Reporting on the Well-Funded (Pseudo) Revolution

Were you aware that “public education is in the midst of a quiet revolution” in the US?

I wasn’t.  And after reading this morning’s Post, it’s clear the writer’s use of the term “revolution”, quiet or otherwise, is a major overstatement at best.

It seems this particular “revolution” is being funded by the big money foundation headed by Bill Gates and his wife.

However, actually reading past the headline we find that almost all of their cash is going into a variety of experiments focused on relatively minor variations on the status quo: national standards in language arts and math, pay-for-performance systems, and charter schools.

Of course, this is the same Gates Foundation that over the past ten years has already dumped $2 billion into their failed program to develop a small high school concept.

Which in most cases resulted in a shrunken version of the standard educational structure used in most high schools and little improvement student learning.

But that piece of history gets only a brief mention in this glowing assessment of Gates’ education current funding of reform efforts.

The other side of the issue gets only slightly more space.

Skeptics say the Microsoft founder is foisting a business-driven agenda on schools without understanding the challenges of public education. “I suspect that eight years from now, the Gates Foundation will say, ‘Whoops, we made another big boo-boo. What should we do now?’ ” education historian Diane Ravitch said.

And then there’s this little bit of information from the second half of the story, providing one likely reason for this puff piece to be published at all.

(Melinda Gates, wife of the Microsoft chairman, and investor Warren E. Buffett, a major donor to the foundation, are both on The Washington Post Co. board of directors.)

The price of having a major newspaper declare what you’re doing a “revolution”?