Bill Gates during his speech at the Council of the Great City Schools in Cleveland, OH yesterday said that he plans to spend another $1.7 Billion on more education initiatives in public schools.
As we have reflected on our work and spoken with educators over the last few years, we have identified a few key insights that will shape our work and investments going forward.
Teachers need better curricula and professional development aligned with the Common Core. And we see that they benefit the most from professional development when they are working with colleagues to tackle the real problems confronting their students.
Schools that track indicators of student progress — like test scores, attendance, suspensions, and grades and credit accumulation – improved high school graduation and college success rates.
And last, schools are the unit of change in the effort to increase student achievement and they face common challenges – like inadequate curricular systems and insufficient support for students as they move between middle school, high school and college. And they need better strategies to develop students’ social and emotional skills. But solutions to these problems will only endure if they are aligned with the unique needs of each student and the district’s broader strategy for change.
So, what does this mean for our work with you and others?
First, although we will no longer invest directly in new initiatives based on teacher evaluations and ratings, we will continue to gather data on the impact of these systems and encourage the use of these systems to improve instruction at the local level.
Second, we will focus on locally-driven solutions identified by networks of schools, and support their efforts to use data-driven continuous learning and evidence-based interventions to improve student achievement.
Third, we are increasing our commitment to develop curricula and professional development aligned to state standards.
Fourth, we will continue to support the development of high-quality charter schools.
There is some great learning coming from charters, but because there is other philanthropic money going to them, we will focus more of our work with charters on developing new tools and strategies for students with special needs.
Finally, we will expand investments in innovative research to accelerate progress for underserved students.
Overall, we expect to invest close to $1.7 billion in U.S. public education over the next five years.
We anticipate that about 60 percent of this will eventually support the development of new curricula and networks of schools that work together to identify local problems and solutions . . . and use data to drive continuous improvement.
So, they’re doubling down on Common Core to develop curriculum because the lack of aligned curriculum and professional development was the problem with Common Core. *Cough*
Then of course… data collection, data collection, data collection. Look at how he describes the school networks he plans to fund.
Over the next several years, we will support about 30 of these networks, and will start initially with high needs schools and districts in 6 to 8 states. Each network will be backed by a team of education experts skilled in continuous improvement, coaching, and data collection and analysis.
As if schools are not doing enough data collection on students.
So Gates will inflict “We the People” with another round of education spending that will inevitably drive education policy in areas that receive the funds. As we’ve seen with Common Core, his teacher evaluation efforts, and other Gates pet projects, this will be a waste of money as well.