Common Core

Watch Bill Gates Confirm Everybody's Worst Fears About Common Core


Bill Gates
World Economic Forum / Flickr

Common Core critics contend that national education standards will erode local decision-making on school issues while promoting a national curriculum of sorts. Most Core proponents generally dismiss these concerns as unfounded.

But Bill Gates, a major financial backer of the standards, was atypically direct about what peddlers of standardization are trying to accomplish during a Politico event on Monday. Rather than defend Common Core from accusations of creeping nationalization, he finally confirmed that yes, this is exactly what Core proponents are trying to accomplish—less local autonomy is a good thing, as he says in the video:

"Common Core I would have thought of as more of a technocratic issue. The basic idea of, 'should we share an electrical plug across the country?' Well, you can get partisan about that I suppose. Should Georgia have a different railroad width than everybody else? Should they teach multiplication in a different way? Oh that's brilliant [sarcasm], who came up with that idea? Common Core, the idea that what you should know at various grades, that that should be well-structured and you should really insist on kids knowing something so you can build on it, I did not really expect that to become a big political issue."

There you have it. Gates views the education system—the many myriad ways Americans could pass on knowledge to their children—as akin to choosing the correct railroad track size. The implication is obvious: after all, there is only one right railroad track size! Similarly, there is only one correct way to teach children, and all children must be taught that way, according to Gates.

This way of thinking goes against everything the reform movement has come to understand over the last few decades about what works in schools: greater standardization is not the answer; schools languish under stifling centralization; every kid is unique and has different educational needs; and local authorities—especially parents—are best suited to the task of plotting their children's educational paths. 

Nurturing the mind of a child is an infinitely more complex task than choosing an electrical plug. It's not as simple as plugging the right cord into a child's brain and flipping a switch.

Gates says that Georgia shouldn't teach multiplication a different way than the rest of the country. But what if there is a style or method that works in Georgia but not New York? What if Georgia discovers a better way? 

And even if it were true that all U.S. student should be learning the exact same thing in the exact same way, no reasonable person could be persuaded that Common Core is it. That's because scant evidence exists in Common Core's favor—backers are relying on little more than their faith in an unproven methodology.

Standardization isn't good, and these specific standards aren't good (or at least, there isn't a lot of evidence in their favor). Which side in this debate is being unreasonably ideological, again?

NEXT: Elizabeth Warren ?s the Ex-Im Bank

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  1. Here is a good example of one of the many problems with central control administered by an allegedly enlightened elite. The elite often are not even experts in the areas they claim authority over. Even if there was such a thing as a top man capable of setting national education policy, what possible reason is there to think Bill Gates would be such a top man? He is a business man and computer guy. He doesn’t know anything about education, other than perhaps having some idea of what his business would like to see the finish product look like. But that doesn’t mean he knows anything about how to achieve that.

    Our top men elite continue to regress to even lower states of being. Top men in the past at least were specialists who claimed expertise and experience in the area they were trying to control. Today we have the universal top men. Today anyone who is considered a “top man” apparently is qualified to rule any area of life in the country, no actual experience or expertise required.

    1. Today we have the universal top men.

      In a way it kind of fits with the elitist’s view of people as just interchangeable cogs. They just view themselves as better interchangeable cogs than the rest of us.

      1. Gates thinks that we should believe him- the same guy who screws his customers by forcing a worse product on them every time he thinks he needs to top up his bank account.

    2. You’re right, but I dispute that there is such a thing as an “expert” on education. My in-laws are both teachers, and their friends are mostly teachers, and the ones who were Education majors in college are without exception among the dumbest motherfuckers I’ve ever met. If you want to teach Chemistry, you should have a degree in Chemistry. Ditto English, Mathematics, History and every other subject. I’m not entirely convinced elementary school teachers should even require degrees; I think babysitting experience and a first aid class would be sufficient.

      1. There are certainly experts on teaching. I am not sure there are experts on “education” such that they have any business setting national top down policies. That is what I meant.

        1. There are experts on teaching, but you can get a Master’s in Education while doing less work than somebody getting a certificate for Welding at the local community college. It’s a worthless credential, and a Doctorate is only slightly less so.

          1. You really should clarify that with “Some Schools”. My wife completed her masters last year and I was practically a widower for the amount of papers she was writing and case study preparation.

      2. I think that there are experts on certain aspects of education. Though as you say, to expect “education” to be a specialty itself is kind of silly. No one is going to be an expert on everything about education.
        For example, my mother was an elementary school teacher (which involves a whole lot more than babysitting) who became somewhat of an expert on getting kids who were late in learning to read on a better track by working intensively with them. She worked with people who had developed a program to accomplish that. The school district decided to implement the program because there were lots of students who needed that sort of thing. That is more of the kind of educational standards and programs that I’d like to see. Unlike with common core, each district has many options available for special programs and training that they can select based on the actual needs of the particular students.

        1. Apologies, I didn’t mean that teaching elementary was just babysitting, but if you have a high school diploma, you have the necessary education to teach elementary. Adding a 4 year degree in Education does nothing to enhance your ability to do that job.

          1. 4 year? No. A 2 year M.Ed. with instruction in educational psychology and pedagogical theory? Perhaps.

          2. Actually, I think that what you probably need most to teach elementary school is several years of experience teaching elementary school.
            The same probably goes for most teaching. Especially with young education majors. But most teachers are not to great for their first few years on the job.

            1. The new teachers often get assigned the least desirable courses (because seniority), which contributes greatly to the burnout rate. In many other countries new teachers have a reduced load their first year or two and spend the extra time in additional training sessions and working with a mentor.

              American education used to have a ready supply of cheap, competent labor back in the days when women had fewer career options. Now there is no longer a captive labor force, and the educrats have maintained staffing in the classic government manner: by lowering standards.

              1. All absolutely salient and true points.

            2. I think that what you probably need most…is several years of experience…

              This is true for pretty much every profession. There’s a reason that was the method used for 1,000’s of years to teach people a skill or trade.

          3. I absolutely disagree that a high school or 2 year degree is all that is necessary. You obviously have NEVER been responsible for the education of 25-30 elementary kids. The elementary years build the foundation upon which all the future education stands. Reading and comprehension are paramount. Fundamental understanding of math concepts is critical to future success in math education. The ability to work successfully in a classroom and other groups is also critical to future success. If anything, elementary teachers should have the highest requirements…they have to teach everything. Elementary and math specialists should be flooded into the elementary schools, not lower expectations and less requirements. Would any of you truly want your OWN children taught how to read and understand math by only a high school graduate, even a very good student? Or is it that if your local school district were going to this you would do whatever you could to withdraw your child…homeschool, private, move?! Is this a case of it’s ok for those “other” people’s children, but not my own? Or maybe you don’t have children of your own.

            1. You just proved his point about thinking and reasoning skills. Geez.

      3. Yes. The first requirement to teach should be mastery of the subject matter.

        1. I think the most important thing is a desire to teach and an ability to communicate with your students.

          I’ve had plenty of teachers and professors who had mastered their subject to a tee, but were god awful teachers.

          Mastery is not that important, just enough understanding to be able to answer the kids questions and get them through the lesson.

        2. I think most of teaching (elementary school anyway) is just common sense. Education degrees seem to discourage that.

      4. Spot on about the degree. You should have at least a BA for anything secondary (6-12) in the subject. And, you know, be interedted enough in the subject to keep up with the current research/read books about it

        1. BA?

          I want a BS in many topics.

      5. This goes back a ways, but the university I attended was known for three things – teaching, accounting, and MCS. I was an accounting major. As such, I had some very difficult final exams throughout my attendance. I recall, after a relatively hard final, I went to the offices of one of the student associations I had friends in, many of whom were education majors. A particular acquaintance, fairly well along in her elementary ed degree curriculum, suddenly remember she had to do her “final” – which was a lesson plan on teaching about clouds. She proceeded to spend about 15-30 minutes gluing cotton balls to construction paper, writing the type cloud underneath, and writing an overall recap of her teaching method, and that was it. A whole semester class summed up in the colossal endeavor. Between that and learning how to use A/V equipment, I didn’t have a whole lot of respect for the elementary ed degree. Unfortunately, these doofuses now run the country.

      6. My Father was a Professor (History of Science) so I have spent a good deal of my life on or around college campuses. Until the creation of “studies” departments (women’s-, black-, queer-) it was a sure think that the school of education was the dumbest department on any campus, usually even worse than the Athletic Department.

        On the other hand I have met a significant number of really talented men and women with advanced degrees in the sciences who couldn’t communicate with students to save their lives.

        A big part of the problem is that the Progressive Movement captured the Education Profession early and has spent a great deal of time reducing it to absolute idiocy.

        1. At the university level, students need to start dealing with the fact that in the real world, knowledge and skill don’t come pre-packaged in nice, easily consumable lessons anymore. That’s why teaching ability becomes less important for professors than expertise and technical skill.

        2. My wife is currently a pre-K teacher, and has a Music Education degree and taught music and piano for 20 or so years. She’s not naturally talented musically, and I think that actually helped her as a teacher. Since she had to work hard to learn herself, she was exposed to many teaching techniques, and can relate to average students. Sometimes things come so easily to the naturally gifted and talented that they can’t relate to or impart effectively their knowledge to the average student.

    3. Our current school system of regimented classes, periods for each subject, etc. are Prussian in origin designed to churn out duty bound Prussian soldiers.

      1. I’m not saying you are wrong, but this is far too common a criticism of teaching. The fact is that an open and fee-form education plan requires a fairly good teacher to supervise. And any public school system is going to require a lot of teachers. There simply aren’t that many fairly good teachers in the country. Some of the teachers are, inevitably, going to be mediocre. And a mediocre teacher needs the little house apes to be regimented.

        A child that already knows how to read, write, and do basic math can be allowed a lot of freedom. But the basics are repetitive, and frequently tiresome, and (in the case of, for example, English spelling) sometimes sense free. Regimentation and drill can get pupils through that part fairly quickly, with supervision by mediocre teachers.

        It’s all very well to say that the people who teach our children should be our best and brightest, but all too often the best and brightest have something else they want to do.

        1. Observing (correctly) that the current system was designed based on the Prussian model doesn’t mean people are proposing a specific alternative like “open and free-form education”. You’re offering a false choice.

        2. With the disrespect and raining down on teachers of standards and curriculum and testing and paper work and added job responsibilities…adding to that the low pay for number of hours required to do the job (summers are more than “earned” in unpaid hours during the school year…our “best and brightest” with ambition for money and respect will NEVER go into teaching…but the ones with heart and soul and caring will continue to…because it is not about the money for them, as long as you don’t make their life a living hell as it is now being made. Let the teachers teach, support their work, find ways to make their job better (and thus better for our students). ^0^

    4. It’s all about money. Bill’s got it. It is also all about politics because everything from TP you use is a tool of politics.

    5. Bill Gates may be a god businessman, but he doesn’t know jack about education or government.

  2. Should Georgia have a different railroad width than everybody else? Should they teach multiplication in a different way?

    Problem, Bill, is that trains can be made to have the same wheel width…children don’t learn the same way.

    1. Apparently Bill thinks that people are interchangeable cogs.

      1. They will be when he’s done.

      2. This. Treating children as interchangeable components isn’t the cure for what ails American education; it is what ails American education.

      3. I just find it amusing that Bill Gates seems to think he’s qualified to dictate educational standards to everyone when he, rather famously, dropped out of college.

        It’s almost like the “great player – bad coach” syndrome you see in pro sports. Someone with a lot of innate talent looks around, sees everyone isn’t as talented as him, thinks that if he just goes with an idea that he likes it will work for everyone equally. He doesn’t understand that not everyone has the same ability level, nor are his ideas necessarily the best way to go.

    2. I think we are being a bit uncharitable to Bill here. While different students withing Georgia schools will learn best in differing ways, are children in Georgia really so different overall from children in other places that Georgia needs a whole different set of standards and goals? As long as the program provides for accommodation of different learning styles, I don’t think that that the “standardization of children” is really a legitimate complaint.
      Now, I don’t know if common core effectively does this or not, and I don’t like the idea of national standards controlled from the top for various reasons. But it is true in a very general way that one ought to expect students to have certain skills at a certain grade level, even if every school isn’t on the exact same program.

      1. And it should be up to the citizens of Georgia to elect officials and school boards to figure out what those standards should be.

        1. Yes, of course. Just to be clear, I’m no defender of common core or what Gates seems to want in terms of federal control and standardization. I’m just a lot more interested in discussing these smaller parts of the issue that just more preaching to the choir about the failings of public education and standardization.

        2. Or at least be given a chance to look over said national standards and decide if they are acceptable. Have a national debate about the national standards. And how they will be implemented nationally. And what national testing will be associated with the national tests. This IS a nation, it may take longer to go this route, but last I heard it was still a democracy. Now, I may have missed a memo or something on that, I guess. ^0^

      2. While different students withing Georgia schools will learn best in differing ways, are children in Georgia really so different overall from children in other places that Georgia needs a whole different set of standards and goals?

        That’s not the question. The question is, ultimately, who shall control public schools? Will we keep the about 150 sem-odd year institution of local (municipal and state) control or are we going to Federalize public education? If we choose the latter, is this going to be a choice made through the machinery of popular decision or will it be by the fiat of an unelected group of technocrats?

        1. True, I’m just bored with that question.
          No, I don’t want federal control, because they will certainly waste lots of resources on lousy results. At least some local governments seem to do a decent enough job of it.
          I’m just saying that I can see why Gates would look at it the way he does. Since for some odd reason 90% or so of people think that the government can do big things well, it is not so surprising.

          1. Yet, the irony is that Gates had a very atypical educational experience: Attending an exclusive prep school and then dropping out of Harvard to become an entrepreneur.

            1. Until what he is calling for looks like what he has chosen for his OWN children, I am not buying his opinions or best guesses. He has already thought out what a good education looks like, it’s what HIS kids are getting. This other stuff, garbage for the rest of us. ^0^

  3. Should Georgia have a different railroad width than everybody else? Should they teach multiplication in a different way?

    Problem, Bill, is that trains can be made to have the same wheel width…children don’t learn the same way.

    1. so nice he typed it twice!

    2. When you worship at the alter of equal results, that fact is hard to accept. The reality is that every kid is a bit different and the more individualized the course of study, the better the kid is likely to do. This is why home schooled kids do so well. It is not that their parents are particularly great teachers. It is that no one knows a kid better than his parents and thus no one can design a more effective course of learning than parents.

      That reality, however, cuts against central control and makes obtaining equal outcomes impossible. For someone like Gates, that is just too horrible to contemplate. So he just ignores it.

      1. How much of education is about education in the first place?

        It seems the primary purposes of it today are operant conditioning to conform kids to bureaucratic institutions and instilling blind faith in authority. Even higher ed for most people devolves to the latter.

        Try dealing with the average high school or college graduate and be amazed at their overall ignorance of every subject and inability to act without explicit direction.

        1. I think you give them too much credit. That is the result but it is not by design. The purpose of education today, higher and lower, is to provide high paying jobs to leftists. That is all its about. The other effects, while certainly welcomed by leftists, are just a side effect.

        2. Nah, the main point of public education is babysitting and keeping teenagers out of the job market.

          1. Zeb, John wasn’t talking about the leftists kids they graduate and send into the job market. He was referring to the leftists that are running the education system through the teachers union.

            I believe he is correct. US education today is all about the educators rather that the “to be” educated.

            1. How can you even believe that it is leftists controlling the education system through the unions, when the unions are supporting every kind of attack on teachers, being bought by Gates’ and Walton’s and Koch’s money? This is not left vs right, it is the uber-wealthy vs the rest of us. They have more money than 90% of us combined, but can’t just GIVE the money for schools that look like where they send their own kids? They have decided what good education is, they send their kids to those schools, why not for us? Private schools are not that much more expensive to run than public schools, high prices keep the riff raff out, plain and simple. Give us all vouchers and watch elite private school tuitions rise proportionately, and watch the scam artists come in with schools that cost the same as the voucher. ^0^

  4. I can understand the knee jerk reaction to the horrible state of our education (read sarcastically) to be to make sure we pull everyone to the same level. However, this is the same knee jerk reaction that leads to minimum wage laws and mortgage lending policies that don’t take any local differences into account.

    I understand I’m preaching to the choir, but it’s also this type of reaction that stifles innovation and prevents best practices arising through a melding of ideas from different areas.

    To abuse his horrible example of railroad tracks- it’s more akin to saying that all cars should have the same size tires.

  5. “Common Core will be the WindowsME of education standards. People will have no choice but to love it!”

    1. What’s the linux of education standards? I’ll go with that. Ubuntu raspberry pi of education standards please.

      1. Ubuntu raspberry pi is a voluntary standard that is not mandated by government. If it were government mandated, then it would begin to suck.

        1. yes. welcome to my point.

      2. What’s the linux of education standards?

        E.D. Hirsch’s Core Knowledge?

        Wait, no. That’s the OS/Warp of education standards.

          1. Warp rocked in it’s time.

    2. I’m for the FORTRAN of educational standards.

  6. every day another reason i’m happy I send my kid to private school.

    1. I feel horrible for the parents who don’t have the money to do that and are stuck paying taxes and sending their kids to this circuses.

      1. I’ve got a choice between a Baptist cult, a private school where the tuition is roughly equal to my salary, or the meat grinder. Luckily the meat grinder was a private school a few decades ago before the Borg assimilated it, and it remains one of the best schools in the state.

        1. YES. I’ve literally got 1 non religious private school in the area open to me- that’s not just for girls- and it’s as much as my mortgage.

          1. Even the good Catholic Schools here run upwards of $20,000 a year. That is over $1500 a month. And the Catholic schools are the cheap ones. It is just appalling. You can find some affordable grade and middle schools. All of the high schools, however, cost a fortune.

          2. I wouldn’t mind a religious school if it wasn’t a cult. I mean, at this place all the women wear dresses and no makeup because God says so. No thanks.
            A regular Catholic school wouldn’t bother me if it was nearby and reasonably priced.

            1. Yeah. Not all religious schools are the same. I would send my kid, if I had one, to a Catholic school. They are run pretty well. I would, however, have a real hard time sending my kid to a place like you describe. That is no better than sending them to some prog reeducation camp.

            2. Why don’t Baptists have sex standing up?

              People might think they’re dancing.

              Ba dum chhhhh! I’ll be here all week.

              1. What is the difference between a Baptist and a Seventh Day Adventist? The Baptists can say hello to each other in the liquor store.

                1. The Baptists can say hello to each other in the liquor store.

                  They could if they weren’t already falling down drunk before they went in (full disclosure: I was raised Baptist, so I know of what I speak).

            3. I’ve got a choice between a Baptist cult…

              I mean, at this place all the women wear dresses and no makeup because God says so.

              Sounds more like Pentacostal than Baptist to me (or possibly some Mormon sect). Common mistake. A lot of people seem to think that Cristianity consists of “Catholics” and “Baptists”.

              1. It says “Baptist” on the sign.

                1. Huh. That’s strange. Must be one of those weird non-mainstream “baptist” churches. Kind of like the Westboro “Baptist” Church dickheads.

                  1. Must be one of those weird non-mainstream “baptist” churches.

                    They are preparing for Christ’s “imminent” return.

                    1. Ah, they’re those types: the ones who think we’re living in the end times. Funny, various sects have claimed that Christ’s return is “imminent” for at least the last 1000 years or so. He sure is taking his sweet time…

                    2. Funny, various sects have claimed that Christ’s return is “imminent” for at least the last 1000 years or so.

                      My mother is one of those. Last time she brought it up I quoted Jim Morrison: “The future’s uncertain and the End is always near.”

                    3. My mother is one of those.

                      Ugh, I feel your pain. My mom’s been going that direction for the last few years.

                      Of course it always seems like the end times prophesies are coming true if you start with the premise that the end is nigh and then start looking for patterns to fit your premise. Add in the 24/7 media cycle that brings breaking news of disasters on the other side of the world to you in minutes and of course it seems like the world’s going to hell (literally).

                    4. While not a particularly good movie, I’ve always been struck by one of the points made in “Seventh Sign” w/Demi Moore. In that movie, the 2nd coming occurs, and the final Apocalypse is averted by Moore’s character’s sacrifice. Jesus tells her Jewish friend to write down what he has seen and tell the world.

                      I’m pretty sure that if the movie continued, it would show the kid being marked as a crazy person and otherwise utterly ignored.

                      The 2nd coming may have already come and gone, and we missed it.

                    5. One of the best South Park scenes…

                      Speaker: Hello, newcomers, and welcome. Can everybody hear me? [taps the mic a few times] Hello? Can everybuh-? Okay. [the crowd quiets down] Uh, I’m the hell director. Uh, it looks like we have about 8,615 of you newbies today, and for those of you who are a little confused, uh, you are dead, and this is hell, so, abandon all hope and uh yada yada yada. Uh, we are now going to start the orientation process, which will last about-

                      Man 4: Hey, wait a minute, I shouldn’t be here. I was a totally strict and devout Protestant! I thought we went to heaven!

                      Hell Director: Yes, well I’m afraid you were wrong.

                      Soldier: I was a practicing Jehovah’s Witness.

                      Hell Director: Uh, you picked the wrong religion as well.

                      Man 5: Well, who was right? Who gets into heaven?

                      Hell Director: I’m afraid it was the Mormons. Yes, the Mormons were the correct answer.

                      Crowd: [disappointed] Awww.

                    6. It’s not just a Christian thing; climate activists believe in the end times too, as well as salvation through faith.

                  2. The Baptists love schisms, they’ll fall out over doctrinal points so tiny you need an electron microscope to figure them out.

              2. If I had to recommend a Christian religion to someone in the market for one, I’d have to go with Methodist.

                All the salvation, none of the guilt.

                1. “none of the guilt”

                  You sure ain’t in my congregation then! 🙂

                2. Nahhh…Go Lutheran. They usually have coffee and snacks between services.
                  They also aren’t afraid of J.S. Bach.

                  1. I would pick a religion based on the after life…so either Norse or Islam or Mormon. All are basically a man’s paradise. I’m leaning toward Norse.

                  2. Coffee? Shit, try an Eastern European Orthodox church. We’ve got booze!

        2. That is a tough choice. And even if you do like and can afford a private school, you are still stuck paying taxes for the leftist reeducation camp down to the street. It is just infuriating.

          There are still some good public schools out there. Of course, going to those usually requires enough income to buy into the neighborhood. The whole thing is a national disgrace.

          1. “It is just infuriating.”

            I made my peace with it. I just stopped caring. basically for the reasons you cite above. there are good people stuck there.

            I can pay for private, the public isn’t going to change, and I don’t need the headache. so yes, my property taxes support it and i don’t like that. but i feel better just not thinking about it anymore.

          2. Of course, going to those usually requires enough income to buy into the neighborhood.

            Or, like me, living in an area with virtually no city services other than the school and a transfer station. My property tax bill is less than a grand a year.

            1. “My property tax bill is less than a grand a year.”

              *grinds teeth thinking of property tax bill over 8 times that high*

            2. I own a house in a town where there are no services except school and transfer station (not even police or fire, no garbage pickup and I’m too far out for water/sewer).

              My taxes are over $3000 on that, and we don’t even live there more than 3 months out of the year (so we get no vote, like lots of other seasonal people).

              Oh, and don’t get me started about the rules for the transfer site and myriad extras fees for the wrong kind of trash.

              1. But you are a 1%er and you deserve that.


                What is a transfer station ?

          3. Of course, going to those usually requires enough income to buy into the neighborhood.

            Sending the ablest students to the best schools would be elitist. Reserving the best schools for the children of parents who can afford to live in Potomac and West Bethesda isn’t elitist. This is the way it was actually explained to me.

        3. We need to open our own private school.

          1. Yes. I’m working on a business plan for a secular, free market business based boarding school for boys- weekdays only- outside the suburbs of DFW. The kids will work in the kitchen, laundry, etc., under supervision of adult professionals with rotating responsibilities every semester.

            They will also garden, invest, etc. Guest instructors will include local businessmen and industry leaders.

            Tuition would run approximately 40k/year.

            I’ve got my top men on it.

            1. I’d like to apply for position of warden.

              1. Can I be one of your goons/turnkeys?

              2. game warden? we’ll call him ghillie.

            2. Any chance of a companion school for girls only?

              I’d figure out a way to sell my vital organs to send my daughter to that.

              1. After we prove the model- we will then, of course, create a sister school.

            3. Will there be cake ?

          2. If I ever won the mega millions I would. I would love to be a teacher. It is probably as close to a calling as I have. Sadly, my choices are either get a PHD and try to make it in the leftist higher education camp or make not much money teaching high school at a private school. No thanks.

            1. Or come work for my private school and make a decent living with part ownership- it’s a for profit school, btw- and help our kids ace all the tests so we can charge more money to parents who value our services.

              1. Give me a call. I would love to do something like that, especially after I extract my retirement out of the government.

              2. It’s going to be called the Spencerian School for Gifted Youngsters.

                Serisously, we will copy the teaching styles made famous by Exeter and we will be the best school- first by city, then state, then region, and eventually the nation. Since we will be FOR profit, we will be vilified, which will make our success that much sweeter.

                We will tour the nation showing how our model works better than public schools and he will eventually be assassinated by the teachers unions. Martyrs for the cause…

                1. I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

          3. We need to open our own private school.

            With hookers! …And blackjack!

            1. Look, if the seniors want to choose a brothel/casino for their entrepreneurship semester project- who am I to stop them. How’ll they’ll get the girls… that’s a different story.

              (a % of tuition would go to paying off local authorities.)

        4. Homeschool.

          Give up one of your cars and the boat (for example), if that’s what it takes.

          I’ve read, and enjoyed, too many of your posts to think that those are your only choices.

      2. it’s going to be a 3 tier system. private. “good” public. and whatever DC is.

        1. The grade and middle schools in the rich areas of DC are good. All of the high schools, even ones like Wilson that are in good neighborhoods are disasters. But the grade and middle schools are known to be passable.

          As I say above, however, the private high schools all cost over $20K a year.

          1. i’m paying 20k a year for kindergarten. i justify it b/c it’s about what we paid for daycare/pre-school.

            my local public is a Fairfax school. but they redrew the lines and it’s 50% ESL and about the same for free lunch. and the parents reports are what you expect. crowded rooms, assembly line mentality, etc.

            or .. my kid is in a class room with 12, has recess twice a day, is in french 3 times a week, and came home after 2 weeks there talking about nouns and AB patterns in math.

            1. Hold it NOVA. It is almost like you are saying large numbers of low skilled immigrants showing up lowers the overall quality of life or something. We can’t have that. I mean, your kid will get access to good taco trucks and lots of groovy ethnic things. What is the big deal about being stuck in an overcrowded class where 3/4ths of the kids don’t speak English?

              1. the post metro section had a story about it .. FFX schools are basically paying for special needs kids and ESL.

                as a bonus … I’m 90% certain we’ve got a boarding house on the other side of the neighborhood.

                I blame the idea that non citizens are entitled to go to school more than anything.

                1. You can have the welfare state or open borders. You can’t have both.

              2. What is the big deal about being stuck in an overcrowded class where 3/4ths of the kids don’t speak English?

                Wait. How are your kids in the ESL classes unless they don’t speak English as a first language either?

                1. How are your kids in the ESL classes unless they don’t speak English as a first language either?

                  Around here the ESL kids are dropped into standard classes and pulled out daily for specialized instruction. You think they wouldn’t just flip the model when the ratios demand?

            2. Damn that’s a lot for tuition. I’m paying about 5k a year for a pretty good school. Also, they only charge tuition for the first two kids from a family, so if I get 3+ kids in the school at the same time they get free tuition.

              1. That sounds pretty reasonable.

                Is it year round or just 9 mos?

                Is there any competition in your area?

                1. 9 months.

                  There’s maybe 3 others within driving distance which I guess is a lot considering how rural the area is.

      3. I feel horrible for the parents who don’t have the money to do that and are stuck paying taxes and sending their kids to this circuses.

        How about those who have no kids, and are stuck paying taxes and sending someone else’s kids to this circuses?

        1. I am one of those. And that sucks too.

        2. This is the worst. I can only empathize with you- and let you know that having a dozen kids out of spite just to get back more than you put in is NOT the way to go about it. however, smart and libertarian parents typically have smart and libertarian kids- so if you really want to affect change on the political system, you should spread your seed like the dandelion in the wind.

          1. so if you really want to affect change on the political system, you should spread your seed like the dandelion in the wind.

            I’m doing the best I can damnit.

        3. Well, I have no kids but I teach in a public university so I figure those with kids are paying my salary. Plus, since the schools are mainly funded out of property taxes and I rent, I probably come out ahead.

          1. except that your rent is higher than it would be otherwise to cover the owner’s property tax bill.

            1. True. But, with the salary, I’m probably at least breaking even.

        4. And those kids grow up to vote for even more taxes….

    2. Yes. I’m moving that direction- I just want my money back from public school first!

      My kid- in 2nd grade- gets 100% correct on his spelling test and draws a picture to pass the time while everyone else is still waiting. What does the teacher mark down? “Please don’t draw pictures on the test. You will lose points next time.” And we’re at a TOP RATED public school- one of the reasons we moved to where we live now.

      He’s reading Origami Yoda books in his spare time and they’re testing him for reading comprehension on picture books. Let’s not start on how he gets all the math questions right but they’re asking him to do that stupid base 10 junk and he’s having to answer the same questions 4 different ways and show his work.
      Then he gets in trouble for talking and not sitting still in class!
      It’s driving me crazy.

      1. Equality means the lowest common denominator.

        1. True, but the larger point is that schools habituate kids to following arbitrary rules.

          Don’t draw on the test

          Q Why?

          A Because I say so and you’ll get demerits next time you do it

          Repeat that sequence for 12 years and the kids coming out the other end can barely wipe their asses without instruction and approval – which is exactly how the education establishment wants it.

      2. Wait until he gets so bored that he stops jumping through the hoops. Then they will label him learning disabled like they did me.

        1. Heh, I got bored shitless in school, got restless, and was labeled a ‘behavior problem’.

          1. I was one of those as well. Ended up in a “special” 7th grade classroom where the kids who started fires so they can masturbate were warehoused for the day. At least I was only in there for an hour a day to get taught remedial math by a wannabe poet with an unhealthy obsession with Men At Work.

            1. Ended up in a “special” 7th grade classroom where the kids who started fires so they can masturbate were warehoused for the day.

              And just who, may I ask, taught those kids to do that?

              *** wink, wink, nudge, nudge ***

              1. Hey, man… I just got there, right?

                The poet kept them calm by letting them play board games all day. I was scrawny in 7th grade and most of them had been held back so many times that I think at least one of them had a learner’s permit. I was mostly just trying not to get stabbed in the kidney.

            2. No such thing as an UNHEALTHY obsession with Men at Work. Be good Johnny.

              1. Driving a kombie on a hippy trial with a head full of zombie is on mine and should be on anyone’s bucket list.

                1. I just think about how the city streets smell of desperation.

          2. My Mom was telling me a few months back that in 1st grade I was in danger of being labeled this as well. Turns out I was finishing my work in around half the time of the rest of the class and, when my teacher told me I couldn’t read anything to pass the time and to just “sit still” I started acting out. Required a parent-teacher-administrator conference. Teacher refused to relent on allowing me to read in the classroom and the principal, thankfully, forced the issue and told the teacher I was to be excused to the library upon finishing my work and then would return to class when the assignments were finished.

            Pretty sure I drank away those smarts ten years later. Still smart enough to know rigidity in the educational system doesn’t work.

          3. I was bored shitless, but instead of getting restless, I’d just quit paying attention and wander off, mentally, instead of completing my school work. Which got me labeled “slow” and put in the dipshit class in 1st through 3rd grade. That really helped [sarcasm].

            Of course now they’d probably “diagnose” me with ADD and pump me full of Ritalin or Adderal, which I’m sure would also really “help”.

            1. This.

              I blame my shitty hand-writing and ADD on 1st grade. I recall spending what seemed like an eternity practicing printing and being told to stay with everyone else in reading. I got an A+ on an early printing assignment and, to me, that meant I was proficient and didn’t need to do that shit anymore. By half way thru the year, I was failing printing and would spend the day daydreaming about Johnny Socko and his Flying Robot, or Ultra-Man.

              The first grade teacher wanted to hold me back, because I couldn’t keep up in reading (while I was actually two stories ahead).

              “Bobby, I want you to read the next paragraph out loud”

              “Uhhh, where are we?”

          4. Heh, I got bored shitless in school, got restless, and was labeled a ‘behavior problem’.

            Same here, only it was more of a drug “problem”.

        2. already done. He’s done with school at 7 years old because he understands how dumb it all is.

          I can’t argue with him otherwise because he’s right. The only way I get him to go in the morning is explaining that the only way he’s going to be able to afford to live on his own and do what he wants is to jump through hoops at this point in his life.

          1. I think that’s about the best you can do. I discovered that they left me pretty much alone if I quietly read in class and did OK on tests.

        3. They tried to do that to me but my mother protested and got them to put me in advanced courses instead.
          Amazingly, with slightly more challenging classes, I goofed off less!

          The administrators were totally baffled.

          1. A real head-scratcher.

            We didn’t have any advanced classes, so I just kept my head down. (I went to a very small elementary school.)

            1. I was in private schools until 7th grade. That’s when the public school morons tried to put me in with the speds because I was so bored. I didn’t learn anything new until 11th grade.

      3. I once got so bored with a math test in 7th grade that I told the teacher to move me to a higher class or I’ll do the test of the three kids around me. he said no so since I sat in front of him I grabbed the other kids tests and did them that minute. he said nothing and all four of us got A’s. this was in the mid 70’s so in a way stupid school practices have not changed.

        1. I used to sleep through some classes in high school and just wake up for tests or quizzes and ace them. The teachers were surprisingly OK with that.

    3. And the public schools in Northern Va are some of the best in the country.

      1. selectively yes. you have to work the system.

        1. I graduated from Robinson when it was considered one of the best public high schools in the nation. I hate to harp on the immigration thing but it apparently has taken quite a nosedive over the last decade because of the changing demos. Most of my friends have either strategically moved or send their kids private. My friends who are teachers in FCPS (as well as Arlington) concur with your earlier comment: ESL, Learning Disabled and Special Needs are all being pushed into these counties “because they can afford it.”

    4. Here’s how one couple I know is solving it, now that their 7-year-old has run aground on Common Core “math,” which is something like running a standard-gauge train on a broad-gauge track to use a metaphor that Bill Gates would understand:

      The grandmother is a highly credentialed artist, so she’s going to un-retire and wangle a job at the insanely expensive private school and get the teacher’s discount for the kid. The parents will still have to cut back on their lifestyle, but overall everyone is lucky with those results. Other parents at the Common Core public school are green with envy.

    5. Studies across the country have shown that private schools, on the whole, do no better than public in the same area. Elite private schools may, but as you have stated, they will cost you a mortgage (because they are not for “you others”, they are for those who can afford it). Just because it says private, doesn’t mean a thing…teaching cheap ignorance just so you don’t have to be with “different kinds of people” doesn’t make a better school. ^0^

  7. That’s really rich coming from the guy who at least shares some of the blame for the pile of shit known as Internet Explorer, which has only recently started playing nice with web standards.

    1. I got stuck using it last weekend. I was shocked, it actually seemed to work. For about three years now, I couldn’t get it to work at all. The security and the privacy settings, even when set to the lowest level seemed to block nearly everything. And virtually any kind of adware would lock it up. Microsoft managed to make a completely unusable program. That is a pretty good trick when you think about it. A web browser is not that complex of a program. Any company can make a average or good one. But it takes a special kind of company to make a completely nonfunctional one.

    2. This. It’s incredible he has never been sued big time for all the damage MS products have resulted in.

    3. Bill Gates is going to embrace, extend, and extinguish education just like he did with web browsers?

  8. Bill Gates bloviating about the importance of standards, that’s rich.

  9. “Common Core I would have thought of as more of a technocratic issue. The basic idea of, ‘should we share an electrical plug across the country?’ Well, you can get partisan about that I suppose”

    Yeah because electrical current and transmission standards are a perfect analogy for the educational process.

    1. Well, children are all just cogs for the progressive machine. Know your place, citizen!

  10. The oddity of Mr. Gates’ commentary is that, even in his metaphor, you wouldn’t want all rail transport to be standardized. It wouldn’t make sense to run giant cross-country trains as trolleys, for example.

    1. Not to defend his underlying assertion, but the track gauge is the width of between the two rails and it’s pretty standard all across North America, much like it is with automobiles.

      Sure, you can/do have automobiles with wider/narrower tracking, but they’re still pretty standard and the fact that automobiles can be so accommodating is mostly thanks to the standardization of roads. If the roads were paved with steel, you can imagine cars would be less diverse.

      You’re right that you wouldn’t run freight cars as elevated or subway cars, but that doesn’t mean you would want to prevent yourself from making the undercarriage relatively interchangeable.

      1. Uh, cars have completely unstandardized track widths. They don’t run on tracks. It’s completely different from rail gauges.

    2. Narrow gauge rail works better than standard gauge for mountains and mines…

      1. The old Soviet Union purposely converted to a different gauge than Europe, just to hinder the ability to use trains for logistics in an invasion.

        1. Or for escape from the Soviet paradise.

  11. Does anyone else see the irony in a man who became fabulously wealthy after dropping out of college – pushing centralized education as the solution to all that ills?

    1. It is funny how people so often never learn the lessons of their own life. Bill Gates is entirely self taught. He got into computers and realized quickly he was wasting his time at Harvard and left to pursue his calling. You would think someone like Gates would be embracing online schools and killing off the public schools to let other kids do the same.

      1. Especially the part about online schools, which would require his PRODUCT, hello?

        I guess Microsoft has done some cost analysis and determined that conveying Common Core is more lucrative than building a browser so good that it would be the preferred medium for online education.

        1. I think Gates’ is a nerd who married the first chick who laid him and now allows her to do all his thinking. Gates’ wife is a huge leftist from what I hear.

          1. But his wife is really high-powered, she has a foundation and was a Duke University trustee and…never mind.

          2. Melinda French’s big accomplishment as manager at Microsoft was Microsoft Bob.

            1. “Microsoft Bob”

              Is that a sex act? It sounds like a sex act.

      2. No, not really. Remember, Gates got where he was because DOS was the operating system for the IBM PC. It’s kind of hard for us to remember, but, at the time, IBM was the standard for most of corporate America. Standardization is the core of his business model.

        1. That is a good point. He killed Apple even though he had an inferior product because he standardized and opened up is system to anyone who wanted to write and sell a program.

          1. Apple killed itself with it’s closed architecture. Once third party vendors started selling custom 286’s via catalogs it was over for Apple.

        2. Bill Gates got where he is because he’s got shrewd lawyers (his dad is a wealthy lawyer) who retained the right to resell MS-DOS to third parties like Compaq.

      3. He didn’t drop out of K-12 schools.

        1. So what? He just as easily could have.

          1. Harvard is not centralize education. It’s actually a private institution, markets at work and all.

      4. Well, to be fair to Gates, most people don’t or can’t do what he did. I think more could with a less rigid education system. But most people end up working for someone else doing a job for a wage. Not that many are as clever and highly motivated as Gates.
        Not to say that I think that the current dominant education model is very good. I think a lot more kids, especially at the high school and college levels should be encouraged and allowed to find their own path and to go off an do their own thing if they are smart and motivated enough. The credentialism that dominates is just stupid.

        The other thing is that, right or wrong, public schools are very popular, as a concept if not always in their execution. Most people really do see it as a very important function of government.

        1. They love the *idea,* and if they get their kids into the right school, they love the *reality.* The problems with public schools can be fixed with just the right programs!

          1. SOme of the more frustrating conversations I have about education are with people who agree completely about the problems of public education, yet still insist that it is essential to have not only government funded education, but also government provided schools.
            I think that government paying for universal education, but the private sector providing the services sounds like a very nice compromise position.

      5. You would think someone like Gates would be embracing online schools and killing off the public schools to let other kids do the same.

        Unless he doesn’t want some little shit upstart coming up and stealing his thunder. It could be that he’s actually an evil genius sociopath.

      6. He doesn’t want the competition.

      7. And that isn’t what he is doing? Because of the Common Core movement and its false narrative of failure we have been pushed into reforms that are creating entire charter school districts that use ONLY computer based education…little drones (and big ones in the on-line for-profit universities) sitting in front of a computer screen (yay, more screen time!)…and who sells those computers? Not to mention, (and this may shock some people) but the US has NEVER been #1 on international tests, AND if you look at the scores of students who go to schools with less than 25% of students living in poverty they actually would be #1 in the world AND if the US (like China, Hong Kong, and Korea, etc) only reported the scores of our best students, then yes, we would have top scores too, and we could end this erroneous comparison between the US (which tests and reports the scores of everyone) and countries that don’t.

    2. My thoughts as well

  12. its amazing that the American school system did so well before the federal government decided to step all over it heck it even produced people like Bill Gates without standardization. so many people think they would have had it better only if, but they forget that they did have it better.

    1. Some people had it better, others were relegated to schools that “were separate but definitely not equal”. The USDoE has had a strong role in highlighting and rectifying many unfair and abusive policies against minorities. That it is now trying to rectify the problem of all these non-uber-wealthy people thinking they deserve better has become a problem for our generation and those to come. ^0^

  13. Why do we need centralized standardization, though? English, for instance, isn’t controlled and regulated by the English Czar. . .at least, not yet. Ditto everything else. Science and math transcend any imposed standardization, too, because the methods either work or they do not. That’s one of the greatest bulwarks against things like creationism dominating biology curricula, because the reality is that it’s not useful for anything other than religion.

    1. You could have a “math czar” if his job was to administer some kind of national test that gave kids some kind of certification. I as math czar degree that any kid who can do XYZ will be granted a first class high school diploma or something. But you couldn’t have any czar who mandated how a subject should be taught throughout the entire country. Or at least not have one who did anything but damage.

      1. I have an idea. How about a Not the Fucking Government’s Business Czar? He has one power–to say things aren’t within the purview of the federal government. “Um, sorry, not the feds.”

        1. You just want to live in Somalia or something.

          1. Somalia? Sorry, not the fucking government’s business.

      2. Yeah, but what if I think a first class math education is much more than just being able to follow recipes (as evidenced by the historic 50% failure rate in algebra…for decades, long before Common Core came along)…What if I think there is some need for a certain kind of math mandate about how math should be taught? ^0^

    2. English, for instance, isn’t controlled and regulated by the English Czar


  14. This information is especially relevant/interesting to me,as i have just started a masters in education. What John says in his first comment is right-education experts these people aren’t.

    For example, the Common Core standard that you have to be able to explain WHY a math answer is a certain way is going to screw non auditory/textual learners, as well as ELLs (English Language Learners). Why just being able to consistently get the right answer isn’t enough- i have no idea.

    And as a future history teacher, i like having even more of my curriculum out of my hands. I mean, i would at least like to present that there are alternative ways to look at FDR/The New Deal, I want to get to at least Reagan/Carter (we’re talking kids where the freshman will be born post 2000 here), and get a class who know that while it was the primary issue, the civil war wasn’t just about slavery (and for some who cared about slavery, they were more concerned with the “free” labor that blacks provides that poor whites couldn’t- @although it wasn’t entirely free because slaves did have to be housed, fed, etc.)

    Fucking bureaucrats

    1. Also, I have read the science such as it is behind common core math is about 20 years out of date. The current science has found that the old method of memorizing multiplication tables and such is the best way for people to learn math.

      The thing is that society has been educating children since the dawn of time. Over that period a huge amount of collective wisdom developed. Things like memorizing math tables and teaching kids to sound out words were not developed by “experts” doing strict experiments at universities and through documented experimentation. So people couldn’t always explained why they worked. But since they were developed over centuries and were the product of a tremendous amount of collective wisdom, they did work.

      The education “experts” have spent the last 100 years throwing all of that collected wisdom out of the window and replacing it with politically driven fantasy and junk science. And we wonder why our kids are not getting an education anymore.

      1. “Also, I have read the science such as it is behind common core math is about 20 years out of date. The current science has found that the old method of memorizing multiplication tables and such is the best way for people to learn math.”

        And I stayed in a Holiday Inn last nite and think you’re totally wrong.

        1. Others disagree


          They stayed at a Hilton, but they are neuroscientists. So there is that.

          1. OMG, a Canadian newspaper article!

            Well, that literature review settles that!

            1. That refers to the science on the issue.

              If you have evidence that the science is incorrect, provide it. Otherwise, you need to remember this is not a progressive forum. So you have to marshal evidence and facts. Attacking the messenger and other fallacies don’t work here. We are not leftists.

              1. Evidence other than a Canadian newspaper article?

                1. It says the journal the article is in dude. Ebsco or lexos nexus or whatever that shit

                  1. OMG, one journal article.

                    That settles it!

                    1. Is that you’re whole schtick?

                      “OMG, one ____ article. That settles it.”

                      Here’s a novel concept: provide sources of your own to refute the argument being made or STFU. Go troll elsewhere.

                    2. Actually, multiple journal articles and wide acceptanace by university math/science programs. Easy enough for you to start with the article from John’s link and follow the trail.

              2. Choose the appropriate reference from my 28th Law…

                And somewhere before fifth or sixth grade, I memorized the multiplication tables for everything from 1×1 to 9×12.

                It still serves me, sixty or so years later, when I can ‘do that stuff in my head’ in an instant, unlike the adorable fad techniques espoused today.

                Not to mention knowing which fractions’ equivalent ‘percentages’ are, too. Faster than a calculator, since no typing is required and the batteries self-charge with every healthy meal.

                Or, you can do it your way…. Enjoy!

          2. It makes sense that this would be the case, simply because you have to hit some higher level math before you get explanations. Given that i may jave access to this article through my school, i will have to look up the whole thing at some point

        2. It’s probably the best way to learn multiplication tables. Math is a whole other issue.

          1. I think it also works for square roots etc.

            Which is useful in reducing the tine spent on math when your doing more complex stuff

        3. That’s because you’re an idiot.

          I mean, you routinely get beat by a guy named Mr. Fantastic.

      2. The problem is that it takes longer for a centralized bureaucracy to change than it does research. Which has its own problems because one study can go against another etc… but all of that is best dealt with at the local level which can be most responsive and easier to correct errors.

        And yeah, with education, we’re talking about a field that people have been thinking about and writing about it since at least the ancient greeks. Some ideas, like the memory palace, are still super useful (if you’re good at the whole visualization/spatial relations thing, which i am not). We could stand to be a bit less arrogant. The old methods work-they may not be ideal or the best for every learner, but they work.

      3. No shit. I remember seeing commercials for Hooked on Phonics. I thought “This is just what we used to learn in school. What the fuck are they teaching in schools nowadays that you need to buy this shit?”

    2. Where I live the even bigger problem is that having more knowledge is not encouraged. I have a PhD in history but am not qualified to teach in the local high school. However, someone with a BA in Education and 6 hours of history is.

      We run an MA in my school and about 1/3 of our students are history/social studies teachers. Most of them are doing the history MA to get a pay bump and/or to be qualified to teach AP classes. We did an informal survey with some of them a few weeks ago and, of all the grad classes offered in the School of Education, they came up with one that they thought actually taught them something worthwhile.

      1. You need a history ma for APs? What state? Because, if so… crap. Love history to death, but i would rather not spend the time/money/effort on that.

        I have a history-poli sci BA… i look down very much on BAs in education, unless they’re elementary (even then, psych would have been more useful).

        I’m at LMU. So far I’ve found my educational psych and special ed req to be decently interesting (the special ed part not so much but the “here are pratical exercises to get students to talk, etc.” part).

        1. Umm, Great Plains (anymore specific and I would pretty much lose my anonymity).

          And I could be wrong: there are a number of advanced high school programs (e.g. one that allows students to earn college freshman credit for taking a course in high school if taught by someone with an MA) so it may be one of those. I do know that some of the high school teachers we have in the program are getting their MA as much for the opportunity to teach more ambitious students as much as for the pay bump.

          1. Hmmm…. I have an MA in History and a JD. Bet I still would not be allowed to teach here in the Land of Lincoln the IEA.

            1. It’s not the degree, it’s the licensure. And even if you get your guild membership, your salary is determined by your education and experience. Since there is no official benefit for having a teacher with a terminal degree, and considering the fact that the starting salary is like triple that of a newly minted M.Ed., no administrator in his or her right mind would hire you over the newbie.

      2. And the phd thing is ridiculous

        1. Yeah, I would have to go an earn a Teaching Certificate through the College of Ed. But there is no education cartel, no sir.

          I’ve also been told by some people with working knowledge of the various school districts that you should not earn an MA in history before you apply to teach because you are less likely to get a job than someone without an MA (even if both candidates have the appropriate Education BA).

          I had a friend who spent years teaching in the public schools around here and he once told me that we could improve education in America over night if we shut down every college of education.

          In Australia, they had specific teacher training colleges that you went to straight out of high school. Although I am sure they are full of the same shit as here, the big advantage was they put you classrooms your first year. That year you observed, the second year, you observed and taught some classes. The third year you taught for a couple of weeks. To get out, you had to receive good evals from the teachers whose classes you taught in. And while that does raise some issues, I think the hands on experience was really helpful based on what friends of mine told me.

  15. If kids were taught primarily online, then the system would already be more compatible nationwide. Just like people moving across state lines can keep using the same gmail and facebook accounts.

  16. So localities should not be able to set their own rules re gun control, but should be able to set their own rules when it comes to whether people rode dinosaurs. Check.

    1. Or, perhaps, government shouldn’t be involved in education at all. If government worked for me, and I was in charge of delivering educational services, I would fire government and have it removed by security.

      1. Yes, government shouldn’t be involved in education just like it shouldn’t be involved in regulating railroad tracks. Each track should do its own thing!

        Our governmental education system is great. Even prominent libertarians lie Milton Friedman are products of it.

        1. Remember the good ol’ days before federal intervention in education? Like when the Ruskies with a second world economy beat us with a first world one into space?

          1. Like when the Ruskies with a second world economy beat us with a first world one into space?

            What does that have to do with education? All that means is that they threw more money at it than we did. Nothing more.

            1. After the Ruskies beat us into space we did some soulsearching (how did a second rate country beat us?), and the result was that we had insane local and state science standards in many places. We enacted a more robust federal presence and, viola, we had a much better science environment.

              1. By George I think he has it.

                The US facing embarrassment the Russians first manned space flight and of seeing the wisdom of Soviet style education and top down approach to science promptly “enacted a more robust federal presence” The real genius was applying the new policies retroactively. It worked so well that even the adults already working in the space program benefited. Matching the manned space flight of the Russians a year later would not have been possible otherwise.

                Unfortunately, FedGov has gotten lax in the years since and the space program hasn’t made the same giant leaps forward.


          2. Remember the good ol’ days before federal intervention in education?

            Not personally, but according to the data there hasn’t been much of an improvement. Just a lot of money wasted and liberty lost.

            1. Federal intervention has meant that a lot of kids that weren’t otherwise counted (you know, the ones with dark skin!) and which were severely disadvantaged, now do get counted. That might bring the average down and constitute a ‘failure’ in your eyes.

          3. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

            1. Yep. The left sees logical fallacies and embraces them as truth.

              1. Yes, libertarians never do this (prosperity following a tax cut, causation!!!!)

                1. prosperity following a tax cut, causation!!!!

                  Prosperity when people are allowed to spend and invest more of their own money as they see fit, as opposed to it being pissed away by politicians? Yeah. There’s definitely some causation happening there.

                  1. Of course, because people, when they vote, according to libertarians, are idiots, but when they spend their money, are infallible!

                    1. Whatever you do, don’t read this, you might learn something! Don’t read it! Don’t even click on it!

          4. Remember the good ol’ days before federal intervention in education?

          5. Remember the good ol’ days before federal intervention in education?

            What’d you do during the war? Did you fight for the North or the South?

            Like when the Ruskies with a second world economy beat us with a first world one into space?

            Well, it cost Tsar Alexander II to launch the first Russian rocket that he had to sell Alaska to the US. Are you really proposing to go so deep in debt that we had to sell Alaska back?

            1. Are you really proposing to go so deep in debt that we had to sell Alaska back?

              We’re well past that level of debt.

              Also, I’d propose we sell Canada, first.

        2. Yes, government shouldn’t be involved in education just like it shouldn’t be involved in regulating railroad tracks. Each track should do its own thing!

          The government never did. The companies themselves worked it out among themselves.

          The American experience was similar. The gauge of 4 feet, 8-1/2 inches came here mainly because American engineers expected – erroneously – to use a great many British locomotives. Because early American railroads were expected only to connect bodies of water that were impractical to connect with canals, there is no reason to have expected much gauge uniformity. Early railroads did not anticipate interchange of equipment.

          But because the Baltimore & Ohio and Boston & Albany used 4 feet, 8-1/2 inches, the gauge was off to a flying start. The Pennsylvania used 4 feet, 9 inches, which was compatible. The 6 feet, 0 inches of the Erie and the Lackawanna was the most important northern broad gauge. The Canadian railways used 5 feet, 6 inches, at least in part, for military considerations.

          1. Most things in industry are standardized by agreement among companies and engineering organizations like ISO, DIN, etc.

            1. There are so many standards that really either ignore the government altogether or lead while the government follows that it’s mindboggling that some people think we need government to ensure that our outlets all are compatible with the power cables for our electronics.

        3. In the South, broad gauges were dominant. If there was a common gauge there, it was 5 feet, 0 inches. By 1861, track of this gauge extended from Norfolk and Richmond to Memphis and New Orleans, although lack of some physical connections and interchange kept it from being a network.

          The Civil War demonstrated the undesirability of gauge differences. Both the Union and Confederate governments encouraged interchange of equipment. After the war, the rapid growth in grain movements from the Midwest to the East was the greatest single force for homogeneity.

          The Lincoln administration, after planning the transcontinental railroad at 5 feet, 0 inches to conform with the existing railroad in California, decided on 4 feet 8-1/2 for consistency with the most important Eastern railroads. This assured that 4 feet, 8-1/2 inches would be the North American standard gauge.

…..e/Railroad Reference/Railroad History/2006/05/A history of track gauge.aspx?sc_lang=en

          Is being completely pig ignorant of history a requirement to get your Prog card?

          1. Is being completely pig ignorant of history a requirement to get your Prog card?

            Not quite. To get a Prog card you must also be completely pig ignorant of economics.

            1. To get a Prog card you must also be completely pig ignorant of economics.

              And science, and math, and logic, and…

          2. There’s a slim possibility that this might be a person facetiously arguing in bad faith in order to get a reaction. It’s too bad there’s not a convenient four-letter term for that kind of person.

            1. Trol. 😉

            2. Arguing in ‘bad faith?’

              Is libertarianism such a majority that anyone who dares disagree must be trolling? LOL!!!

          3. It’s not a requirement, but it definitely helps.

          4. You don’t see that this undermines your argument? LOLZ

          5. Is being completely pig ignorant of history a requirement to get your Prog card?


            Rather, to get a prog card your emotion must blind you to facts – and being pig ignorant helps in that regard: less load placed on the cognitive dissonance buffers.

        4. Does the government actually regulate railroad tracks? Or is track width just a convention that emerged organically?

          According to Wikipedia, it’s agreement between various railroads, not government.

          1. No they didn’t Bam. Like I said, being pig ignorant of history is a requirement to get your Prog card.

          2. It’s interesting how many things the government lays claim to that really were either created entirely by private players or were more fully realized by them. Even the Moon landings–it’s like all of those businesses designing, building, testing, and providing equipment and services somehow didn’t happen. Kennedy said, “Let there be spaceflight, and there was spaceflight.”

            The American miracle is about freedom, both personal and economic. That’s the foundation for almost all of our success.

            1. Yes, without government action lie eminent domain our current railroad system could not be explained.

            2. Today’s internet is a descendent of the CIX’s, Commercial Internet eXchanges, not DARPANET?

    2. Reductio ad absurdum. I’m guessing you learned your debate skills in public schools.

    3. Fuck off slaver.

  17. The implication is obvious: after all, there is only one right railroad track size!

    And it’s the size of two horse butts. It was good enough for the Romans, and it should be good enough for you.

    1. Well what kind of horse though. Are we talking two clydesdales or John Kerry standing next to Sarah Jessica Parker? We’ll never get standardization without exact measurements.

      1. Watcha runnin’ there?

        Twin John Kerry gauge.

    2. I like two horse butts and I cannot lie.

  18. Sometimes, millions of people making their own decisions means one particular model gets enormously popular, thus imposing a form of voluntary standardization.

    Or would Gates disagree with that?

    Maybe one education method will produce so many good results that parents everywhere, under a choice system, will make it pretty much standard.

    But that’s not the system Gates wants. He wants centralized govt to make up some clever ideas about education and impose them. Maybe, maybe after a few decades and the evidence has poured in that it isn’t working will, perhaps they’ll replace it with a new set of standards figured out by clever people, and the Cycle of Life will begin anew.

    1. Sometimes, millions of people making their own decisions means one particular model gets enormously popular, thus imposing a form of voluntary standardization.


  19. For ‘FUQ’s sake…’

    Based on his claim that I am a statist and others claims that I would ever support Ferguson cop assmunchery in covering up their nametags etc…

    I don’t recall this issue coming up before but of course they are acting like dicks in this regard

    Just like the morons who don’t understand my posts, there are morons who will make dumb predictions about them is in this incident

    Calling me statist is absurd and unlike the overwhelming majority of people here if not everybody I actually have done things to improve police accountability and I have been involved in victorious civil action in case of police misconduct.

    I criticise police when they apparently commit misconduct I praise them when they don’t and unlike people here I make the analysis based on caselaw and facts not emotion and ignorance

    Fortunately courts and binding arbitrators tend to do the exact same thing which is why I almost always agree with them in regards to police misconduct because they tend to draw on fax and the wall as opposed to what people here make their decisions on

    I have long supported citizen review boards to hold police accountable mandatory body cameras told police accountable and would never support a police officer for covering name tag since that’s blatant misconduct

    Now I will return it to letting the ignorant bigots carry on with their ignorant bigotry
    reply to this

    1. Look, Dale Carnegie, you won’t change hearts and minds by coming out of the blue and calling people morons.

      1. I mean, by your own admission you’re one of the best cops in your department, super-courageous, super-honest, willing to call your misbehaving brothers into account.

        So when even a sterling cop like you goes around bullying and belittling the non-cops, I can only imagine what standards of behavior we can expect from those other cops who don’t come up to your standards.

    2. Try to stay on topic. And grasp that your anecdotes aren’t going to convince many here that there isn’t a major problem with police accountability and attitudes in this country. And that there is a line beyond which “just following orders” or “just enforcing the laws on the books” is no excuse for violating people’s natural rights.

    3. And of course as the incidents keep showing and I will keep posting, body cameras are excellent tools that are consistently helping cops rebut false claims of misconduct they’re heloing prosecutors convict bad actors and of course false complaints tend to come from people who are committing crimes who are trying to place scrutiny off themselves and on somebody else

      They also help ensure that when cops commit misconduct they are properly punished

      No statist would ever support policies like cytisine review boards police accountability in general and especially mandatory body cameras all of which work to help hold police accountable

      Of course the ultimate proof I am no statist is that I have a accomplished record of over 20 years in public service without complaints which a statist would invariably get

      You cant be a statist if the record of your actions as a state actor is so obviously one of a person exercising immense restraint in use of force numerous examples of selfless and heroic behaviour etc

      It’s way too fucking early but I had some stuff to do and now I shall lay my head down having rebutted the Idiocy on yet another day

      Remember kids film police every chance you get to hold them accountable and no need to thank us we will continue to serve even those who criticise us w/o cause

      That’s part of being a selfless noble public servant and working class hero


      1. “I shall lay my head down having rebutted the Idiocy on yet another day”

        On a Bill Gates thread?

        Imagine if one of the engineers on H&R posted comment after comment about how awesome engineers are, and anyone who disagrees is a hater and a bigot. Would that increase, or decrease, public support for engineers? And this would be a friendly forum for them.

      2. Remember kids film police every chance you get to hold them accountable

        There’s a case going through the local courts where a couple was arrested for doing just that. The review board found nothing wrong with it, but lucky for them the ACLU did.

    4. And there are some morons who apparently post walls of text in the wrong thread, or are incapbale of staying on topic..

  20. Hate to break this to you, Robby, but we’ve accepted “standardization” in a whole host of areas a long time ago. Hey, we never said Georgia should have a different Bill of Rights than New York, did we?

    “The implication is obvious: after all, there is only one right railroad track size!”

    Hmmm…that would be yes, in fact. Unless of course you would like to be a country that can’t even efficiently transport goods and people throughout it. Why, lets just leave that more advanced countries. eh?

    1. We had the most efficient and advanced system for distributing petroleum in the entire world, and the government smashed it to pieces in 1911 with the jubilant support of leftist morons like yourself. It was called the Standard Oil Company. If such a company came to exist again, you and your ilk would flip your shit and the DOJ would be on them like white on rice.

      You can’t even get the fucking talking points straight. Efficiency is bad! Efficiency is good! Make up your fucking mind you goddamn hypocrite.

      1. Efficiency is well and good until someone makes a profit. Then it must be stopped.


        1. Which of course makes no sense, because maximization of profit is maximization of efficiency. Of course, lefties don’t understand that “efficiency” is not some ivory tower ass-pull, but a practical solution given all of the constraints.

      2. Ah….Kbo arguing for not only the efficiency of monopolies, but there benevolence as well.

        Good one!

        1. You do know that monopolies don’t exist without the explicit support of the government right?

          Oh, I forgot you’re a fucking retard.

        2. Your reading comprehension is as lackluster as your reasoning ability.

    2. Hey, we never said Georgia should have a different Bill of Rights than New York, did we?

      That is the dumbest thing I have read in at least a month. Just because some things, like rights, are standard, doesn’t mean things are standard. By your logic, we should all drive the same car because the bill of rights isn’t different for different people.

      Good fucking God son, you can’t go through life being this stupid and irrational. I know you think you can. But you can’t.

  21. Standby for some more awesome body camera etc incidents where police officers are able to disprove claims of misconduct and hopefully assmunches that make such claims are held accountable

    However sleep must come first it’s hard to be a handsome hero when you are under slept

    Cheers and goodnight!

    1. Who are you rebutting with your body-camera arguments? The anti-body-camera lobby which posts here all the time?

    2. If you actually read this site, you’d know that in “Watched Cops Are Polite Cops”, Ron Bailey wrote:

      A 2004 study for the International Association of the Chiefs of Police found that in cases where police misconduct was alleged, in-car video evidence exonerated officers 93 percent of the time. The same report further noted that dashboard cameras enhanced officer safety, improved agency accountability, reduced agency liability, simplified incident review, enhanced new recruit training, improved community perceptions, helped advance case resolution, and enhanced officer performance and professionalism. In fact, the Atlanta police officer in the Witherspoon dashcam video does come off as quite professional. Body-worn cameras will clearly augment all of those objectives.

      So, we already expect body cameras to “disprove claims of misconduct” more than 90% of the time.

  22. I read Green Eggs and Ham recently. It’s pretty funny. One furry alien guy tries to convince another furry alien guy to eat green eggs and ham. At first he says no but then he relents and ends up liking the green eggs and ham. Great book. 10 out of 10.

    1. I’m just curious how long it took you to read it.

      1. This is On the Road to Mandalay with a “.” at the end. Probably a spoof of the original.

    2. Glad to see you finally found something at your reading level. I suggest you check out One Fish Two Fish next. I think you’ll find it riveting…

      1. My favorite was Hand, Hand, Finger, Thumb (dum ditty dum ditty dum, dum, dum).

    3. The Chinese version is better. Still waiting for the Klingon translation.

  23. …The basic idea of, ‘should we share an electrical plug across the country?’ Well, you can get partisan about that I suppose…

    This quote explains Windows so much.

  24. Well, as an oligarch monopolist, of course, he doesn’t understand or appreciate the concept of intellectual competition and how it seeds real progress.

    You will use Windows Vista and you will like it. Because.

  25. Gates is a simplistic, evil, craven, Progressive turd.

  26. The problem with most comments here is that they take a very simple, benign statement and turn it into something that can reinforce thier own biases. I’ve said it here before and it bears repeating; for a magazine that calls itself Reason, it sure has a lot of readers who won’t.

    1. Its a simplistic statement alright. Full of false analogies/assumptions. Its sorta like some warmer trying to defend CAGW by noting how a greenhouse works. It sounds ok to the unwashed but those who have a semblance of technical education know the problem is order’s of magnitudes more complex than high school level GHG physics. To mention that is to be appallingly mendacious, trite, and cynical.

      Comparing device level standardization to the diverse human behavior set is equally mendacious, trite, and cynical.

  27. Author misquotes what Bill say’s and more importantly translates that to misrepresent what common core is.

    Here’s what said (very clearly), “Common Core, the idea that what you should know at various grades, that that should be well-structured and you should really insist on kids knowing something so you can build on it, I did not really expect that to become a big political issue.”

    The author then say’s Bill thinks there is only one way to teach a child. While in America if you don’t want you kids to learn what the other kids are learning at public school then you have plenty of options. Public schools need to be held accountable to standards that have been established from the best possible science. If we leave that to the masses we’ll have a million different things being taught at each grade using unproven, but highly believed in methods.

    Not only is common core good, it can be improved upon, and has proven successful in schools that implement it. No more grade inflation, for 1 through 12. You either know the material or you don’t.

    1. I hear it asserted, quite often, that the common core has been proven to work, but I haven’t been able to see the research to prove it. Do you know where I can find it?

    2. Too bad that “the best possible science” doesn’t exist. Science, like everything else, has become a political tool and an avenue for egotistical, arrogant, elitist’s to get federal grants for their research so they can write and sell a lot of books espousing their theories, whether proven or not.

  28. Gee, I wonder if Bill Gate’s kids (if he has any) attend public schools and use Common Core.

  29. Can you please tell me what was edited out at :17? I want to use this video in my fight against Common Core, but I do not want to get blind-sided by an edit.

  30. Well, he wanted us to “choose the correct operating system” too, designed by top experts.

    And the funny thing is, the people designing Windows 8 actually are pretty good, and largely free of the corruption that pervades government. And they still couldn’t put together a decent OS.

  31. Standardization isn’t the only criticism of Common Core. The methodology and the curriculum are also troublesome. Making math even more difficult to learn seems to be its goal and the curriculum is leftwing propaganda.

  32. I know nothing about Common Core and so will not defend it.
    Bill Gates’s thinking is entirely what I would expect from a manufacturing CEO. Employees are like widgets, and just as everybody expects widgets to meet some uniform standard, the same as expected of employees.

    I know something about the status quo, because I have children in public school and because I am a university teacher, and the status quo stinks. What children learn in K12 is wildly erratic, mainly because poorly motivated and undisciplined pupils learn very little.
    When dealing with a large pool of applicants from diverse backgrounds, employers cannot assume that high school graduates know X, for almost any reasonable X. This means that job applications have to be screened very carefully, and employers have to administer tests.

    Stifling centralism from the Ministry of education was the order of the day in Prussia for at least the past 200 years. France had a lockstep national educational system from 1885 to 1970. The results were not bad.

  33. OK, I’ll repeat my story AGAIN …

    Some friends of mine put their kids into a parochial school in Silicon Valley and spent literally tens of thousands of dollars PER YEAR for their ‘education.’

    Some years later, they moved to a Houston suburb and discovered that at least one or two of their kids, who’d gotten very nice grades in CA, had to be privately tutored in TX so that they could even ENTER the ‘age-appropriate grade.’

    What Gates is saying is: No, I don’t care HOW you MAKE the tracks the same width all over the place, but if you don’t trains will fall off the rails if they’re not.

    And that’s what I’ve been saying about Common Core since Day One… if, in the end, the kids can’t DO certain problems successfully at some age or grade, you/we/everyone needs to look at WHY NOT.

    Yes, maybe the books are mediocre here and better over there, or teachers ‘credentials’ are easier to get in one state than another. Or maybe spending gobs of money per student is NOT the way to assure that all or even most of the kids are getting a worthwhile education!

    But without MEASURING their competency (i.e., success) with some kind of ‘standard MEASURE’ you can never tell if ‘the education is greener on the other side of the fence,’ let alone determine why it is or isn’t.

    I refer to this as “Critical Thinking” and that is a good example of its lack. Gates may have made, and continue to make, many mistakes in his life, but as I understand that quote, this is not one of those times.

  34. Here’s a great idea! Let’s drill a 3″ hole through Bill Gate’s head. We can call is, “Microsoft CORE”. The goal will be to let a little light into the dark recesses of Gate’s mind. In fact, we should apply this to all the policy makers in the Country. So what if it doesn’t achieve the stated objective? – at least it will be standardized.

  35. For a magazine called Reason…

    Alright, this is the last time I’m going to post a comment on this topic. My bona fides: my wife taught at a public elementary school for ten years, my grandmother a public high school for forty, my wife is defending for her PhD in Science Education this May, and, well, I’ve read up on this subject quite a bit.

    Common Core was created by a non-profit. It’s a set of educational objectives broken down by subject, subtopic, and grade level. The people who came up with Common Core are various professors, teachers, and school board types; no one from the Fed was involved to the best of my knowledge. The Common Core program was funded by private donations and state governments; no federal money was involved.

    Most importantly, because these are the three misconceptions which keep being repeated–even by Robby Soave, who, as a journalist, should know better (unless, of course, he’s deliberately pushing Reasonoids buttons…shocking, I know)–understand that the Common Core standards are or are not adopted whole or in part according to the decisions of your state’s board of ed. The Fed has NOTHING to do with Common Core. NOTHING. NCLB is tied to things like pass/fail rates, grades, state standardized testing, etc., NOT Common Core adoption. Finally, Common Core is a set of goals, not a curriculum. It says, for instance “Students should be able to explain the process of osmosis,” not “Teach kids osmosis in the following way.”

  36. I believe current American education system is too old and should be updated. Some schools, for example, stunt tremendously such qualities as curiosity, creativity, wonder, and intrinsic motivation. It’s no surprise that kids lose motivation to study. So instead of writing essays, dissertations, they seek for writers\services who offer dissertation writing. In other words kids gain no knowledge and parents waste time/money. But good education is worth investing in and the biggest task for now is to make the education really quality.

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