John Thompson just published a post — The Gates Foundation’s Belated Evolution — over at This Week In Education which joins a recent Larry Cuban piece as a candidate for the best education policy commentary of the year.
John shares his thoughts on this week’s interviews with Melinda Gates and Diane Ravitch on the PBS News Hour.
He discusses the work of the Measures Of Effective Teaching project (see The Best Posts On The Gates’ Funded Measures Of Effective Teaching Report) and its videotaping of teachers (see my Washington Post piece on Videotaping teachers the right way (not the Gates way)).
Here’s an excerpt:
what if Gates researchers spent the same time watching videos of the actual home lives of 3,000 of our most traumatized students? What if they videotaped a sample of 3000 principals meetings? What if they studied 3,000 faculty meetings and saw the way that the policies, that sound fine in theory, are actually dumped on teachers? If Ms. Gates watched videos of the interactions between management and teachers, I do not think she would deny that we are being demonized.
Ms. Gates might be less sanguine about core curriculum supports if she watched 300o professional development sessions and saw how many of them are actually the opposite of Common Core ideals. And what if we graded the actual sausage-making in testing companies where assessments are created?