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Peter Greene read the annual report from the CEO of the Gates Foundation, Sue Desmond-Hellman, and asked himself what the foundation had learned from its multi-zillion dollar investment in changing the nation’s education system. Nothing. They learned nothing. They blame “the system” for the failure of their bad ideas. It never occurs to them to examine whether they were wrong.
Bill Gates is never wrong. Unless he says so. And he hasn’t said so, so he can’t be wrong.
Desmond-Hellman cites a fake statistic to alarm readers. “Only 40 percent of students met three of the four college-readiness standards across English, reading, math, and science.”
“This is a problem both because the basis for saying that in the first place (a study by test manufacturer ACT– so it’s kind of like a study by Ford Motor Company on whether or not Americans have enough cars) and the implication that you’re not really ready for college unless you have the knowledge base of both a science major and an English major (“Sorry, Chris. We were going to give you a full music scholarship, but your biology scores were too low”).
She writes: “However, I’m optimistic that all students can thrive when they are held to high standards. And when educators have clear and consistent expectations of what students should be able to do at the end of each year, the bridge to opportunity opens. The Common Core State Standards help set those expectations.”
“So, apparently, nobody ever held students to high standards before (and apparently few people even thought of it). But we’ve discussed the magical power of expectations, and my advice to folks in the private sector remains the same– if expectations of high standards are the key to making every student succeed, then I suggest Microsoft just start hiring people at random and then expecting them to meet high standards. What’s that you say? Only some people can meet those standards, and so “hold to high standards” in industry means “sorting the wheat from the chaff, and only employing the wheat”? If that’s so, then where do we send the students who are chaff in public education?”