He suggests they end teacher pay increases based on seniority and on master’s degrees, which he says are unrelated to teachers’ ability to raise student achievement. He also urges an end to efforts to reduce class sizes. Instead, he suggests rewarding the most effective teachers with higher pay for taking on larger classes or teaching in needy schools.Funny how the Plutocrats' ideas always seem to revolve around destroying unions and implementing failed policies. If you had any doubts about the ideas of the Obama administration, they align with Gates:
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan delivered his own speech in Washington this week, titled “Bang for the Buck in Schooling,” in which he made arguments similar to those of Mr. GatesGates' point seems to be that the schools are failing, and their funding is falling, so something has to be done. His idea is to take the money away from teachers. By instituting ideas borrowed from business, such as merit pay, he believes the schools can be improved while spending less. It's an idea - a terrible one - but an idea nonetheless. Run schools like a business? Been there, done that.
Though he is an uber-capitalist, apparently Mr Gates does not believe in the adage, "you get what you pay for." The belief that somehow a cutthroat businessman like Gates would know the best way to educate children underscores the current lunacy in education discourse. When you're the richest man in America you get a seat at any table you wish, and you can seriously suggest moronic, proven wrong ideas like raising class sizes.
Friedman, the other billionaire dispensing education advice from the Times, argues along the same lines, citing Finland (a ridiculous comparison, as The Daily Howler pointed out ) as an example to emulate:
If you look at the countries leading the pack in the tests that measure these skills (like Finland and Denmark), one thing stands out: they insist that their teachers come from the top one-third of their college graduating classes...They have invested massively in how they recruit, train and support teachers, to attract and retain the best.”Could Friedman be more ignorant? The whole education deform movement is built around discounting the education and expertise of professional teachers. The very title of Friedman's column, "Teaching for America," evokes the "Teach for America" brand of deliberately under-trained teachers being foisted on American schools. Gates recommends not paying Master teachers a bonus for their attainment. School teachers have been under constant attack for almost two decades - that's hardly an incentive to attract the best and brightest.
Here in the real world states are spending less on education. The federal Department of Education is about to get its funding cut by the incoming House Republicans. State after state, awash in red ink, is cutting spending on education. In Minnesota the state has taken away $2 billion in promised funding over the past two years alone.
In a rational world men like Gates and Friedman would be laughed out of the room when they started talking about how to educate children. But in our Plutocracy they're treated like sages.