Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bill Gates Urges Larger Class Sizes

Just a few days after the Obama administration suggested larger class sizes as a way to fix school budget problems and one day after Mayor Moneybags announced a 10% reduction to the teacher workforce, Microsoft founder and edu-vulture Bill Gates ways on the issue:

In a speech prepared for delivery Friday, Mr. Gates — who is gaining considerable clout in education circles — plans to urge the 50 state superintendents of education to take difficult steps to restructure the nation’s public education budgets, which have come under severe pressure in the economic downturn.

He suggests they end teacher pay increases based on seniority and on master’s degrees, which he says are unrelated to teachers’ ability to raise student achievement. He also urges an end to efforts to reduce class sizes. Instead, he suggests rewarding the most effective teachers with higher pay for taking on larger classes or teaching in needy schools.

“Of course, restructuring pay systems is like kicking a beehive” — but restructure them anyway, Mr. Gates plans to tell the superintendents in his talk to the Council of Chief State School Officers, which opens a convention in Louisville on Friday.

“Rebuild the budget based on excellence,” Mr. Gates says.

Teachers’ unions defend giving raises to teachers as they gain experience and higher education.

“We know that experience makes a difference in student achievement — teachers get better,” said Bill Raabe, director of collective bargaining at the National Education Association, the largest teachers’ union. “And additional training, too, whether its a master’s degree or some other way a teacher has improved her content knowledge, we think it ought to be compensated.”

Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said of Mr. Gates’s speech: “He is proposing to change one of the things that parents count on — small class sizes to differentiate instruction. There’s a mountain of solid research and common sense showing smaller class sizes benefit students.”

States and local school districts are headed toward what may be painful budget decisions because two years of recession have battered state and local tax revenues, and the $100 billion in stimulus money that has been pumped into public education since spring 2009 is running out.


Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered his own speech in Washington this week, titled “Bang for the Buck in Schooling,” in which he made arguments similar to those of Mr. Gates.

School officials should be using this crisis to “leverage transformational change in the education system” rather than seeking to balance budgets through shorter school years, reduced bus routes or other short-term fixes, Mr. Duncan said.

It is no accident that Gates is suggesting the same policies the same week that Duncan did.

It is also no accident that Bloomberg announced teacher layoffs this week.

And it is no accident that the corporate whore Duncan wants to see states and municipalities use the financial crisis to "leverage transformational change" and institutionalize larger class sizes, teacher pay tied to test scores (or "excellence" as they like to call it in ed deform circles), and the end to seniority-based layoffs.

That I voted for the man who put Duncan in charge of the DOE angers me to no end.

Had I known Change I Could Believe In meant the Obama administration, along with edu-vulture pal Bill Gates, was going to promote policies to make class sizes larger, to end seniority protections and other work protections for teachers, to tie teacher salary increases to tests, and to end raises for teachers, I would have worked my ass off to elect somebody other than Obama.

Sure, I wouldn't have been successful - but at least I could have said I didn't vote for these corporate raiders and destroyers of education.

Another day, another outrage in the education world courtesy of a member of the billionaire boys' club.

The hits just keep coming.


  1. We won't have to visit Medieval Times over there in New Jersey since the eclipse of education in this country will lead to medieval times but with electricity, running water, air conditioning, and the various digital ways to keep us tuned in, turned on, and dropped out.

  2. How many delegates from the July 2010 AFT convention will now stand up and applaud Bill Gates for this nefarious push that he's promoting across America? Will Randi invite him back for the next convention where the topic may be on "Accountability and Acceptance: How teachers' pay cuts and large class sizes saved Corporate America."

  3. This is the corporate business way . . . leverage,leverage,leverage. Drive your "competition" into the dust if you have the opportunity. Don't forget these guys think "winning" is having Asian slaves making their crappy doo-dads (I Pads, puters, Ipods, whatever the F_ _ _ ) makking them billions. SO, we've reached the place in our history where slavemaster pigs dictate education policy. They will get even worse results with larger classes.

  4. I wonder how long it'll be before Cuomo chimes in. Oh, I forgot...they have to iron out this nasty little Chancellor Black matter first. THEN you're going to hear him...

  5. It is no coincidence that President Accountability is giving an award to Warren Buffet the same week Buffet praised the bailout. Enjoy this classic takedown by Barry Riholtz :

    By the way, where is the value-added assessment from President Accountability (who got his own 2 weeks back) for Turbo Tax Timmy? Accountability for thee, not for me, it seems. Even Dubya fired Rumsfield after the 2006 shellacking, for heaven's sake.

  6. Anon, thanks for the link to Ritholtz. I've been so busy with all the ed issue stuff lately, I have been neglecting to go to the Big Picture and get all my fraudclosure news.

    Yes, Buffet, who owns 25% of Goldman and sits on the board of Kaplan University/Washington Post, is a phony and a crook.

    And that's a great point about W firing Rummy. I had forgotten about that. Nobody gets fired in the Obama admin except for black women at the USDA who are smeared by winger smear merchants. And no one gets held accountable on Obama's America except for teachers.

    Katheee, I like that point about not having to visit Medieval Times in Jersey since we're heading right back to serfdom, albeit with more bells and whistles than back in the day. And this time, instead of loyalty to the lord, we're chained by debt - mortgage debt, credit card debt, student loan debt.

    It's the banksters world, we just live (and slave) in it.

  7. I am a teacher in North Carolina. I was recently given ratings of "Accomplished" and "Distinguished" by a school administrator who observed my class. The principal told the administrator she should not have given me such high ratings; the administrator said, "But that's what I saw" and refused to back down. Maybe the principal is trying to save money? P.S. I have two masters degrees and 27 years teaching experience.

    Name Withheld