Gates' gargantuan grasp grows

By Gigi Geeves

Last week, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation released their new 100-point strategy to transform education. All of us in education-land who have benefited from their largesse waited with bated breath for the unveiling. And we weren’t disappointed. Here’s our initial take.

First, it does a superb job of narrowing down their interests and focusing laser-like on a handful of areas ripe for reform. Besides civics education, helping struggling readers, reforming discipline policy, expanding CTE courses, promoting organic gardens, and improving school lunches, they’ve zeroed in on improving curricula, supporting professional development, rebuilding playgrounds, piloting new governance models, fixing school recess, bolstering student engagement, advancing weighted-pupil funding models, and supporting networks of schools.

Where’s the love for Common Core, teacher evaluation, and small schools, you say? It’s in there, too. See section 111.24 of subsection 233.8, wherein potential grantees are encouraged to submit new proposals in the following areas: new and exciting names for the Common Core that don’t have the words “common” or “core” in them; non-binding, toothless, everyone-gets-an-excellent teacher evaluation rubrics; and schools with tiny rooms, guaranteeing low enrollments.

Clearly, there’s much to like in this new strategy. So get those ideas down on paper, and we’ll see you at the next Gates confab!