For five years it has been said that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation spent more than $2 billion to fund an initiative to create small high schools in an effort to increase student achievement and graduation rates, all based on the premise that smaller schools were more conducive to learning and retention than larger ones. The reason the $2 billion has been cited is that it was mentioned in the January 2009 annual letter (see below) issued by the foundation and signed by Bill Gates as the co-chair of his foundation. It said in part:Read full article >>
But Angelou touched plenty of people whose names are not widely known, including hundreds of students at a D.C. charter school that bears her name.Read full article >>
Two years ago prestigious universities banded together to launch a wave of free online courses that seemed a harbinger of a new era in higher education.
The hype about massive open online courses, or MOOCs, has faded somewhat. The revolution, in some ways, is becoming more of an evolution. The notion sometimes bandied about that the emergence of these free online courses will break the business model of higher ed remains wholly unproven.Read full article >>
The notion that U.S. students should share core knowledge is not new.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower suggested national academic standards were needed as early as 1959. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton both proposed that states voluntarily adopt national standards, efforts that crumbled under charges of federal overreach.Read full article >>
The critical role that Bill Gates played in the creation and implementation of the Common Core State Standards initiative is the subject of this story by my Post colleague Lyndsey Layton. She explains how Gates was persuaded in 2008 by Gene Wilhoit, then-director of the Council for Chief State School Officers, and David Coleman, at the time an educational consultant and now president of the College Board, to use his foundation’s vast fortune to fund the creation and marketing of what became the Common Core. The story also shows how Gates money was spread around to help the marketing of the initiative to states and other education constituencies. As a result of the article, Diane Ravitch, an education historian who has become the unofficial leader of the movement fighting corporate school reform, called Gates’ involvement in the Core as something of an education “coup” by a private philanthropist. In this post, she urges Congress to hold hearings about the Gates role and the connection between his foundation and the Education Department.Read full article >>