the world can improve their lives. How? By raising chickens. He wrote about it here in a piece “Why I Would Raise Chickens,”.
Bravo could have a huge hit with a reality show based on Bill Gates raising chickens. I’d watch. At least the first episode.
Anyway, not everyone believes the co-founder of Microsoft is an expert in poultry farming.
Bolivian Development Minister Caesar Cocarico rejected Gates’s offer of hens, saying: “How can he think we are living 500 years ago, in the middle of the jungle not knowing how to produce? Respectfully, he should stop talking about Bolivia.”
Reuters notes that Bolivia has a thriving poultry business.
Ok, I understand that Gates is trying to use his wealth to do some good in the world, and that many of the ideas he champions, both to fix education and poverty, probably come from advisors. The man is certainly to be complimented for wanting to spend his fortune to help people, and for that he is miles ahead of other rich folks who’s goals are generally limited to gathering even more money.
However, I agree with Diane Ravitch when it comes to the appropriate response to Gates, Zuckerberg, and other billionaire education experts.
Wouldn’t it be great if public schools and superintendents could respond like that to Bill Gates? Something like this: “We are professional educators and we know what we are doing. Please don’t offer money to try out your experiments on our children. Please take your advice and your money elsewhere.”