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The Gates Foundation Engages Its Critics 216

sam_handelman writes "The Gates Foundation responded to the critiques of its policies (previously discussed here) by inviting its critics at Education Week Teacher to a dialog on its own site. Edweek blogger Anthony Cody answered the challenge. The two sides negotiated a five-part series of post and counterpost, which can be viewed on both sites. Previous exchanges include Cody's question, Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It?, and an answer from the Gates Foundation's Global Press Secretary, Chris Williams, Poverty Does Matter — But It Is Not Destiny. The final round of the dialog has begun, and is available for comment on the Gates Foundation's own blog. Slashdot readers may not know about Gates' sponsorship of specific edutech industry partners, such as Rupert Murdoch's Wireless Generation, and Pearson Education. Cody poses tough questions, including, 'Can the Gates Foundation reconsider and reexamine its own underlying assumptions, and change its agenda in response to the consequences we are seeing?' According to the agreement, the Gates Foundation will answer in the coming week, concluding the series."
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The Gates Foundation Engages Its Critics

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @08:10PM (#41229577)

    Yeesh, what an IA mess. Duplicate blog posts and comment threads across multiple blogs, duplicate author names on blog posts... and if there's an index to the entire discussion, I couldn't find it. So I made my own.

    Here are all the posts and responses thus far:

    Anthony Cody: How Do We Build the Teaching Profession?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/07/dialogue_with_the_gates_founda.html [edweek.org]
    July 23, 2012

    Ivrin Scott responds for the Gates Foundation: How Do We Build the Teaching Profession?
    http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/07/A-Response-to--How-Do-We-Build-the-Teaching-Profession [impatientoptimists.org]
    July 30, 2012

    Vicki Phillips writes for the Gates Foundation: How Do We Consider Evidence of Student Learning in Teacher Evaluation?
    http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/08/How-Do-We-Consider-Evidence-of-Student-Learning-in-Teacher-Evaluation [impatientoptimists.org]
    August 7, 2012

    Anthony Cody responds: How do we Consider Evidence of Learning in Teacher Evaluations?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/08/responding_to_the_gates_founda.html [edweek.org]
    August 8, 2012

    Anthony Cody posts: Can Schools Defeat Poverty by Ignoring It?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/08/can_schools_defeat.html [edweek.org]
    August 13, 2012

    Chris Williams responds for the Gates Foundation: Poverty Does Matter--But It Is Not Destiny
    http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/08/Poverty-Does-MatterBut-It-Is-Not-Destiny [impatientoptimists.org]
    August 20, 2012

    Irvin Scott for the Gates Foundation: K-12 Education: An Opportunity Catalyst
    http://www.impatientoptimists.org/Posts/2012/08/K12-Education-An-Opportunity-Catalyst [impatientoptimists.org]
    August 28, 2012

    Anthony Cody responds: What is the Purpose of K-12 Education?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/08/Gates_Foundation_Dialogue.html [edweek.org]
    August 29, 2012

    Anthony Cody asks: What Happens When Profits Drive Reform?
    http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/living-in-dialogue/2012/09/the_dialogue_with_the_gates_fo.html [edweek.org]
    September 03, 2012

    Gates response to come.

  • by EMB Numbers ( 934125 ) on Tuesday September 04, 2012 @10:29PM (#41230611)

    Cody claims teacher performance doesn't correlate with student achievement. I believe him. I don't agree with his assertions that schools are underfunded and couldn't educate poor students even with more funding.

    There is even less correlation between cost per student and student performance than between teacher and student performance.http://www.npri.org/blog/does-more-spending-increase-student-performance [npri.org]http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/05/24/us-usa-education-spending-idUSN2438214220070524 [reuters.com]http://www.delcotimes.com/articles/2012/03/02/opinion/doc4f51a55f28207547363660.txt [delcotimes.com]http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Little-correlation-found-between-per-pupil-823833.php [ctpost.com]

    It is common for urban poor school districts to cost much more per student than the surrounding suburbs. Look at Kansas City or Washington DC for stark examples.

    Seriously, spending more than $10,000 per year per student is a travesty. A class with 30 students should not cost $300,000 and the money is not going to the teacher!

    I agree, end the war on drugs and greatly reduce parent incarceration rates.
    I agree, find employment for everybody that raises them above poverty.
    I agree, support family planning, pre-natal care, nutrition, and free pre-school or head start.

    But, it isn't poverty exactly or school financial resources that predict student performance. It's culture. There is an urban poor culture that doesn't exist among poor rural students, and the outcomes differ. How can we change the culture that devalues education? How can we change the violence and street power culture? How can we convince people not to have children that are later neglected and abused?

    • The real issue is that poverty reflects the values of those subcultures that reject education and work.

    • by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Wednesday September 05, 2012 @01:05AM (#41231547)
      Its hard to talk about this issue without talking about race, because quite frankly American urban poor are mostly minorities, and from that reduced group they are mostly African American.

      With that in mind, my own feelings about this follow fairly closely with Bill Cosby. It is certainly a cultural problem more than an economic problem, and it wasn't always this way. There is a stark difference between black culture at the turn of the 20th century and the turn of the 21st century, and the difference has proven to be a great disadvantage. Some of it has institutional roots, but as both I and Bill Cosby believe, that is no excuse for what blacks are doing to themselves.

      We cannot legislate this problem away, and there is good reason to believe that every time we try we just prolong the condition. The inner cities need strong inspirational leaders that accept no excuses. Things can't get better until people start being better.
      • You cannot help someone until they decide to help themselves. You can't "make" an addict stop being an addict. They have to make the decision they want to fight their addiction, only then can you help them. We can't "make" Iraq a Democracy, the people have to decide for themselves they want to do it and only then can they be helped.

        Same deal with kids in school. Teachers can't force them to achieve. They can help them achieve, but only if the kid is willing to work towards it. If there's a culture of stupid

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Not all students cost the same to educate. This is proven in the fact that charter schools, schools like KIPP, who are not comprehensive, require parents to be proactive in gaining admission, and can more easily expel kids, all are based on that kids can be educated more cheaply. This is true if one filters out the expensive kids. In particular many schools do not provide special education programs, GT Programs, career programs, language programs because they cry to the government that they do not have m
      • We are not an aristocratic society where the son of a rich man automatically is entitled to all he wants.

        We are now. Our rich aristocrats set up family trusts and similar mechanisms to protect their children that the rest of the country has no access to to ensure exactly that. For example, only poor and middle-class people pay estate taxes and circulate their money back toward the public upon death if they've accumulated a moderate amount of it. Get a lot of money together and you can afford to start avoiding that with a trust, start moving assets off-shore to avoid paying taxes, and shift income away from

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Just a heads up. The cost of school infrastructure is built into the cost of teaching. That land, those building and the recreation facilities. In urban areas, that land could be a high rise apartment structure, often several high rise apartment structures and is priced into the cost of teaching at that location. Next due to local government school administrations, the cost of school administration is repeated again and again and again, easy fix go from local government school administration to state gover

    • by olau ( 314197 )

      But, it isn't poverty exactly or school financial resources that predict student performance. It's culture.

      I heard someone who was trying to change organizational culture and values talk about this. As he explained, you can't really change this kind of thing directly. For instance you can't tell people, "you should value education" - you can't force them directly to do that. It doesn't work well if you try.

      What he argued was that you have to change the structures. In this case, I'd say it's that you need to find them a job so the they don't have time to hang out on the street, don't start drinking and fighting t

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