The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have a quote on their website that says “Nobody knows teaching like teachers.” If they believe that, why don’t they let teachers teach the way they know best? Or, why don’t they ask them what they need to teach better?
Instead, Mr. and Mrs. Gates are going to now transform how teachers are made, because they obviously don’t think teachers really know teaching.
The other day I wrote about how we are losing a true profession of teaching—a profession that looks at children, and not just high-stakes test scores and keeping students marching in a straight line.
It is common knowledge that the Gates Foundation has not done well in many of their endeavors—see HERE and HERE for a few examples. We also know that there were problems in Tampa with the Gates and their efforts to make teachers over with their style of what they call teacher effectiveness. Tax dollars also pay for these programs when they don’t live up to their hype.
Now, the Gates are moving into the university arena. They are permitted to spend $34 million on competitive grants on a variety of programs to transform how teachers learn to be teachers.
This is worrisome. For one thing, how much will taxpayers spend on these programs? More importantly, how will future teachers change? The programs are many and the details are few.
This is Education Week’s description of where the grant money will be spent
- TeacherSquared, these are nontraditional preparation programs, including the campuses of the Relay Graduate School of Education; Urban Teachers, which operates programs in the District of Columbia and Baltimore; Boston-based Match Teacher Residency; and the teaching programs offered by the Yes Prep and Aspire charter-management organizations;
- Texas Tech University, which will head the University-School Partnerships for the Renewal of Educator Preparation National Center, or U.S. PREP, a consortium of six universities located in Southern states;
- The Massachusetts Department of Education, which will lead the Elevate Preparation, Impact Children (EPIC) center, an effort that will involve all 71 providers in that state; and
- The National Center for Teacher Residencies, which will expand its network of providers using a residency model of preparation that couples a full year of student teaching with slimmed-down coursework.
- A fifth grant called TeachingWorks at the University of Michigan will support a clearinghouse for other grantees to share best practices, provide technical support to each center, and supply teacher performance assessments.
The philanthropy received about 40 applications representing some 500 programs in all.
The Gates Foundation will develop transformational centers to partner with school districts. It looks like these programs will affect all schools. Does this translate into more fast-track trained individuals who will do the drill-and-kill programs that are well known in charter schools?
The Gates Foundation also contracted with a nonprofit called Teacher Prep Inspection U.S. which will look at the progress of these groups. This is headed by Edward Crowe, a teacher-preparation analyst who evaluates teacher quality. Dr. Crowe appears to be a political scientist, not an educator. How does one inspect teacher preparation programs when they’ve never been an actual teacher working in the classroom?
Here is the scoop on Ed Crowe who has ties to the Teaching Fellows Program.
Dr. Edward Crowe is Senior Adviser for the Teaching Fellows Program at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Crowe provides consulting services on teacher quality, K-16 policy issues, and evaluation through The Bench Group LLC and Teacher Preparation Analytics LLC. Since fall 2013 he has managed development and implementation of a new teacher preparation program inspection process, modeled on the British inspection system for schools and teacher prep programs. This work takes place through Teacher Prep Inspection-US (TPI-US). Crowe served as an evaluator for the New York City Partnership for Teacher Excellence, and wrote a commissioned paper for the Committee on Teacher Preparation Programs for the National Research Council (NRC). From 2002-2010, he was an adviser to the Carnegie Corporation of New York on implementation of the Teachers for a New Era Initiative. He is a graduate of Boston College and holds masters and doctoral degrees in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill.
Specifically, what will these programs involve? From the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation website here is what I pulled:
- field-based experiences
- data-driven analysis
- expansion of teacher residencies
- clinical-based programming
- shared knowledge
- create communities of inquiry
- skill sets of teacher education
Hasn’t there always been a defined set of skills for teachers to learn depending on what they hoped to teach?
I pulled out my old special education undergraduate teaching transcript and found classes like corrective reading, child developmental, speech and language, child psych. teaching elementary social studies, and much more. That’s what I am looking for here. Where’s the teaching stuff? How will the new teacher teach children if they don’t know what children are about?
Gates has public education in the palm of his hand. Public schools will be privatized the way he sees fit through Common Core State Standards, fast-track teachers who by-pass the true teacher education, The Council on Teacher Quality, and charter schools and many more groups and more so-called transformation hoopla. There are concerns that teaching will be more about putting children on computers to do most of their work.
Why are deans of good universities signing on to teacher prep programs with no research to back up these programs?
Where do the communities and educators around the country fit into this plan created by Gates and company? Why are there no regulations to the influence he, and other reformers, have on our public schools and the children they serve?
Why don’t they recognize, nobody knows teaching like…teachers?