Thursday, March 03, 2011

Bill Gates Calls Out States & Educators



Gates challenged some long-held assumptions about education. He said the U.S. spends $50 billion a year on automatic salary increases for teachers based on seniority, but, according to Gates, "Seniority seems to have no effect on student achievement."

Gates also questions spending $15 billion a year on salary bumps for teachers who get advanced degrees.

"Such raises have almost no impact on achievement," he said. ( ABC News )

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

It all really comes down to finding an effective way to evaluate teachers. Which is finally becoming the discussion. Everyone avoided the discussion for years because they didn't want to fight the union, or it was too complicated etc... If we want better teachers, want to be able to get rid of the bad ones and want to give raises based on merit, then we actually have to find a fair and effective way to determine what an effective teacher is.

Basing a teachers evaluation solely on a couple of tests and a couple of observations is not going to give you a good picture of that teacher. There needs to be a much more comprehensive system. For instance if you are going to go to the growth model of testing. Then you have to have pre and post tests. If you are going to do more observations then you need more people to do those observations. All of this costs more money, which we clearly don't have.

SCATS said...

To 6:08AM ~~ Let's not make teacher evaluation akin to rocket science, because it isn't! I personally know engineers who work for large corporations who are evaluated by their bosses for many different aspects of their jobs ranging from personal creativity to productivity to their ability to communicate effectively to their ability to work alone as well as part of a team. Required test scores combined with the building principal's input and any observations made along with the readiness of students to move to the next grade level at the end of the year should suffice to weed out the worst teachers.

Charlie Hubbard said...

The way things are going other states will have an evaluation system in place while N.Y.S. will still be having meetings of 'committees' and waiting for union approval.
We have an evaluation system for the gasa (principals)union - hows that been working?
I asked for a copy of the evaluation summery in 2007. EVERY member was meeting expectations and 2/3rds were exceeding expectations.
Be carefull what you ask for and be sure to put a 'cap' on the amount of money available.

Anonymous said...

Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are both on to this kick. The Gates foundation is sponsoring research desighed to discover just what does it take to make/be a good. teacher. I expect this will be the first good attempt at this ever. They expect a preliminary report in about a year (its been under way to about a year and a half if I remember right. I look forward to hearing what they learn.

Anonymous said...

Charlie: Don't you know all of our children are above average as are their parents. It stands to reason that all of our school leaders would likewise be above average. Maybe even way above average.
Of course they would be exceeding expectations. We seem to expect so little from them, that has to be the case!

Note:As a school board member I also rated you as exceeding expectations.

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't classroom management skills be included. And when will the parents and students be allowed to write evaluations? They do in the colleges and of course it means nothing but but they do it. Maybe the professors get to read them but if they have tenure they are set.
We don't even get the ability to fill out a questionnaire regarding the classroom experience at the elementary and secondary level in any public school system in New York. If the teachers have tenure, what are they afraid of? Hurt feelings? Lack of esteem among their peers?

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in Greece, and believe in an evaluation system similar to any business model. Most people in schools already know what teachers have pedagogical techniques, can manage classrooms, focus on making connections with students, and provide challenging yet fair lessons and assessments. These same people (admin., other teachers) also know what teachers don't do these things, can't do these things, or simply don't care to do them.

I for one am all for merit pay, or some other system to be put in place. I really enjoy what I do everyday, BUT it is tough knowing that there are many teachers that make way more than I do simply because of seniority - and they won't be touched by any cuts. If NYS is going to continue to assess all schools based on grad rate, testing, attendance, etc., there must be a system in place to have the best possible labor force in place to achieve those goals.

In comparison - if there is downsizing at a local company, many employees are evaluated on performance over the course of many years on a wide range of things (teachers have a PPR that already indicates 7 items of evaluation). Sometimes they even have to complete updated resumes and interview with bosses. At Kodak my father went through this process 5 or 6 times. Schools are not businesses that produce a product, but there are much better ways to reward productive, committed laborers (in this case, teachers), and at the same time, weed out the others. This will help the district, students, educator morale (for those still at the school), and result in greater levels of learning...which is the goal. It's not really about seniority, it's about keeping the best people in the schools to work together to achieve the goals of the district and school.

Walk through a school, and it's apparent in 5 minutes in a classroom if the students are engaged, if there is energy, if the teacher has set classroom guidelines of respect, and if students are asking questions and learning.

SCATS said...

To 7:29PM ~~ Your last statement is dead on! Too many Greece classrooms are not under the control of the teacher.

Anonymous said...

7:29makes an excellent point in the last paragraph. It should be a responsibility of the principals to make weekly visits to the classrooms to see the teaching quality, but also to see the students and observe their behavior. The principal needs to know students also.

Remember that teacher evaluation needs to be paired with administration evaluations.

Anonymous said...

I have had a couple dozen conversations with teachers who think like 7:29.

Those teachers do not speak out in public. And I am told they do not speak that way with other teachers as they have learned they will be shunned if they do.

The most frustrated teachers seem to be those who have been on the job 7-10 years. They have the confidence to know they are good teachers and the insight to identify those who are not so good. What a shame we can't better reward true talent and likewise set up a system that will encourage more like that to enter the profession. Working under a system that rewards based only on time on the job does not recruit the best. Darn shame!

SCATS said...

To 8:37AM ~~ Another excellent point! The principals need to get out of their offices, get to know the kids AND the teachers. Observe, converse with and improve.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft was convicted a few years back of using permatemps i.e temporary workers who were actually dong full time work but not receiving permanent workers benefits and salaries.

Do you want permatempts to become the rule in the public school system much as they have become the rule just the predominance of part time faculty is prevalent in the universities. Then you will see educational quality soar.

SCATS said...

To 11:57AM ~~ You're right. There is NOTHING that can be done. Let's just give up and let the unions suck this country dry. Not an option ;)

Anonymous said...

Unions are most assuredly NOT sucking this country dry.... not when the top 20% of Americans control more than 80% of this country's wealth!

http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/02/income-inequality-in-america-chart-graph

Anonymous said...

Unions are not sucking the country dry. In the last 30 years the well off have siphonbed off much of the wealth of the country. The "redistubution" of wleath ahs been to the better off. Taxing the wealthier at faire rates the rates of the past even the recent past would cover much of fiancial shortfall . Stopping our misguided adventures in the middle east would save even more.

SCATS said...

To 12:35PM ~~ Isn't it interesting that contractual (union) salaries/benefits control almost 80% of a school district budget? Apparently you are OK with that, right? Unions ARE sucking school districts dry.

Anonymous said...

11:57 yes I would prefer that. Current labor and tax laws do not allow it but it would be a way to skirt the unions.
Let them all become contract workers like lozynski and our interim superintendent. They are paid under a contract and we owe them nothing for benefits or pension. Those 2 do receive retirement and are double dipping but let's look at less senior professionals. If they need a job bad enough they will work under those circumstances. Of course the union would grieve that we are using scabs. Let them grieve.

SCATS said...

I wonder how many jobs Bill Gates has created with his wealth so far ... hmmm ...

Anonymous said...

gates' ahenda is to privatize schools, Schools are not factores to prodcue a commodeotiy (i.e) studnets who fit directly into jobs. Education is not job training.

Also on tha daily show this week maybe onthe same episode you have here was Diane Ravitch an education expert and ex neo-conseravitve who has come to reject that babble and has some important things to say about public education.

the link is below

http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/thu-march-3-2011/diane-ravitch

Let's get a serious debate and dialogue going. Post her video too and discuss the issues.