"I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power." - Thomas Jefferson 1820

"There is a growing technology of testing that permits us now to do in nanoseconds things that we shouldn't be doing at all." - Dr. Gerald Bracey author of Rotten Apples in Education

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bill Gates and the 2009 Common Core Speech to State Legislators

Here is a rough transcription of Bill Gates' comments at the National Conference of State Legislators in 2009.  My comments are in parentheses.  It is ironic that the legislators said they never knew about it.  At least a few did in 2009.  And didn't it occur to them that these educational changes circumvented the legislative process?  No red flags?

Access all the clips from youtube here:


Clip 1:
CRISIS! Recession.  Forced to balance the budget.  Constituents are losing their jobs and everyone is asking  you to make it better.  We've been in an education crisis for a decade.  Performance on all levels are all dropping against the rest of the world.  "It's a reflection of weak systems run by bad beliefs and bad habits" (Kind of like NCLB so we replace it with a worse program)?    In these circumstances a crisis can work like a pivot.  We can start something new and better..."if you're willing to do it".....(which btw, we were never asked if we wanted to do it).

Clip 2:
OUR FOUNDATION has put a program into place to ensure kids get degrees...we hope you'll (now remember this is the legislature that was bypassed with these decision) set similar goals in your state.  Colleges with innovations (Gates approved?  Who approves?) should be expanded, those that aren't should be changed or ended (based on Gates determination)?  We need to measure what students know and what jobs they get.  We don't the answers because we aren't asking the right questions and making the right measurements (so Gates in his intense desire for philanthropy will tell us what the questions are and what measurements to use).  Colleges need to do better with plunging educational performance (is that the college's fault or the primary/secondary education via NCLB)?  Without measurement there is no pressure for improvement.

A teacher in the top quarter will improve student scores by 10 percentage points in a year.  If we have great teachers our scores would be the very best in the world once again.  Reward great teachers.  Other teachers will learn from them.  We reward them for seniority and masters degrees (and he doesn't like that).

Clip 4:
A true reformer will be obsessed with one question (and guess what...it has nothing to do with teacher autonomy or local control or student/parental responsibility): What changes can improve the quality of teaching transmitting these best examples so that every student has effective teachers.  Two steps: we need longitudinal data systems that track student performance that are linked to the teacher and we also need fewer, clearer, higher standards that are common from state to state.  The standards will focus teachers on what students are supposed to learn (again, who decides) and the data will tell them whether they are learning it.  These two changes will open up options we've never had before.


Clip 5:
The standards will match the best in the world.  Identifying common standards is just the starting point.  We know we have been effective when the curriculum and tests are aligned to the standards. (While at the same time the education commissioners are insisting schools can choose their own curriculum and does anyone STILL believe there is no federal involvement?
):  Arne Duncan has announced that $350,000,000 will be used just for the formulation of these assessments: next generation of tests aligned to the common core.  When the tests are aligned to the common standards the curriculum will line up as well.  (An added bonus or the real intent): AND IT WILL UNLEASH A POWERFUL MARKET OF PEOPLE PROVIDING SERVICES FOR BETTER TEACHING.  For the first time there will be a uniform base of customers looking at using products (decided by Gates or local school boards?) that can help every kid learn and every teacher get better.  (Now this is at the heart of elitism):  Now imagine having the people who create great online video games applying their intelligence to online tools to pull kids in and make alegebra and other subjects fun.  (Guess the intelligence/training teachers go to school for counts for little in the new program).

Clip 6:
The stimulus package contains funding for longitudinal data systems.  I hope you'll use this funding to track students performance from early childhood through high school and college and into the workplace.  Student performance (but our commissioner says that will never happen) should be linked to the teacher and the curriculum in the instructional tools....what teachers, curriculum leads to student success.

Clip 7:
Measurement systems will lead teachers to say "these have helped me become a better teacher"


  1. help me say , "NO!" to the common core! i want the right to decide what my children learn. i do not want the government dictating it for me.

  2. I'm helping in MO also. This is crazy, but more to the point, it went completely around our state constitution. The scariest part to me is some of the younger teachers, (who I know have been raised right) have just absorbed it seemingly WITHOUT THOUGHT. It makes you wonder what kind of climate is in our schools now. It makes me wonder, anyway, a LOT!


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