There is a wonderful line in a song in “Fiddler On The Roof” as Tevye imagines himself as a rich man fielding questions from admirers “And it won’t make one bit of difference if I answer right or wrong,” he sings. “When you’re rich, they think you really know.”
Over the past 20 years or so, we have been treated to the spectacle of wealthy philanthropists, many of whom earned their wealth in digital technologies, throwing their money at the nation’s public schools in an effort to raise the quality of education. They apparently believed their vast wealth endowed them with wisdom unavailable to ordinary people. But one after another, these visionary projects have come unraveled. Vast amounts of money have been spent without rendering any detectable improvement in the public schools.
Perhaps the most conspicuous of these well-meaning billionaires were Bill and Melinda Gates who through their Gates Foundation have pumped more than $3 billion since 1999 into school reforms. They have pursued a variety of initiatives - primarily smaller schools, better teachers, the Common Core curriculum and all of it of course predicated on the assumption that computers are the key to success. All of their clever schemes have involved commitment by politicians and the education establishment. All to no avail.
Now Bill and Melissa Gates, to their credit, have acknowledged that their efforts School Reform:
Big Education Ape: Gates' Common-Core Mea Culpa and the School Reform Divide - Rick Hess Straight Up - Education Week - http://go.shr.lc/28qBOKh