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View Diary: A partial response to Bill Gates' op ed about teachers (247 comments)

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  •  So anti-social computer nerds... (24+ / 0-)

    ... are who the Very Serious People listen to, now, when it comes to education? Awesome. Watch out, Rhee: I'm gunning for Newsweek's cover.

    Even if you subscribe to the fucked-up idea that schools should be treated as businesses, Gates is a tech geek, with a history of stealing or buying good ideas, cutting inside deals to corner the market, and having enough money from his first few ventures to be able to weather the considerable failures that have pockmarked his company's history (under the auspices of any other company, Internet Explorer doesn't survive, and web developers the world over rejoice).

    His life is an unsexy, decidedly geeky version of the Social Network. And that's not a business model that can carry over to schools with ANY amount of success.

    Corporate Dog

    We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

    by Corporate Dog on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 04:12:06 AM PST

    •  Beware the geeks (4+ / 0-)

      especially the computer variety., monomaniacs who think they know everything.   Or put another way, who think that everything can be reduced to the one thing they actually understand.

      Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

      by xgy2 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 04:47:16 AM PST

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      •  careful - I was a computer geek (14+ / 0-)

        with 20+ years experience in the field.  It is not his geekiness -  it is him and his arrogance

        "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

        by teacherken on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:06:59 AM PST

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        •  35 years (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i like bbq, mkor7

          hardware and software.  I speak from experience.

          Die energie der Welt ist constant; die Entropie der welt strebt einem Maximum zu. - Rudolf Clausius, 1865

          by xgy2 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:11:22 AM PST

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        •  Arrogance The MSM Loves... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          i like bbq, happymisanthropy, mkor7, xgy2

          So he makes many billions a year........

          Rather, let me close with these thoughts.  Wouldn't it be nice if governors, school boards, and especially journalists and op ed writers, would given even 1/10 of the attention to professional educators as they do to the likes of Bill Gates?  Then, just maybe, we could have an honest and productive discussion of what we need to do to improve our schools.

          Action is the antidote to despair---Joan Baez

          by frandor55 on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:59:33 AM PST

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        •  It's true that geekiness alone (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          badger, Cassandra Waites, qosine, JesseCW, xgy2

          is not the problem. I know plenty of geeks who are terrific people.

          However, geek culture is chock-full of a certain type. Usually male, overly impressed with his own intelligence, willing to expound upon this at length, assuming that everyone unlike himself is stupid, and mistakenly thinking that because he's smart in one or two areas he's smart in all of them. Programmers, engineers, and mathematicians in particular are overrepresented by this type.

          You add in the money and power that Gates has, and it's especially toxic.

        •  Another Computer Geek speaks up (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rick Aucoin

          I started as a Computer Programmer in 1959.  Still involved in computers after 50+ years.  Though now I do it for fun and amazement at how far we have come.
          A couple comments from a "Graybeard".
          First, Bill Gates is a market savvy person, but he is also human. In 1980 Gates started Microsoft at the same time as I started my company, along with Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Apple and many other companies using UNIX and subsequently TCP/IP.  Some made it big, others got acquired or didn't make it.  My company got acquired.
          But prior to that I was a consultant to the California Dept of Education advising on the application of computer technology to teaching.  For 6 years I worked on research projects under Title III of ESEA- Innovations in Education.  Title III encouraged research by the School Districts themselves and set up a rigorous application and evaluation process.  You can read about it in this Rand Report.
          The basic process was:
          Solutions is plurals because there is always more than one solution to a Problem.  Reduced class size is not a Problem, it is a solution we currently don't have.  Stating it that way takes it out of any possibility of solving the Problem and leads us to arguing over the wrong thing.

          One very successful program I worked on for 3 years, implementing and evaluating Individualize Instruction, had a class size of 150 4,5 6 grade students.  Repeat- It was very successful.  So, based on those results you could argue that class sizes of 30 - 40 students is too small.

          If Gates is to do anything, I would like to see him emulate the Title III guidelines of letting the School Districts themselves request funds for solving the problems and apply a rigorous evaluation process to analyzing the results.

          "If nominated, I will not run; if elected, I will not serve; if impeached, I will not leave" -Anon

          by Graebeard on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 10:05:35 AM PST

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      •  gates is a monopoly capitalist and a fraud (13+ / 0-)

        he got the PC OS gig because his mother was on the IBM board and he re-tweaked an existing OS. Boy DOS was pure joy, wasn't it? What a deep resonance with human intuition, right?

        Then windows is stolen mac OS, word is word perfect, IE is netscape, excel is lotus 1,2,3. He's never had a successful original idea in his power and money grabbing career. All he's done is be the most ruthless destroyer of independent creativity.

        He had some incredibly stupid digital writing tablet that he huckstered everywhere a few years ago as the Next Big Thing, and it flopped. And how about that bing?? Boy, that's the new google - NOT.

        Now, Steve Jobs, OTOH, is everything Gates is not. Pure creativity, and finger on the pulse of cool, enabling the actual USE of computers by any and everyone.

        Any "ideas" Gates has about education? Consider the source and the track record of his other "original" ideas.

        Just considering no raises for longevity, for one thing, boy THAT will encourage loyalty! Nothing like knowing your employer doesn't give a rat's ass about you to keep you motivated! Just as in touch with humanity as DOS. Nice, Bill. Go back to your money bin.

        Fear is the mind-killer - Frank Herbert, Dune

        by p gorden lippy on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 05:08:27 AM PST

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    •  It's far less "geek"... more like "fatcat" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      i like bbq, mkor7

      who wants to be seen not as a just another fucking rich asshole, but an adored benevolent god of charity.

      Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

      by The Dead Man on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 08:32:26 AM PST

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      •  He wasn't always a fatcat. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mkor7, JesseCW

        In fact, my larger point is that he isn't some business or finance guru with both feet in the world of corporate management, who we should nod to ever-so-sagely. Even though they're often spoken of in the same breath, he's no Warren Buffet.

        He was largely in the right place at the right time, he was tech savvy enough to know what he should steal from, and he was ethically bankrupt enough not to care.

        Corporate Dog

        We didn't elect Obama to be an expedient president. We elected him to be a great one. -- Eugene Robinson

        by Corporate Dog on Mon Feb 28, 2011 at 09:07:02 AM PST

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