Saturday, July 23, 2011

Article: Bill Gates on improving education


You may find this article interesting from a scientific perspective.

"I bring a bias to this," says Mr. Gates. "I believe in innovation and that the way you get innovation is you fund research and you learn the basic facts." Compared with R&D spending in the pharmaceutical or information-technology sectors, he says, next to nothing is spent on education research. "That's partly because of the problem of who would do it. Who thinks of it as their business? The 50 states don't think of it that way, and schools of education are not about research. So we come into this thinking that we should fund the research."

Of late, the foundation has been working on a personnel system that can reliably measure teacher effectiveness. Teachers have long been shown to influence students' education more than any other school factor, including class size and per-pupil spending. So the objective is to determine scientifically what a good instructor does.

"We all know that there are these exemplars who can take the toughest students, and they'll teach them two-and-a-half years of math in a single year," he says. "Well, I'm enough of a scientist to want to say, 'What is it about a great teacher? Is it their ability to calm down the classroom or to make the subject interesting? Do they give good problems and understand confusion? Are they good with kids who are behind? Are they good with kids who are ahead?

There is also some discussion of approaches that aren't cost-effective (smaller schools), and how teacher's unions are torn between sticking up for their weakest members (people who shouldn't be teachers) vs. sticking up for good education.

Have a good day!


Be pretty if you are,
Be witty if you can,
But be cheerful if it kills you.

Hahahahaaaa!!! That is ME laughing at YOU, cruel world.
    -Jordan Rixon

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