This entry has been brewing (or stewing) with me for a few weeks now. It started when I came across a blog entry entitled, If Bill Gates had no money, who would listen to him about education reform?, and it got me thinking… The year 1975 saw literally tens of thousands of college drop-outs, what is it about this one college drop-out that makes his views on public education so important? For that matter, 13 years of public education was good enough to get Bill Gates into a place like Harvard and, since he dropped out after only two years, apparently it was good enough to provide him with the basis to become who he is today. What makes that system so broken?
I know many people will say that Bill Gates is the exception, and not the rule. If that is the case, what makes him an expert on public education? For that matter, what makes most of today’s educational reformers experts in education? I was struck by another blog entry recently that began with the line “Too few policymakers have ever taught in public schools. Even fewer can articulate what it is about teaching young children, youth, and adults that binds teachers and students together and makes the experience of learning memorable, satisfying, and long-lasting.” This is so true, as it seems that so many of the folks behind the educational reform movement are for-profit, corporate folks. And it seems like this for-profit, corporate folks continually rely upon arguments that have no basis of evidence in the body of research.
So my question for folks – and it would be wonderful to hear from some of these for-profit, corporate educational reformers – what educational qualifications do you possess that make you qualified to comment on public education? Beyond the fact that you may or may not have sat in a public education classroom for 13 years (which doesn’t seem to have affected your ability to be successful in life)!